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International Supplier of Car Products Expanding Its Footprint in the ValleyPosted: Updated:
HARLINGEN – Harlingen city leaders hope the expansion of an international company will stop job seekers from leaving the Rio Grande Valley.
It’s the largest construction project of its kind in the city.
An aerial drone whirs above a line of businesses and city employees carrying golden shovels in the groundbreaking ceremony.
It’s the site where Cardone Industries will build a 900,000-square foot distribution center.
City employees tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS it’s the largest industrial build ever in Harlingen.
Carmen Gutierrez, who owns a business on FM 509, attended the event.
“It’s huge. Like I said, it’s something that’s very exciting,” she said.
Gutierrez said she has watched many talented job seekers leave the area in search of better work.
“It’s difficult when you see people struggling, not being able to find jobs. They have to uproot to find those jobs,” she said.
The mayor of Harlingen, Christopher Boswell, says the city’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent in November. That’s well above the national average of 4.1 percent during the same time.
The mayor says drawing businesses like Cardone to the region is part of their long-term effort to improve unemployment numbers since the recession.
“That’s down from eight years ago when it was above 11 percent. So that’s going to just assist with that,” he said.
Boswell says the new facility puts Harlingen on the map at a global level.
“It also means that Harlingen will be known as a distribution center because this is a distribution center for the largest automotive remanufacturing parts company in the world,” he said.
Cardone already operates a warehouse in Harlingen and Matamoros.
“We’ve been looking throughout South Texas to grow our operations in Texas to support Matamoros. And this seemed like the right spot to do it,”
Cardone vice president says they expect to hire more than 500 employees.
“Probably 97 percent will be local hires,” he said.
Jobs, Gutierrez says, many are eager to do.
“There’s a lot of talent in the Valley. I think for us to keep that talent here is to offer a better opportunity, a better future for the people in our community,” he said.
Gutierrez believes that better future is on the horizon.
The senior vice president for Cardone says he anticipates the distribution center will be up and running by the end of next year.