A North Carolina distributor is expanding distribution and eyeing additional growth.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Collazo Produce Inc. is retrofitting a 17,000-square-foot warehouse it"s leasing in Greensboro, N.C.

North Carolina distributor expanding, eyes more growthThough Greensboro is 67 miles from Calazzo"s headquarters in the Raleigh/Cary/Durham, N.C. "Triangle" metropolitan statistical area, the new location saves a 90-minute truck run to the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, N,C. metro area, said Oscar Collazo, owner.

Collazo plans to open the warehouse, which used to house Colfax, N.C.-based Foster-Caviness Co. Inc., by October.

It"s investing $250,000 in the warehouse, including four coolers that can refrigerate produce at different temperatures, Collazo said.

Collazo distributes a full line of fruits and vegetables as well as Hispanic produce to retailers, restaurants and other wholesalers in the growing market and is considering expanding into Charlotte, N.C. to serve other cities, he said.

When the lease on its 5,000-square-foot Raleigh warehouse ends in early 2014, the company plans to relocate to a facility measuring up to 20,000 square feet, Collazo said.

"There is a lot of potential here (in North Carolina) for new business," Collazo said. "This is a big market and it"s getting bigger all the time. More people are eating in Hispanic restaurants and are buying Hispanic produce like cilantro, avocados, mangoes and papaya."

Growing up in a Puebla, Mexico, family-run growing operation, Collazo emigrated to the U.S. and for a decade worked in sales for Raleigh-based Riley Produce before starting Collazo in 2009.

The Raleigh distributor imports cilantro, green onions, squash and other items grown and packed by Puebla-based Los Mirasoles" two packinghouses.