It’s one thing to add a pink ribbon to consumer packs. The new onion packing line at the La Villa, Texas, location of DeBruyn Produce takes it a whole other direction: the entire onion line is pink.
“It’s a very pretty pink,” said Margret DeBruyn, president of the Zeeland, Mich.-based company. “It really got started when we were trying to pick a color.”
DeBruyn’s mother and grandmother were breast cancer survivors, along with several employees’ relatives. DeBruyn herself is a cancer survivor as well.
“To me, that color — you identify with it,” she said. “We had been talking with the Susan G. Komen Foundation about how we’re here in a rural town and there’s not a lot of attention paid to those issues. We’ve also got an office full of women in an industry where there are not a lot of women, and we’re kind of reminding people we’re here.”
Reaction to the packing line has been a mixed, she said.
“People have been joking about it, but when they come see it they see that it actually looks pretty good,” she said. “It’s not dull or grungy. It’s bright, and all of our safety things are red. It was meant to be fun.”
DeBruyn said business has been strong since she took over last season. The company recently relocated its Texas operations from Weslaco to a new building about 12 miles to the north in La Villa. The new facility sits on about 10 acres.
“We put in coolers,so now we have cold storage,” she said. “We also have an onion drier and a repack line. We really want to get this to be something we can utilize on a year-round basis for not just onions, but other commodities.”
DeBruyn said the company’s Florida facility also is busier than expected.
“We thought we’d have three or four months of down time without our own product, but we’re actually running a second shift,” she said. “Where we thought we’d need probably 20,000 to 30,000 of cold storage, we’re actually using 40,000 to 50,000. We’re expanding our programs in both Florida and Texas. It has been a good year.”