One in 400 trillion.
That is the probability that each of us would be born. You have already defied immense odds by sitting here today. Call it luck or determination; whatever it is, it lives in us all.
Harnessing this inner power, the Co-Founders of West Pak Avocado, Galen Newhouse and Randy Shoup, chose to defy even more odds by starting a business in this ever-evolving industry. Now, the company is ringing in its 40th anniversary and looking back on what it has accomplished since 1982.
After putting it all on the line four decades ago, what does it feel like to celebrate such an impressive achievement?
“In a word: everything!” Galen says with a gleam in his eye. “It’s exciting to celebrate this milestone. The past 40 years have been an amazing journey. We are extremely proud of the company we have built from the ground up and the people who helped us get there.”
Back when West Pak started, both Galen and Randy had yet to learn how the avocado sector would blossom to become the powerhouse it is today. The industry was small, with imports not even allowed in the United States.
“As a company, West Pak started very modestly by sourcing locally and working out of an old metal building in Fallbrook, California, that was only about 5,000 square feet. Today, our California facility in Murrieta, California, spans over 114,000 square feet and doubles as our corporate headquarters,” Randy details. “The road to becoming one of the largest suppliers of avocados in the world has been hard work, but West Pak has emerged as a respected global leader in the produce industry.”
Thanks to the successful promotion of avocados over the years, the category received a significant boost that, in turn, bolstered West Pak’s popularity. Before organizations like the Hass Avocado Board shared the healthy attributes of avocados, many people didn’t realize their benefits. Since then, the category has become what Galen aptly refers to as “prolific.”
Stemming from the industry’s evolution, West Pak saw a surge in demand that led to its entry into Mexico. During the 1990s, the grower expanded efforts into Michoacán as a sourcing region and opened a packing facility.
“Having operations in Mexico is a strategic advantage to us. The top U.S. retailers want to buy avocados from someone who has control of their supply chain, as opposed to through a broker,” explains Randy. “West Pak knows the market and marketplace, has assets, and can deliver the quality and volume our customers want directly.”
Today, Grupo, West Pak’s sister facility in Michoacán, is over 125,000 square feet and provides a large percentage of the volume to the U.S. and the company’s European and Asian markets.
“We are extremely proud of the company we have built from the ground up and the people who helped us get there.”
- Galen Newhouse, Co-Founder, West Pak Avocado
“West Pak is one of only three U.S. packers in Mexico with its own operations and employees,” adds Galen. “Without our Michoacán facility, the company would not be what it is today.”
Thanks to this operation and more, West Pak has become a strong retail partner, offering a resilient year-round supply of high-quality avocados. This has earned the trust of its customers, along with its exceptional service, value-added offerings, and logistics, which have propelled its growth.
Overall, West Pak has nearly tripled in size over the past decade alone.
“Every company at some point faces a fork in the road, a point in which the next level of performance and growth must be identified and decided on. One of those moments for West Pak was our decision to make strategic investments in independently owned avocado ranches and packing houses in Mexico and Colombia, then supplement the supply by supporting local growers,” states Mario Pacheco, Chief Executive Officer, West Pak Avocado. “We believe that our investments, including our relationships with growers, will significantly enhance our value to our customers and solidify our leadership in the industry.”
West Pak is on track for growth and moving full steam ahead, which has allowed Randy and Galen to step back from daily operations over the past few years, giving Mario the chance to take the reins. Both Founders sit on the Board of Directors and are involved as shareholders.
With Mario and other emerging leaders at the helm, West Pak remains dedicated to doing business with respect and integrity. The company’s current focus is on growing its network of distribution centers in the States, having recently opened its latest facility in New Jersey, with plans for substantial expansion into the Southeast as well.
The avocado maven is also looking to widen its footprint in its current sourcing regions while further developing its grower partnerships. Mexico, California, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are all in its sights moving forward.
“In the next 40 years, we look to deliver our premium avocados to more parts of the world,” concludes Mario. “We will continue to expand existing operations and cultivate new sourcing regions, doing so with sustainability and ethical business and labor practices in mind.”
Fortune favors the bold, and the odds have remained on West Pak’s side throughout its four-decade journey. With so much already accomplished since its inception, there is no telling where fate will guide these fearless leaders next.