When Border Cold Storage LLC opened in 2008, its owners touted the 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Pharr, Texas, as a state-of-the-art facility.
But in the past year, owner and president Tyler Morgan found ways to make it even better.
Border has installed an ozone generator from Guardian Manufacturing Inc. that turns ethylene into inert gas and kills more than 99% of mold and bacteria.
Morgan says the ozone system makes produce safer and extends its shelf life.
“We’re always thinking about how we can make our customers more competitive. Hopefully our customers are getting more sales because of it. We always want to see our customers grow and be successful.”
Border — which has 3,200 pallet positions — stores produce for customers in 11 different temperature rooms. Morgan said the warehouse plays host to a wide range of product, including limes, pineapples, watermelon, tomatoes and strawberries.
“We’re very diverse,” said Morgan, whose company also offers repacking and a quality assurance program. “We tend to get the higher valued stuff because of our refrigeration system. It’s very tightly controlled.”
Border has been able to trace product forward in the supply chain since it opened. But in 2010 the company added the ability to trace product back as well.
“Our customers in Mexico are getting more complex,” he said. “We opened our computer system to be more accessible to clients. They can view their loads on entry and exit.”
Morgan said Mexican growers are assigned pallet numbers, and the growers enter those numbers into Border’s computer system. When trucks arrive in Pharr, Border and the growers review their data to make sure that they agree, and they reconcile their information when product is shipped out of the facility.
Morgan said the system provides Border and the grower with vital information in the event of a recall.
“They have it at their fingertips,” he said. “In the food industry, speed is so important.”
Border received a 99% score during a review by Primuslabs.com during the fourth quarter of 2010. Morgan said the warehouse got an even more stringent audit from Darden Restaurants Inc., the company that operates Bahama Breeze, The Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Seasons 52.
“They’re extremely picky,” Morgan said. “We had the opportunity to work with them, and we came through with flying colors. We were very excited about that.”