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Diaz Foods wants to build second distribution hub in N.J.

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Diaz Foods is one of the nation's largest distributors of Hispanic food products such as tortillas.
Diaz Foods is one of the nation's largest distributors of Hispanic food products such as tortillas. - ()

Diaz Foods — one of the largest distributors of Hispanic products in the U.S., with more than $200 million in revenue and over 500 employees — is looking again at New Jersey to expand its business.

The 35-year-old Atlanta-based company acquired Saddle Brook-based La Cena Fine Foods in December to acquire new products and territories, including New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“Buying La Cena fast-tracked our growth strategy,” said Rene M. Diaz, CEO and president.

Now, with the ability to offer more than 6,000 products in 28 states, Diaz Foods is seeking a minimum of 100,000 square feet in New Jersey for an additional distribution center.

Such a facility would ship products in-state, to all territories north of New Jersey, and some west toward Pennsylvania.

“We’d need to generate $50 million in sales from such a facility in order to justify its size,” Diaz said.

RELATED: Saddle Brook food distributor acquired by Atlanta firm

Diaz Foods hopes to open a New Jersey facility in about 12 to 24 months and hire between 50 and 100 employees to achieve that goal.

The current cross-transfer hub in Saddle Brook would be improved and repurposed.

As for one of its biggest competitors in the state — Goya Foods in Jersey City — Diaz doesn’t see much of an issue.

“Goya is a very good company with a great brand and margins; they’re a good competitor to have, as they take care of their product and pricing,” Diaz said.

“But we feel complimentary to Goya as opposed to being competition.”

That’s due to the fact that Diaz Foods has both a retail and food service division, giving the company the ability to provide some things Goya cannot.

“Very few distributors do both,” Diaz said. “We’re very unique to the marketplace in the sense that we can sell to a restaurant and a grocery store everything it needs in terms of Hispanic foods and household items.” 

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