J&C Tropicals Inc. is expanding into a larger distribution center.

The grower-shipper and importer of avocados and tropicals is expanding into a 250,000-square-foot building in the Doral area of Miami.

J&C expands to newer, larger buildingFive miles west of Miami International Airport and closer to the Port of Miami and Port Everglades, the building, constructed in 2009, is considerably larger than J&C’s present 36,000-square-foot facility.

The building was built for the floral business, another highly perishable item, and it should work well for produce, said Jessie Capote, executive vice president and owner.

With 25 dock doors for receiving, loading and cross-docking, the plant also includes four forced air coolers and hydrocoolers and a packing line, Capote said.

“The new building is very convenient from a logistical standpoint,” Capote said. “It will cut a lot of inefficiencies in terms of time and expense because the distance and time from the ports and airports to the new facility is probably 70% less. That makes a ton of sense from a growth standpoint.”

While J&C plans to move its import staff to the new building which will primarily focus on imports, the new operation will also consolidate Florida avocados and tropicals sourced and packed through the southern building on Krome Ave., a major trucking artery on the city’s southwest side.

J&C plans to use its current operation for local sourcing and packing, Capote said.

J&C’s executive offices remain in its older building, north of Homestead, Fla.

“At the end of the day, in our corporate DNA, we’re still farmers,” Capote said. “Our staff still associates themselves with farming more than anything.”

The expansion should help J&C increase sales of imports and Florida produce, Capote said.

Over the last couple of years, J&C has worked to increase its base of local products as well as improve import movement. The smaller facility limited growth, Capote said.

J&C’s family owners is emphasizing local products more.

J&C recently installed new forced air coolers in the older facility and is looking to buy a new avocado packing line, he said.

The new operation’s additional capacity — it sits on a 4-acre site — should allow J&C to venture into new areas, Capote said.

J&C plans to start operations in the new facility in November.

The company’s main areas involve Florida avocados and tropicals, Central American and Caribbean root vegetables, imported tropicals, and mangoes.