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Joaquin Spamer, founder of CiL, and Rina Castillo, executive director of Raymondville Economic Development Corporation.

RAYMONDVILLE, RGV – Just as the company did in Alamo a month ago, CiL and its founder Joaquin Spamer has held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Raymondville for a large warehouse for cotton distribution.

The Alamo property was attractive, Spamer said, because a rail line runs inside the warehouse. With Raymondville, he said, the attraction was the proximity to cotton production in the Rio Grande Valley.

“This warehouse is in the middle of the crop harvesting region. This facility is for the Valley crops. It will help us grow with local crops,” Spamer told the Rio Grande Guardian.

The Raymondville premises, the seventh CiL has opened in the Valley, has 100,000 square feet of space. It will be able to handle about 50,000 bales of cotton, Spamer said. “We have been the No. 1 delivery company for cotton into Mexico for a couple of years. This warehouse is important because if we deliver on time then the local crop can reach the market with a premium in the price. I want to thank the City of Raymondville for being so helpful.”

Asked if CiL would be a good corporate citizen to Raymondville, Spamer said: “We always help and get involved. You will see this in Raymondville.”

Raymondville residents know the CiL facility well because it was their old Walmart store. A number of Raymondville leaders noted that while Walmart hired 200-plus workers, CiL will only have about ten at the height of the cotton season.

“We are going to welcome any new business into our area and yes CiL does not create the amount of jobs everyone was hoping for. However, it does have a great purpose,” said Elma Chavez, executive director of Raymondville Chamber of Commerce.

“Listening to Mr. Spamer today, the speed at which he can, by having this facility, get the product from here across the border is amazing. His is a new business to our area. We will welcome any new business and of course, while Mr. Spamer is here, we might look to him for other opportunities. He might see the other things we have to offer. We will support any endeavors that he has.”

Asked what how the economy in Raymondville and Willacy County has been performing, Chavez said the whole county was rocked “when the prison system went down.” However, she said MTC has purchased the old prison. “I know that something good is going to come out of that. I think it is close.”

Chavez also noted that Raymondville has several places available in its business incubator and that VTC provides high speed Internet. “We have a lot of land, we have a lot of opportunity. I always say we are a gem waiting to be discovered. Opportunities are here. We have always been agriculture but we welcome any type of new businesses. So, we encourage new businesses to come and speak to our EDC director and our city manager. Give us your ideas.”

Rina Castillo, executive director of Raymondville Economic Development Corporation, said her city is thrilled to have Spamer’s company.

“Raymondville is excited to welcome CiL, a company that is known as a leader in exporting, importing, warehousing, distribution and transportation throughout Mexico and the United States.  CiL’s acquisition of the Walmart building means goods such as cotton can be stored and made ready for transport anywhere in the United States or abroad,” Castillo said.

“Raymondville is ready to become a major distribution hub with its easy access to interstates and ports.  We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with CiL as we continue to bring new opportunities to Raymondville.”

Larry Gonzalez, market president of Hidalgo County for Plains Capital Bank, said his bank was delighted to have helped CiL arrive in Willacy County. “Our bank has helped with the finance and we are happy to do it for such a well-established businessman. We are strong supporters of Joaquin and his operation. He has provided a much-needed service for the farmers. We are happy to support him and his growth and success. We congratulate him on his expansion.”

Guillermo Ordorica Robles

The news conference to announce the opening of CiL’s Raymondville warehouse was notable for the participation of McAllen Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Keith Patridge and Mexico’s consul to McAllen, Guillermo Ordorica Robles. Both said they had traveled to Raymondville to tell local officials that Spamer is a businessman of the highest caliber.

“Joaquin Spamer will bring jobs, wealth and prosperity,” Ordorica said.

Patridge agreed. “We have worked with Joaquin for many, many, years. You will find as you deal with him that he is really an honorable, upstanding guy, that will help the community grow. Congratulations, Joaquin on another successful expansion, and congratulations to the City of Raymondville,” Patridge said.

Embracing Change

Patridge took the opportunity to give a speech about the changes technology is bringing to the world and how the Valley stands ready to adapt and thrive. Here is Patridge’s speech:

I look at this facility and I can’t help but think, this is change. Unfortunately, in the world today, we are all living through change. Technology is a big part of what’s changing everything around us. In the case of retail, we are now dealing with online shopping, we are dealing with competition that is no longer the car dealership across the street or the store down the street. We are all competing now with the rest of the world because, literally, we can get online and buy anything we want, anywhere in the world. We can compare prices and we can place the order, literally, within a matter of minutes. And it will arrive within a day or so, or sometimes in two hours or so.

Keith Patridge

So, what that means for us, what we see in McAllen and, I think, the whole Rio Grande Valley, is, we really have to look at how we work together to embrace that change and figure out how we all fit together to help our communities grow and to help our cities grow. To help everyone have a good living, have a good quality of life, for not only ourselves but for generations to come.

We have the violence issue in Mexico, we have the Peso devaluation, we have the political landscape we are all dealing with, and the global marketplace that is becoming much more prevalent in our lives. And so, how do we work as a region start working together to take advantage of the strengths that all of us have to help our communities grow?

When you look at our area, we have a lot of assets that we really need to work together to take care of. One is the youth. We have a very young population, we have a growing population, on both sides of the border, and we have to take advantage of that because in many places the world is getting old. It is getting very old and we do not have the workforce we need in order to take advantage of that.

We also have to look at training because training is going to be key to be able to address the technology requirements of the future.

One of the other things we have, besides the youth, is our geographic location. Our geographic location puts us in the center of this big huge NAFTA market that we have been hearing about a lot in the last few months, about renegotiating NAFTA. But, I think that is going to work out well for us. It (NAFTA) is 25 years old and probably needs to be upgraded.

What we have that an agreement can’t change or technology can’t change is our geographic position. Being on the border, we have a unique opportunity to really bring product in and to ship product out to the rest of the world through this area, utilizing the ports of Mexico, utilizing the Port of Brownsville, utilizing the Port of Corpus Christi, as well as being able to take components and raw materials that are coming in from all over the world and bring them in to production plants in South Texas or in Mexico where we can configure those products into special made products to meet exactly what the customer wants in a very short timeframe. That is what we call rapid response manufacturing.

But, it is also tied in to what we call Third Coast. The Third Coast is really looking at this as a region and looking at the assets that we have with transportation to the ports in Mexico and the U.S. and looking at how we can improve our infrastructure and how we can use the assets that we have to really serve the rest of the world from here.

One of the advantages we have here with cotton is we are first to market. So, how do we get that cotton out to the rest of the world so the farmers that are raising the cotton here have the ability to maximize their return on investment. All of those things we have to look at and we have to figure out how we can work together as a region to do that.

I know this is a hit to the community, to lose a big store here and to turn it into a big cotton facility. But it is like the phoenix. The new bird rose and it took off and flew. We are in the same situation here. I want to congratulate you (the people of Raymondville) because I know this guy (Joaquin Spamer). I know he is going to do a lot more here. I know he is going to make things successful here. And I think there will be other things that could potentially come because of what he is doing. So, congratulations Joaquin on another good move. You keep adding to it and I appreciate that.

Patridge ended his remarks by offering to help Raymondville and Willacy County. “We are here to help work with you. Anything we can do, we need to work as a team and as a region together,” he said.