relevant domains Sometimes you take away some details, but you also add others.” The facility’s name is Bland Distribution Services, and it offers a wide array of services to meet customers’ needs, such as cold storage, logistics, packaging, warehousing or other basic services. It provides FASTrac as an Internet solution for monitoring shipments. FASTrac information service provides customers with 24-hour access to inventory details, shipment status and much more. “Just consider us an extension of your business,” said Mr. Hively. “We will provide customers with the utmost professional and dependable service with satisfaction guaranteed by our trained and experienced staff.” Key staff members of the new facility are John Backer, general manager; Sonia Valdez, finance and operations manager; and Karla P. Antunez, food safety and quality control director. Bland Distribution Services is located in the Rio Grande Valley just minutes from the Hidalgo International Bridge and the Pharr International Bridge. The strategically located platform provides distribution of fresh produce, frozen goods and dry goods between Mexico and the United States. It also houses an on-site U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection office and offers electronic data interchange technology. The facility offers packing and repacking; cross-docking; freight consolidation; short and long-term dry storage; four ozone-capable cold-storage areas with variable independent temperature and humidity control; a freezer storage area; overweight load handling; extended hours of operation; and it has office space available for lease. Overall, it can hold up to 3,200 pallets, or about 160 truckloads, at one time. Delbert Bland, president and chief executive officer of Bland Farms, said, “With food safety such an imperative today, we must do everything possible to make sure the cold chain is not broken and have the ability to pass all necessary certifications.” The facility is certified by Scientific Certification Systems and Primus Labs. It is also certified for Good Manufacturing Practices and HACCP. Bland Farms is a major grower and distributor of year round supplies of sweet onions from numerous locations in the world, and the firm is among the larger producers of Vidalia onions in Georgia. Mr. Bland said that the company initially wanted to introduce itself to the Donna, TX, area, which is a key hub for imports from and exports to Mexico. “We originally went to Texas to purchase a facility for packing onions and cross docking,” said Mr. Bland. “But our research revealed there were no true state-of-the-art facilities. We realized a need for the type of facility that we have designed and developed.” Mr. Bland said that the facility was built to accommodate future expansion. “We plan to expand both cold and dry storage within the next year, and we will even build to suit with an expansion or a separate facility,” he said. “Some people are being more conservative during the current economic crisis and are hesitant to make major moves. But our feelings are contrary to that rationale. We feel it is during these times that major growth initiatives should be made.” Besides handling product from Mexico, Mr. Bland said that there is also demand for U.S. product to move into Mexico. similar sites The biggest need for the new facility is related to trucking issues. American trucks do not always want to go into Mexico, and Mexican truckers cannot always enter the United States due to regulatory issues. “Mexico will continue to be a U.S. trading partner in the future, and trade will only increase over time,” said Mr. Bland. “The Bland Distribution Services facility has the capability of handling all types of goods, and of doing it efficiently and expediently. Regarding produce, we will be moving all seasonal products, including tomatoes, avocados, limes and lemons. In fact, we will be moving everything, from A to Z.” Bland Distribution ServicesBland Farms expands scope of services with new Texas facility BY CHRISTINA DIMARTINO, Produce News (November 17, 2008) Bland Farms has opened a new facility in Donna, TX, that will enhance the Glennville, GA-based company’s ability to service its customers. “The doors of our new Donna, Texas, facility opened the last week of October, and the first product moved through it on Friday, October 31,” Michael Hively, chief financial officer and general manager of Bland Farms, told The Produce News. Construction of the building began in January, and the projected opening was slated for September. But some residual rains from the storms that hit the Gulf region in late summer held up some of the paving and other details. The cost of the new state-of-the-art, 110,000-square-foot facility was originally estimated at about $7 million, but by the time it was completed, the figure had risen to $7.5 million. “We worked with a design team throughout the process, meeting with them on a monthly basis,” said Mr. Hively. “With a project this size, the design is reevaluated as it proceeds.