MCALLEN, Texas – The City of McAllen and the McAllen Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for two companies at their new industrial park.

Mercorp-Inc. and Tetakawi will occupy the lot at the northeast corner of West Military Highway and South 35th St., across from the MEDC.

The companies collaborated to erect two buildings totaling 110,000 square feet. Mercorp-Inc. will inhabit about 35,000 square feet while Tetakawi will take up the remainder.

Both companies have a presence in the Rio Grande Valley related to the maquiladora industry. Mercorp-Inc., established in 1986, runs manufacturing and warehouse management operations from their twin locations in Reynosa and McAllen. They perform a wide range of manufacturing processes and have worked with clients like Whirlpool, Zenith Electronics and Globe Motors.

Enrique Castro

Tetakawi, formerly known as The Offshore Group, offers consulting and shelter services to foreign companies looking to open manufacturing plants in Mexico. They handle a client’s licensing, regulatory and legal compliance, administration, staffing and facility management. They also act as the employer and manufacturer of record for their customers. They are the largest shelter service provider in Mexico with locations across that country. In the U.S., they are headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, and a have cross docking facility in Pharr.

Enrique Castro, president and owner of Mercorp-Inc., says that by partnering with Tetakawi, they are creating a business model that mixes shelter services with contract manufacturing, streamlining the process for future clients. When the project is complete, he estimates that they will need about 100 employees to run the operation, which will be a one-stop shop for companies looking for manufacturing services on the U.S. side.

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, who spoke at the ceremony, said this new industrial park was years in the making. He explained that after accompanying groups from Reynosa and Tamaulipas on recruiting expeditions, he decided McAllen should attract clients as well, instead of waiting for the residual economic benefits.

“Reynosa’s been very important to us,” said Darling. “I’ve gone to China, and Korea, and all those countries with Tamaulipas and City of Reynosa recruiting. And, it swayed the manufacturing, and we were getting kind of the logistic side. So, we talked about ‘let’s do some of the manufacturing here.’”

With this change in strategy, Janie Cavazos, vice president of business recruitment in the United States for the MEDC, and her team went to work. After five years of negotiations, Castro’s Mercorp-Inc. became the first manufacturing tenant of the industrial park, with more on the horizon.

“Janie and her crew … have done a fantastic job in getting manufacturing over here,” said Darling. “This is kind of one of the examples of their hard work, and we got about 10 more in the shoots. So, it’s really exciting how we’re changing that.”

Darling is also optimistic about recently-passed USMCA and the effect it will have in the maquiladora industry.

“With USMCA, I think you’re going to see Reynosa companies coming here,” said Darling. “And, this is the first major one, I think, that’s happened with a …Reynosa company adding to their portfolio here in McAllen. So, that’s going to be great, and I think USMCA is going to be great for our both countries. When we work together, we can accomplish great things.”