20 Jul 16

July 20, 2016

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Mexican chips produced locally

Gabriela Godinez-Laverty (left) and José Godinez Luna (right), along with their father, José Godinez Del Toro (not shown) are the owners and operators of Mexican Corn Products, which has recently moved their tortilla chip production facility to the Hwy. 417 Industrial Park. Their authentic Mexican corn products, Los Cantores, are available in major stores and locally. Vetter photo

Mexican chip manufacturer moves to 417 industrial park

Candice Vetter

Villager Staff

VARS—The 100,000 sq.-ft. building on Corduroy Rd. in Russell’s Highway 417 Industrial Park between Vars and Embrun has a new tenant which manufactures authentic Mexican tortilla chips—in Canada.

Mexican Corn Products is owned and managed by a father, daughter and son team, originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and produces Los Cantores brand tortilla chips.

How do you make authentic Mexican chips in Canada? By importing flour made from special varieties of Mexican corn which are flavourful and contain additional nutrition. The corn is grown in Mexico in a traditional location, it is milled in the United States and imported by the family to Canada, then the chips are made using an old family recipe in a modern industrial setting. Some of those chips end up then being exported for the American market.

The company was started by Gabriela Godinez-Laverty in 2004. She had married a Canadian Army officer and moved to Canada a few years earlier. Together they started the manufacturing business, and her father, a chemical engineer, and her brother, an electromechanical engineer, moved from Mexico to join her. Father José Godinez Del Toro is chairman of the board, develops the process for adapting the recipes, and is involved in management. Brother José Godinez Luna is in charge of production. “I do some of everything,” says Godinez-Laverty with a laugh, who handles overall sales, generally management and whatever else is needed.

Since it was founded, the business has continued to increase production, and this is the fourth time it has moved. Other locations were in Ottawa, and Godinez-Laverty said the move to Russell Township has been very beneficial, not only being in a less expensive and larger location, but also with support from the United Counties of Prescott-Russell. There are many advantages. “Here distribution is easier,” she says, referring to the location near a Hwy. 417 ramp. “And there is room to grow.” They are planning to rent an additional bay in the building, probably next year.

The tortilla chips, which come in seven flavours, are carried by many grocery chains, and local stores and restaurants are stocking or serving them eagerly. Next year the company, which has 10 staff, plans to start exporting to England, Sweden and other European locations as well, and to expand its market in Western Canada.

So far Godinez-Laverty gave a rough estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 in direct investment, for machinery, fit-ups, etc. She praised her landlord of whom she said, “There was so much effort to get the plant working, but he understood.”

Mexican Corn Products grand opening is on Fri., Aug. 5, from 3 p.m.