Delta Fresh eyeing larger facility, and hoping for a better year
Rio Rico, AZ — Three years ago, Delta Fresh held a grand opening of its new warehouse in Rio Rico, which adjoins the Coast Produce facility. The new space featured state-of-the-art equipment and plenty of space for growth — or so it seemed.
“We’re currently working on a site plan for a new warehouse that will be located in an empty lot right across the way,” said Atanasio (Nasio) Panousopoulos, managing member of Delta Fresh. “We are working on the permits now and should be ready to start building in June and have everything complete by next December.”
Panousopoulos said the decision to open a new warehouse was prompted by a couple of factors.
“We are growing as a company, and Coast is also growing and needs more space, so it made better sense for us to build something new to meet our needs,” he said.
According to Panousopoulos, the new facility would be around 137,000 square feet and would allow for larger sales offices and more space for its logistics division, in addition to ample cold storage space.
Panousopoulos said that growth has been fairly steady with a number of items, including Bell peppers, green beans, soft squash, hard shell squash, hot peppers and melons. In addition to the Nogales crossing point, Delta Fresh also brings product from Mexico via crossings in San Diego and Texas.
Commenting on last season, Panousopoulos said it was “very tough due to the weather, freight rates and market. But sometimes you get years like that.”
Regarding this season, he said everything looks good right now, but “you could always get weather problems, and freight will be a big challenge again this year.”
He said that Delta Fresh has its own logistics division, and that helps it to manage transportation issues that arise, which is but one of the advantages the company can offer its customers.
“What sets us apart, and what our customers like about working with us, is that we have the ability to make quick decisions ourselves and we do it with our customers’ best interests in mind,” said Panousopoulos. “And we always keep a sharp eye on quality.”
“After last season, which was very challenging, we come into this season somewhat guarded,” he continued.
“Covid set us back a bit last year, and then there was the freeze in Texas and then there was power outage that shut down the power grids, so we couldn’t get fuel. Those were all things that were out of our control. We’ve made some tweaks on the sales and administration end of things, because we want to stay ahead on the things we can control.”