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Delta Fresh nearing completion of new state-of-the-art warehouse

By
John Groh, publisher

It was just five years ago that Delta Fresh Sales opened an impressive new facility on Old Tucson Road just off I-19, in Nogales, AZ. But just a few years later, company principle Thanasi Panousopoulos saw a need for more space due to the growth of Delta’s business.

Now, as 2023 winds down, Delta is getting ready to open a new slightly larger state-of-the-art facility just across the street from the existing one. In total, the new warehouse will have 157,000 square feet, of which Delta will occupy 95,000 and lease the remaining space to other companies.

“We’ll have multiple cold rooms, a repack area, offices for one of our growers, and a USDA inspection office so we can do everything in-house and be more efficient,” said Panousopoulos. “We’ll also have multiple conference rooms, a pool table, golf simulator and a full bar to provide all the comforts to our workers.”

Panousopoulos added that everything in the warehouse and repack facility will be made from stainless steel so it will be easier to clean and maintain the highest level of food safety.

The additional space and efficiency are necessary due to increased volumes of product Delta anticipates as its business continues to grow. Panousopoulos said the overall Nogales deal has expanded, with the Sonora production starting earlier in the fall and running later into the spring, and product from Sinaloa joining the party in late November.

Additionally, Delta Fresh sources from other production areas, including Baja California, central Mexico and Yuma, AZ.

While having such a varied roster of products and growing regions can complicate logistics, Panousopoulos said this diversified portfolio is a big advantage in making Delta Fresh a one-stop shop for its clients.

Frank Camera, a Nogales produce veteran who joined Delta in mid-2023 as vice president of sales and marketing, is spearheading promotional efforts, including an initiative to pack more product under the Delta Fresh brand.

“We’re planning to pack more under our own label,” said Camera. “As we add new commodities, we’ll be packing under the Delta brand.”

Camera said Roma tomatoes out of San Diego, and squash, cucumbers and eggplant from Sonora will be packed in branded boxes.

Panousopoulos added that Delta is entering its second year with table grapes, which had a successful debut last year with 175,000 boxes that were packed under the Delta label. “We’re expecting to double that this year,” he said.

On the logistics side, Sherman Trucking operates under the Delta Fresh umbrella, with Kenny Olmos heading up that division. He said a new development for Sherman is an upgrade of its invoicing system.

“We’re providing door-to-door delivery with a single-invoice system,” said Olmos. “This will be much more organized and efficient for our customers.”

He added that the last 18 months have been extremely challenging for Sherman and the transportation industry as a whole. He pointed to increased costs across the board as contributing factors.

“We saw a 70 percent increase in insurance, along with the cost of diesel fuel, parts, and labor, all while freight rates were going down,” he said. “But we were built to last, and we see a light at the end of the tunnel coming this spring.”

John Groh

John Groh

About John Groh  |  email

John Groh graduated from the University of San Diego in 1989 with a bachelors of arts degree in English. Following a brief stint as a sportswriter covering the New York Giants football team, he joined The Produce News in 1995 as an assistant editor and worked his way up the ranks, becoming publisher in 2006. He and his wife, Mary Anne, live in northern New Jersey in the suburbs of New York City.

 

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