BY CHRISTINA DIMARTINO | MARCH 02, 2020
As a leading importer, marketer and distributor of tropical and Latin items, it’s hard to beat the Exp Group’s experience and expertise.
Anthony Serafino, vice president of the North Bergen, NJ-based company, said among the most exciting news is that the company has added an additional 7,500 square-feet in brand new state-of-the-art refrigerated storage space earlier this year.
“We added 2,500 square feet of cold storage space and 5,000 square feet of dry warehouse,” said Serafino. “This expansion brings Exp Group to a total of 60,000 square feet of operational space. The space provides us with more accessibility to move our products around our warehouse.
Eric Chikhani-Carrillo, Fraymil Rodriguez, Anthony Serafino and Emil Serafino of Exp Group.
“Exp Group takes infrastructure investments very seriously, and we are excited to see what the additional space will bring us in 2020,” he continued. “We anticipate that our growth and expansion will continue into the future.”
He noted that increasing its space as its growth and evolvement continue is made a bit easier by the fact that the company owns the entire facility which encompasses 293,000 square feet of space.
“We use it as our business grows and expands,” explained Serafino. “It is basically used as our arsenal in protecting our future growth.”
Exp Group has also added four new employees to its shipping department, and plans to continue to add team members going forward.
Other great news for the company is that on Feb. 17 the company successfully passed its unannounced food-safety SQF Platform for 2020. Serafino pointed out that the company initially obtained its SQF certification in 2018 — a process that was headed by Erik Chikhani Carrillo, who is largely responsible for implementing and overseeing the project.
“We now have to undergo annual unannounced certification inspections to keep the certification in place,” said Serafino. “The audit includes inspections of the facility indoors and outdoors, as well as paperwork auditing that covers company policies, recall issues, cleanliness and much more.”
Chikhani Carrillo will continue to oversee the SQF program for Exp Group, alongside Serafino and his father, Emil Serafino. Serafino said the certification “ensures that Exp Group is doing ripening right.”
Exp Group completed its C-TPAT certification last year, which Serafino said helps the company immensely with container releases at ports of arrival.
The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, commonly referred to as C-TPAT, is a voluntary supply-chain security program led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It focuses on improving the security of private companies’ supply chains with respect to terrorism.
“C-TPAT helps to limit our inspections, deliver products to our customers sooner and in a more efficient manner,” said Serafino.
Exp Group is a specialist in bananas and plantains, as well as organic, green and ripe bananas, green and ripe plantains, green and ripe yuca, avocados, chayote, coconuts, yams, kabocha, yautia, sour oranges, sweet lemons, asito, hot pepper, ginger, papayas, mangos and more.
The company imports bananas and plantains from Ecuador, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico, Haiti, Brazil, Guatemala, Jamaica and elsewhere when necessary to keep its customers supplied year-round.
In its warehouse, Exp Group uses RedLine Cooler traceability technology from RedLine Solutions, a highly recognized organization in these fields.
“We continually look at new and exciting items to add to our extensive line,” said Serafino. “We pride ourselves on being a leading specialist in the tropical and Latin lines of fresh produce and providing the best possible service.”