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Grigoras grows in Mexico from deep trade routes

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico — “We notice a lot of farms around the country with high-tech production and not marketing capabilities,” said Roberto Gotsis, a partner in the Mexican food marketing firm, Grigoras. “We can help with marketing.”

Grigoras was created five years ago in a partnership with Marco Diaz and Gotsis’ family business, Agricola Gotsis, SA de CV in Culiacan. Diaz had a long association with Agricola Gotsis, leading to the creation of the spinoff company.

Marco-Diaz-Grigoras-Roberto-GotsisMarco Diaz and Roberto Gotsis participated in the March 8 Culiacan business meeting and reception of the Sinaloa Encanta promotional event.Three years ago, Brentt Skinner, the founder of president of Wyco Produce in Tampa, FL, became a marketing associate with Grigoras.

Gotsis said the firm’s annual growth rate has averaged 40 percent.

Gotsis, whose family roots are largely in Greece, said “grigora” means “quickly” in Greek. Thus, the Grigoras name.

Wyco supplies Grigoras products to major East Coast retailers. Virtually all Grigoras’ production is shipped through McAllen, TX. Grigoras also has a special marketing relationship with GR Farms in McAllen.

The firm exports limes, various squashes and peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, among other items.

Grigoras procures specialized products, such as coffee, chickpeas and grains, on a year-round basis.

Far beyond exports to the United States, Grigoras ships fresh produce to Italy and other European countries.

“This past week, we sent hard squash to Italy,” Gotsis said over a March 10 lunch meeting in Culiacan. Grigoras has an onion deal in Italy this spring.

“We are trying not to depend so much on the U.S. market,” he said. Many years of offshore export experience have given Grigoras “the know-how on going step-by-step in looking for new opportunities in other parts of the world.”

Grigoras is establishing trade relationships in Dubai, U.A.E. One of the challenges is that steamship service out of Mexico is generally on a weekly, not daily, schedule. This requires a great deal of planning for long voyages carrying perishable products.

The good news is that those ocean containers are a bargain in price compared to inland freight, Diaz said.

“We pay more for local inland freight than we do to get a container to the U.K,” he added. “It’s much higher to go from Hermosillo to Altamira than it is to go all the way to Europe.”

Garbanzo bean fields stretch far in Sinaloa fields near Culiacan, and Grigoras ships large volumes of those chick peas from Mazatlan through Panama to Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries. Grigoras has been particularly focused on developing exports to Dubai.

The firm is also developing Mexican melon and squash exports to the United Kingdom.

Coffee grown in Veracruz is also exported to the U.K. and Europe by Grigoras.

In Greece, the Gotsis family has produced olive oil for seven generations. There may be some connection with Grigoras and olive oil in the future.

Roberto Gotsis has spent much of his adult life away from Nogales, where he grew up, to head the Gotsis family growing operation, Agricola Gotsis, which was founded in Culiacan in the 1920s. His father, the late industry legend, George Gotsis, joined Omega in 1951.

Shortly before his death, George Gotsis made it very clear to The Produce News that it was his sister Emilia Gotsis who started Omega in 1950. Gotsis credited her for launching the foundation of his success.