(July 8) TUBAC, Ariz. — Splendid Products LLC, Burlingame, Calif., will significantly expand its mango volumes through a new Nogales-area subsidiary staffed by four former Diazteca Co. sales and marketing representatives.

The new company, Splendid Products of Arizona LLC, will open in Tubac, north of Nogales, by the end of July. The staff was working out of the California company’s office by the second week of June. The California office will handle financial and administrative functions for the new company, but co-owner and managing partner Larry Nienkerk said they’ll maintain separate identities.

Steve Kaczor, director of marketing for both offices, will split his time between California and Arizona. Tom Argyros handles Western U.S. sales, and Chris Long handles Eastern U.S. sales. All three had similar positions at Diazteca, Nogales. Erica Franco, office manager at the new Splendid Products location, was a sales assistant at Diazteca.

“We’re going to handle additional growers in the Arizona office, and the California office will keep the accounts is has now,” Kaczor said. “We have new relationships on both ends, new growers and customers.”

Nienkerk said Splendid Products was on track to import more than 5 million boxes of mangoes from Mexico, South America and Central America this year before plans for the new office arose. He declined to discuss specific projections, but said the increase in volumes will be significant and that Splendid will lead the U.S. in mango volumes.

The U.S. imported 614 million pounds of mangoes in 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The new company will provide an opportunity to bring a higher profile the company’s Splendid and Tropic Star brands. The company also will market private-label fruit.

Kaczor said Splendid Products will maintain its relationship with Nogales customs broker G. Mendez & Co., which has warehouse facilities.

Splendid Products, which has been in business for 27 years, focuses on mangoes and limes, but Kaczor said expansion into more citrus and other tropical items will be addressed in the new company’s business plan.

Diazteca president Ismael Diaz wasn’t available for comment on July 8.