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SCC expands cold storage, adds volume, hires new people on sales and accounting

NOGALES, AZ — “This is going on my third year in business and things are good. The company is progressing and growing,” said Sergio Chamberlain, president and founder of SSC Fresh LLC, here.

Mr. Chamberlain, who previously was chief executive officer and sales manager of Meyer LLC in Nogales, formed SCC in Nov. 2009, handling an assortment of vegetable items, such as Bell peppers, cucumbers, Italian squash and tomatoes.

Going into the 2011-12 season, Mr. Chamberlain has hired two new people on sales, increased the amount of volume he is handling from existing growers, picked up a couple of additional growers and leased additional warehouse space, expanding the company’s cold-storage capacity by 10,000 square feet.

New on sales this year is José Vasquez Jr., who previously was with The Giumarra Cos.

Robert Ramirez, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry, was hired this summer as accounting manager. He previously worked for Farmer’s Best, Bionova, Rene Produce and most recently Meyer LLC.

“The company is doing well. We had a good season last year, and we are looking at expanding a little bit more” for the coming season with additional volume in most items, he said. “We are not growing too much,” but it is steady growth.

Sergio Chamberlain and Jose Vasquez of SCC Fresh LLC.

“Our deal is going to start tomorrow,” he said Nov. 8. “We will start receiving items like watermelons, honeydews and cantaloupes from the Guaymas, Sonora, area. We will have Italian squash also from Guaymas” as well as from Ciudad Obregon. Also, “we will be very big shippers” of hard squash, which will be new for the company this year, with varieties such as butternut, Spaghetti, Acorn and Kabocha, he said. “We will have a full lineup from the start until the end of April with all those varieties out of Hermosillo and Guaymas.”

New this season will be honeydews and chili peppers such as Jalapeños from El Rosario, Sinaloa, he said. “The honeydew deal will start late March from that area.” Chili peppers are a new item for the company as well.

Another new item is mangos. “We should have a mango deal this year coming from Nayarit.” That will be in April and May, which is the early part of the mango deal, he said. It will consist of Kent and Tommy Atkins varieties.

The products are coming up under growers’ labels at the moment, although the company does have a house label, “SCC Fresh,” that can be used, he said.

“I’m looking for good volume and good supplies,” weather permitting, Mr. Chamberlain said. Growing conditions so far “have been exceptional this year,” and “for the most part the growers have excellent quality.”

Most of “the growers that we deal with ... have their third-party audit certifications,” he said.