United Brokers and Fresh House Cold Storage

The one-stop shop for moving produce from Mexico, through the border
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Drew Taylor

Situated within two major points of entry in South Texas – the newly constructed Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and the Progreso International Bridge – United Brokers and Fresh House Cold Storage work in conjunction to secure, import, store and export fresh produce direct from Mexico to the United States. Fresh House offers a secure, state-of-the-art facility with first-class temperature monitoring systems, ensuring product stays within temperature parameters at all times and ultimately, arrives fresh to the consumer.

Superior customer service

United Brokers, a customs brokerage firm, works hand in hand with Fresh House and together the companies serve as a one-stop shop for moving produce across the border. United Brokers’ facility is situated at the Pharr Bridge and the Fresh House cold-storage facility is located on the overweight corridor adjacent to the bridge.

This positioning allows the companies to swiftly process orders. “United Brokers assists our customers with the paperwork in clearing customs,” explains Jesse Munoz, president of both companies.

United Brokers maintains constant tracking and communication with customers, an essential part of the job. “As far as the brokerage is concerned, it is very important to know the status of the shipment for our customers,” explains Munoz. “We let them know when it arrives, when it clears Mexican customs and when it is in our warehouse.”

Munoz is an industry veteran, having been in the produce business for more than 29 years. “I have been doing this since 1986,” he says. “We stand out because we are honest and we do the best job at a reasonable price with one package and one invoice.”

Munoz says by combining the brokerage and customs side of the business with state-of-the-art storage, United Brokers and Fresh House offer superior customer service. “The bottom line is customer service,” he says. “Between United Brokers and Fresh House, we have about 30 employees. We have the people in place to provide the best service possible. Our trained and experienced staff handles the loading and unloading, facilitating seamless transfer and storage of our customers’ fresh produce. We place great emphasis on our service and pride ourselves on unmatched satisfaction from our long list of clients.”

Ramping up capacity in light of high volume

In recent years, Pharr has been home to a major influx of produce and the border city has quickly become a hub of activity thanks to new infrastructure making way for faster routes. Until the construction of the $2 billion superhighway, Mexico’s first major east-west corridor, Nogales, Arizona, was the leading land port of entry for Mexican produce and goods.

Now, with the superhighway bridging Mexico’s Pacific coast to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Pharr is steadily becoming the new import hot spot. What was once shipped north through Arizona will now take a shorter route east to South Texas – saving truckers an average of $3,000 and 16 hours per round-trip, depending on their final destination.

Fresh House and United Brokers have seen the produce industry boom arrive at their doorstep. As a result, Fresh House has recently ramped up capacity with a newly built cold-storage facility.

Completed in 2011, the 40,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse includes multi-temperature cooler storage, monitored storage rooms, refrigerated docks to maintain the cold chain transfer, an ethylene control system and airocide technology, along with 10 docking bays to transfer fresh product quickly.

“As volume increases and more traffic moves into Pharr, we have to find ways to address these challenges,” says Munoz. “With the expansion we have the capacity to store produce for a couple of days after clearance and before transport to the rest of the country.”

With more movement into Pharr, the companies have seen different kinds of produce entering the border. “Strawberries are big and increasing, and so are tomatoes and peppers,” says Munoz. “We have plans to further double our cold-storage capacity in 2015 and we’re currently in talks with general contractors.”

Munoz assures before expansion comes customer satisfaction and stresses that Fresh House would not be where it is today without a loyal following. “We offer the most in convenience between United Brokers and Fresh House as a one-stop shop for produce,” he says. “Ultimately, our core values of honesty, reliability, service and responsiveness have led us to success as a company.”

With no signs of imports slowing in Pharr and the lower Rio Grande Valley, United Brokers and Fresh House Cold Storage have formed a premier partnership, uniquely positioned to take full advantage of the regional growth.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Guzman Construction