There’s a new spice in southern New Mexico – it’s not green chili.
New Orleans-based Louisiana Pepper Exchange joins food processing company Oro LLC with a presence in Santa Teresa. According to the New Mexico Department of Economic Development, both companies cited transportation advantages as a primary reason for choosing the region.
Oro will fill a 20-acre site at the Santa Teresa Gateway Rail Park, and the Louisiana Pepper Exchange has purchased a 10-acre site at the Ironhorse Industrial Park.
“Recruiting new businesses to the Santa Teresa Borderlands continues to be a priority for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham,” EDD Secretary Alicia Keys said in a statement. It is more important than ever to America’s prosperity as it seeks to become more affordable and provide North American customers and consumers with more affordable goods and materials.”
According to a news release, Oro plans to open a $19 million facility in 2024 and create 49 jobs with an average salary of $35,710. Construction will begin this summer.
Meanwhile, the Louisiana Pepper Exchange will employ at least 20 people over the next five years with an average salary of $45,000. His 10-acre site at the company includes a 40,000-square-foot processing facility and space for his farm, which can store up to 30 million pounds of pepper mash for sale to U.S. customers.
As part of the expansion, both companies have also received Local Economic Development Act funding. Louisiana Pepper Exchange will receive his $300,000 in LEDA prizes and Oro will receive his $750,000. Doña Ana County serves as the financial agent for LEDA funds.
In addition, both companies will receive $100,000 from the NM Borderplex Closing Incentive to help expand into the region. The incentive, administered by the Southern New Mexico Community Foundation and the Messilah Valley Economic Development Alliance, helped recruit two companies.
With contract growers in Mexico, Oro plans to connect with local farmers across the state. The company primarily procure bulk ingredients for processors and packaged vegetables for restaurants, foodservice and retail customers, the state said.
A family-owned company founded in 2010, Louisiana Pepper Exchange produces pepper-based ingredients for manufacturers and restaurants. The company also sells its products at national chains such as Walmart, according to its website.
Like Oro, the company has direct relationships with Mexican farmers and will explore other opportunities with New Mexico-based Chilean farmers, according to the state. It’s currently working with the burger chain on Ghost Pepper Cheeseburger, and with Dunkin’ Donuts on Pepper Donuts.
Louisiana Pepper Exchange Chief Financial Officer Zach Foster said Santa Teresa was a “natural fit” as a location where he could support a supply chain from Mexico.
Oro’s leadership sees expansion into the region in a similar light.
“Oro sees Santa Teresa as a logistical gateway to bring our products to more customers in the West, which means more opportunities for growers and processors in New Mexico.” , Oro operations manager Hugo Ruiz said in a statement.