RGV native Richard Ruiz bullish on future of the valley

As a native of the Rio Grande Valley, Richard Ruiz has seen many changes during the six-plus decades he has lived in the region.

“I was born here and it has been interesting to see the growth of the area, especially during the last several years,” said Ruiz, president of Ruiz Sales, an Edinburg-based importer of tropical produce items from Mexico with an emphasis on Persian limes. “And I think there are still years of growth ahead for the valley.”

Richard-RuizRichard RuizRuiz said the geographic location makes it an ideal place for produce crossing into the United States, where it can then continue on to either coast. But he said there must be a continued emphasis on border security to ensure that businesses feel comfortable investing their money in the area.

“Investors see a future here, but it is important to keep focusing on border security,” he said. “I think the last three years have shown progress in that area, but we must stay on that path. We need to monitor the people that are coming into the United States so we can keep track of what we are getting and try to keep the bad elements out. The United States is the envy of the world due to all the opportunities that exist here, but we need to keep it safe. President Trump is doing the right thing to try to protect us, even the Democrats down here in the valley are saying the same thing.”

As a major hub for produce crossings, the Rio Grande Valley plays a key role in keeping the American people healthy, and that is one of the main reasons the valley is thriving, according to Ruiz.

“What we as an industry sell is healthy, and that will be in demand for years to come,” he said. “We still have our best years ahead of us — if we do things the right way.”

The “right way” includes meeting the needs and desires of today’s shoppers, including giving them the value for their hard-earned dollars.

“Today’s shoppers, especially the millenials, are more educated than ever, and thus they are more demanding than ever,” he said. “They do their research and know what they want. As an industry, it is important for us to listen to them and give them what they are looking for. They want quality and transparency, but the good news is they are willing to pay more for it. If we do things the right way, everyone wins.”

Ruiz believes a company’s product is its best advertisement and one that will result in repeat business for those firms that emphasize quality.

“As a company, Ruiz Sales is proud of the quality we provide and I know that when people shop in this area, they look for the Ruiz Sales bagged limes because they know it is top quality and safe, because we offer full traceability of our products,” he said. “In fact, I am continuing to put a lot of pressure on our growers in Mexico to make sure they only send the very best for us to pack under the Ruiz Sales label.”

Ruiz is also a proud supporter of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, and has been honored for eight straight years with an Industry Role Model Award in recognition of his company’s efforts to boost produce consumption.

“The Produce for Better Health Foundation continues to do a great job in promoting produce consumption,” he said. “They have a great staff headed by Wendy [Reinhardt Kapsak], and they have great programs to increase consumption. It is an honor to be associated with such a fine organization.”

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