GR Fresh's Miguel Gonzales and Tony Incaviglia Discuss New Facility Opening, Current Markets, and More
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
MCALLEN, TX - May 26 marked a momentous occasion as, against the odds, GR Fresh welcomed the movers and shakers who made possible the opening of its new, 100,000-square-foot facility, just in time for the summer season.
“More than 30 years ago, we arrived in this city with one dream to establish a distribution channel to commercialize our vegetable production and, in this way, offer products of the highest quality,” Chief Executive Officer Miguel Gonzales shared with those in attendance. “We value efficiency above all. We are proud to inaugurate the first stage of this modern distribution center that will allow us to offer more products to our clients, allowing us to continue to pursue our dream.”
Despite the unprecedented pandemic, hurricane Hanna, and a winter storm that paralyzed much of the valley, new stones followed the foundation that was laid in February 2020, and just over a year later, GR Fresh has moved into the building made for it to realize its full potential.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this facility for us, how it makes us even more relevant than ever before. The impact this facility provides, that feeling of professionalism, that wow-factor you feel as you approach this building,” Tony Incaviglia, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, shared with the party. “It proves just how serious a player we are in this industry. It re-enforces and elevates our position as to what I like to call an A-level grade grower/shipper.”
Now, he tells me, the team is getting well acquainted with the new digs and enjoying the opportunity of being in a place built for its success.
“Our lines are running and everything is operational on the packing and shipping side, and the timing is perfect with summer business,” Tony tells me, looking to GR Fresh’s multi-category portfolio. “The Roma and cucumber markets are consistent and seeing great quality. Likewise, we are expecting bells to continue consistently into our September/October transition.”
GR Fresh has not been directly impacted by the pallet shortage, Tony tells me, though he doesn’t doubt the situation could change dramatically enough that it might in the future. Another factor which everyone is feeling, he points out, is freight.
“Freight is our biggest challenge going forward, per box costs are impacting FOB prices. Unfortunately, that is part of our reality right now and we don’t know for how long. But it’s everything, not just fresh produce,” he explains.
A possible, albeit temporary, relief for the buy-side at least, is local farm production which ramps up across the U.S. in the coming weeks.
“Next month you will begin to see the additional local farming operations that are key for retailers to support. This is great for retail as it can provide some reprieve from the rising transportation costs temporarily, before supplementing the supply they need with our programs which are shaped to provide more consistency long-term,” Tony shares.
As always, GR Fresh and the industry at large will continue to roll with the punches and solve for the variations life and Mother Nature have to offer.
I could not say it better than Miguel himself shared on May 26: “We will not compromise on the high quality that has always distinguished us, that is why we strongly emphasize the treatment and conservation of our vegetables.”
Likewise, AndNowUKnow will continue to report on and advocate for those efforts for the fresh produce industry.