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Henry Avocado opens distribution center in Charlotte, NC

Henry Avocado has responded to the increasing demand for its ripening service and the anticipated surge in avocado supplies in 2018 and beyond by opening a new ripening and distribution center in Charlotte, NC.

The first distribution center east of Houston, TX, and the seventh overall for the Escondido, CA-based year-round grower, shipper and distributor, it will be managed by local fresh-food industry veterans Ricardo Guillen and Gabriel Del Salto under the direction of Ozzie Figueroa, Henry marketing and customer service director.Ozzie-with-BravoOzzie Figueroa, Henry Avocado marketing and customer service director is shown in one of the nine ripening rooms of the new distribution center in Charlotte, NC, with thecompany’s premium Bravocado brand.

The new 25,000-square-foot facility is capable of custom-ripening over a million cartons a year, according to Figueroa who added that the avocados will be delivered using a fleet of refrigerated trucks that meet or exceed all food-safety standards. “Our purpose,” said Figueroa, “is to consistently provide customers with superior quality, fresh avocados and service.”

The main source of product will be avocados from Mexico. To ensure year-round availability, however, avocados from California, Peru and Chile can supplement the supply during their respective seasons.

The Charlotte center enables Henry, which was founded in 1925, to offer its Bravocado and Green Goddess brands to additional customers in the eastern states. It is also now in position to better serve its growing customer base in retail and foodservice with avocados ripened to order.

Henry introduced organic avocados in 2010 under its premium Bravocado label, which is used for conventional avocado packing as well. The company’s CustomRipe program provides all its fresh avocados to the specific degree of ripeness its customers request.

Carefully selected for its growing population, dynamic economy and vibrant restaurant and retail segments, Charlotte is a major transportation hub with the two major freeways — interstates 77 and 85 — passing through the city within 10 minutes of the new distribution center.

In addition, the facility design meets all food-safety standards featuring modern and efficient cold storage and nine forced-air ripening rooms to accommodate the anticipated demand. Henry has over 100 forced-air ripening rooms in its distribution centers located in four states.

Over the past 10 years, U.S. consumption of Hass avocados has been growing at approximately 9 percent per year. Growth last year was flat, however, as Mexico and California had smaller crops. Both countries’ production is projected to rebound with more volume, quality and price stability in 2018.

Expert industry sources anticipate at least a 10 percent increase in avocados from Mexico in 2018, and the California Avocado Commission expects production from its growers to double from 200 to 400 million pounds. This October’s weather in Peru has been mild and very conducive to a good crop-set for the 2018 harvest.

Figueroa is confident Henry has experienced marketing, sales and distribution personnel in place to effectively handle the projected higher volume over the next few years.

Henry, which developed the ripening room concept more than three decades ago, has ripening and distribution centers in Escondido (two) and Milpitas, CA, and from the southwest in San Antonio and Houston, and Phoenix. The strategic location of Henry’s distribution centers have been the key to the company’s widely recognized customer service, which includes publishing a “Ripening Guide,” which assures the exact stage of ripeness each order requires.