NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — The pandemic didn’t stop or even slow down the big business that is the Nogales produce industry. Governor Doug Ducey went to Nogales Wednesday to celebrate a new milestone in the industry’s growth.
In Nogales, on North Frank Reed Road, there’s a new symbol of cross border commerce. It's a warehouse able to handle tons of fresh fruit and produce crossing from Mexico. To recognize its importance Governor Ducey came to Nogales to officially open the place.
At 60 thousand square feet the new St. James Cooler is bigger than a football field and something Nogales and Governor Ducey are ready to celebrate. It's meant to expand Nogales' ability to bring in fresh produce and send it throughout North America.
Owner Jaime Chamberlain was able to build it despite all the challenges of the pandemic.
He says even with the pandemic the need for the building grew.
“Everybody says well, Nogales is a small town, 22,000 people but over 30 Billion dollars in cross border business is done here every single year. And I think one of the things that’s really important is we’re seeing the growth just from year to year, year to date from last year to the end of May we’re up 18.6 percent in truck crossings.”
COVID disrupted supply chains all over the world and sparked shortages we still see today. Governor Ducey says Arizona’s cross border commerce is a lesson in the value of keeping suppliers close to home.
“I think what we’ve been through the past 15 months should be a wake up call to every one who’s in business to repatriate their manufacturing and supply chain from China, from Asia, bring it to Arizona, if not Arizona one of the 49 other United States if if not that to North America to our Partner in Mexico. It’ll be safer, It’ll be more prosperous and it'll be more predictable.”