After opening its doors to the world of export produce in 1999, Next-Port Inc., headquartered in Miami, has moved on to its next level of growth following the company’s relocation to a new facility late last year.
“Our new facility was purchased in August of 2012 after a two-year research effort,” said President Robert Netkin, who spearheads company operations with his brother, Richard. The company’s core business is found in the Caribbean. “However, our business continues to grow in other regions as we have added new staff members to accommodate the service required to handle new regions,” Mr. Netkin said March 9.
Relocation to the new facility has been a win-win for Next-Port. “It encompasses 50,000 square feet of space, is just 10 years old and has 30-foot high ceilings.” Mr. Netkin said. “We completed construction of brand new state-of-the-art computerized refrigeration systems to accommodate our growing base of fresh produce customers, and it will allow us to handle other products as well.”
Another key element — a prime location — was the icing on the cake. “It is strategically located just a few blocks off the Miami market and within a 10-minute drive from the Miami International Airport and the port of Miami and within 30 minutes of Port Everglades,” he said. “It is also within three to four minutes of major highways and is easily accessible for all. New computer systems, inventory control, traceability and communication systems are being put in place as well.”
The decision to relocate was a calculated one. “A few years ago, we realized that our current facility will not allow us to keep up with the growing demand of our customers,” Mr. Netkin explained. “As our business continued to grow as it has every year since 1999, we realized the need to either keep up or not. With my own two young kids and a number of families here at Next-Port to feed, we did what we needed to do: Look for the right building in the right place at the right time.”
Hard work and careful analysis paid off. “On Dec. 10, 2012 we moved in, just in time to service our customers on the busiest week of our year,” Mr. Netkin stated. “Everything fell into place better than we could have ever imagined.”
The facility’s size and easy access have helped Next-Port fill orders more efficiently. The company quickly benefitted from use of a double racking system that allowed for storage of additional commodities. “A single rack system simply didn’t maximize the space we have,” Mr. Netkin stated. “Thank goodness, too, as we filled the space much sooner than expected.”
Business is pretty good at the current time. According to Mr. Netkin, the Chilean grape market is currently peaking, and Next-Port is moving large volumes of the fruit. “Obviously your staple items such as onions, potatoes, apples, oranges, especially tangerines right now, lettuces and mushrooms are always big movers as well,” he added.
Next-Port prides itself in being able to fill customer requests for any product. “They like our quality product and the fact that we offer such a large variety with a list of over 500 produce and produce related items,” Mr. Netkin commented. “We’ve always been loyal to our top-quality suppliers as well. If the customer finds something new and different on the internet that we haven’t offered, they know they can count on us to have that product to them usually within a week or two.” Export markets have fared well during tough economic times. “Obviously when your business is growing, you don’t seem to notice the slowdowns,” Mr. Netkin noted. “With recessionary times still among us here in the United States, the Caribbean and other markets are also fighting their way through it all. Because of our strong and loyal customer base, and our extremely dedicated staff who always put the customer’s interests before their own, it has simply strengthened our bonds with all customers in order to grow our businesses.”
He illustrated the depth of those bonds by saying that one of their customers lost a 100,000-square-foot facility after it burned to the ground a little over a year ago. “We all worked together in the construction phase of their new building, and only six months later the new facility opened. Our business and our personal relationship with them has never been better.”
Next-Port also continues to support many local and long-distance charities. “We are avid supporters of Rhonda’s Angels, a charity that has raised over $300,000 in the last three years,” he said. Activities are spearheaded by Robert and Richard’s sister, Rhonda, who developed endometriosis a few years ago. Diabetes research, pediatric cancer, the Miami Children’s Museum, local police and school programs also benefit from the annual giving campaign.