Terra Exports continues dynamic growth
Terra Exports continues to expand its business with avocados being its leading commodity.
Founder Nils Goldschmidt said the company did more than $100 million in business last year, anticipates about 20 percent growth for 2021, and has a short-term goal of surpassing $250 million in sales. “Within 10 years our goal is to be a billion-dollar company,” he said.
The Las Vegas, NV-based company claims to do business across 65 countries, while handling a very diverse commodity portfolio, including avocados, berries, citrus and grapes, among 20-plus other commodities.
Avocados, sourced mostly from Mexico, represent about 80 percent of its U.S. sales, according to Sourcing and Procurement Manager Kevin Thron. The lion’s share of the company’s average of 22 loads per week (about 20 conventional, two organic) are sold to U.S.-based avocado distributors and are sourced from Mexico.
Thron said imports from Mexico had jumped significantly the previous week (Oct. 18-24) and the world’s largest producing country “was moving into its heaviest part of the season.” Shipments from Mexico were nearing the 50-million-pound mark, which is where they typically reside from November through January in the runup to Super Bowl weekend, the top avocado sales period of the year.
Terra Exports has strategic grower and packer partners in Mexico, which provide the firm with its volume. The company, while not in the business of growing avocados, has recently launched its own label, Avolicious. The label is used in its global export program as well as in marketing to U.S. distributors. Thron says having its own label lets the company visually represent who it is and prove its commitment to top quality to its clients. Goldschmidt added that putting its name on the box provides the opportunity to highlight the work your team does and show how passionate they are about what they do.
Goldschmidt started the company in 2012 after a previous attempt at launching a produce import/export company in the United States did not succeed. He hails from an entrepreneurial family in Chile with limited ties to farming, but that operation is not involved in Terra Exports. He began his career in the hotel business, which brought him to Las Vegas. After serving in many different capacities in the hospitality industry, Goldschmidt went back to college, earned his MBA and gravitated back toward agriculture.
Terra Exports started with one load and one commodity and has expanded to more than a dozen commodity categories. “We have about 45 employees worldwide with 11 people based in the U.S.,” Goldschmidt said.
He believes it is the company culture that sets Terra Exports apart from others in the ag space. He calls the company structure “anti-corporate” and notes that it no longer has an office anywhere with its employees all working from home during whatever hours suit them. Goldschmidt said the company is goal oriented and it is only the numbers that count, not appearances or opinions. He hires entrepreneurial types who are ambitious and anxious to succeed. “Give me those millennials and centennials people rant about,” he quipped. “I’ll gladly take them.”
He said the company has core values with one of them being, “Don’t be an a-hole.” Goldschmidt noted that is an important distinction that prospective employees love.