We met with the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce’s Featured Member of the Month Raul Cano, vice president of Grande Produce in San Juan. Cano shared a little about his company’s produce, its shift from focusing on national sales to local sales, and the ways in which the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce has helped the business along the way.

RGVision: Tell us a little about Grande Produce.

Raul Cano: We are a family-owned company that has been in business for 15 years, and we bring produce from Mexico and we ship it up north, all over the U.S.

R: How many people work at Grande Produce?

RC: We have about 150 employees. We have a crew of about 10 sales representatives, and about 15 in accounting. The rest of our employees are warehouse personnel.

R: What specific products do you sell?

RC: We’ve got mainly vegetables, but we also have some fruit. We have all kinds of fresh peppers, cilantro, and green onions. We have avocados, mangos, limes, and we try to have most of the products that we carry year round.

R: Where do your products come from and go?

RC: We are all over Mexico, depending where the product is at in which season. At this moment, we’re getting mangos out of Oaxaca, then next month we’re going to move to Sinaloa for mangos. And avocados always come in from Michoacán, and limes from Vera Cruz. We have customers locally and all over the U.S., but mainly we ship to the east coast and the central part of the U.S.

R: Here in the Valley, what is your position on supporting local businesses?

RC: It’s a great opportunity to sell locally. There’s a lot of business here. I think in the beginning of when we first opened the company, our main goal was to sell produce outside the state. We realized were missing out on selling locally, that there is a huge market here. That’s our main target at this point — just promote our sales Valleywide.

R: How has the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce helped your business?

RC: When we first started the business back in 2004, our main focus was to send the product outside of the state. In the last few years, we have been promoting our business locally. And the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce has been helping a lot, doing that local promotion for us.

R: What would you say to other business owners about becoming a Mission Chamber member?

RC: If you are not a member of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce, I highly recommend you become one.