By PEDRO PEREZ IV
Thirty-seven years ago Ramon Villarreal Jr. started working for his family’s company, Ravi Candies.
Ravi Candies, which was founded in 1952 in Monterrey, Mexico, became an international business last year with the opening of a plant in Edinburg.
When Ravi Candies looked into opening their first plant in the United States, they contacted the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation because they were supporting new businesses.
“From Edinburg, Ravi Candies ships all over the U.S,” Villarreal said. “The candies can be found on store shelves in cities like El Paso, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Basically it’s whereever Latin people live. Here in the Valley, Ravi Candies can be found in Aziz and Stripes.”
At the Edinburg plant there are seven types of candies being finished for distribution. The Mexico plant makes the majority of the candy in Monterrey but here Villarreal is responsible for adding the chile.
“The jellies have a lot of problems passing through customs because of Food and Drug Administration regulations,” Villarreal said. “The thing with the Mexican Chile is that the FDA sees the word chile and they return it immediately.”
Ravi Candies’ main goal is to make sure products for their clients will not fall short because some companies have problems getting product into the U.S.
“There’s always a lack of confindence when a store buys a product from Mexico,” Villarreal said. “They put a candy on the shelf and it passes through customs but the next few times it doesn’t pass and the store is left hanging.”
The length of time it takes Villarreal to finish his product is about 10 days from when it arrives in Edinburg. Once the finishing touches are finalized Ravi Candies are distributed from this plant.
In the near future, Ravi Candies are planning on expanding again. Formulas are being generated for a new line of candies.
“The idea is that we’re here because everything was here,” Villarreal said. “Now that we’re rolling, we’re looking into a larger manufacturing plant making more products. We are also finishing the formulas for some new candies that we can ultimately bring to the U.S.”