For years, Latino businesses have found Dallas-Fort Worth to be a breeding ground for growth. This is particularly true for companies that hail from Mexico. The momentum is only expected to increase, as corporate relocation and expansion interest heats up, and local business advocates strengthen ties with neighbors to the south.
“It’s the right time for us to really start focusing on this,” says Sarah Carabias-Rush, vice president of economic development for the Dallas Regional Chamber, which is kicking up its international business efforts after a five-year hiatus. “More international companies are choosing to put their headquarters here.”
More than 20 Mexico-based companies already operate North Texas offices, some of which serve as their U.S. or North American headquarters, according to data from the governor’s office. As the chamber revs up its international business efforts, Mexico likely will be on the short list of targets, Carabias-Rush says. The chamber will reach out to corporate location decision-makers and help companies establish or relocate their U.S. or North American headquarters in DFW. This means more jobs, a stronger economy, and another carrot the city can use to attract other global companies to the region.
For Mexican businesses, DFW offers many advantages: It’s centrally located, which helps companies easily communicate with and travel to either coast. It’s home to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which provides flights to Mexico at nearly any time of the day. It’s business-friendly and offers a quality of life that’s both affordable and attractive to employees. And it already has built-in elements of Mexican culture, due to its proximity to the border.
“On the week that I travel, I’m gaining five hours, spending less time in planes or cars,” says Adrian Mijares Elizondo, CEO of Cinépolis USA, a Mexican company that recently moved its U.S. headquarters from Los Angeles to Addison. “As we get bigger … it’s definitely enabling us to be more productive.”
Mission Foods, a subsidiary of Mexico-based Gruma Corp., has had its corporate base in Irving since 1997. The company is consolidating local manufacturing and distribution operations into an expanded 766,000 square-foot facility in Grand Prairie. Similarly, Interceramic, which opened its U.S. headquarters in Garland in 1994, is moving to Carrollton to double the size of its main office and add 110,000 square feet to its warehouse. “Over the years, we always have evaluated whether there is a better place,” says Victor Almeida, CEO of Interceramic. “But if anything, [DFW] is changing for the better.”
Opportunities for the region range from luring Mexican companies to DFW to North Texas businesses establishing a presence in Mexico, and expanding trade. Last year, Mexico represented $1.3 billion in trade for the region. “The relationship between our communities are so intertwined that we can’t undo that,” Carabias-Rush says. “With Mexico, there’s a lot of potential.”
Javier Velez Bautista, CEO of Mission Foods, says Mexican companies will continue to seek opportunities here. “This is something that will not stop,” he says. “I think Texas, especially Dallas, will be the beneficiary [of that].”