Blue Orange Pottery

Blue Orange Pottery, located in Laredo, TX, designs, manufactures, and distributes an expansive line of innovative home and garden décor products for a worldwide market. Their products include: clay pottery, ceramics, talavera, wooden décor, recycled metal art, along with other high quality products. Blue Orange Pottery started as a family owned business and takes pride in having some of the highest quality decorative garden decor products for their customers. Their operation is successful as evidenced by the fact that they are distributed and sold by small businesses as well as some of the largest retail stores.

In 2011 Jonathan Mercado, President of Blue Orange Pottery came to the International Trade Center to expand and strengthen his export preparedness and operation. Senior International Business Advisor Berenice Carmona worked with Mercado to lay the groundwork for new international business ventures for the company. Through a number of research and advising projects the International Trade Center provided trade data, on-going market intelligence, market research on countries including Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Austria and New Zealand, complete with home and garden décor market information, and potential customers in each country. “I came to the International Trade Center for help expanding into new markets as well as general export assistance,” said Mercado. “Berenice Carmona’s personalized advising has proven to be highly valuable. I learned a lot from the International Trade Center.”

As a result of the assistance received, Blue Orange Pottery has been able to reach out into new countries and expand its existing business. They have had a 30% increase in sales, and now have distributors in Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and Germany. “Based on my previous experience, I am looking forward to working with the International Trade Center again with my next international business project,” said Mercado.

To learn more about Blue Orange Pottery, visit www.blueorangepottery.com.

Concord Supply

Concord Supply, founded in 1991 and located in San Antonio, TX, is a manufacturer of packaging material, special laminations and extrusions. Some of Concord Supply products applications are metal and wood packaging, construction and agriculture.

The International Trade Center Senior International Business Advisor Alberto Rodriguez-Baez started assisting Concord Supply in 2013. Some of the services provided to the company’s staff were international market research, trade advising and international business development training assistance. The most critical service provided was the international steel market analysis, identification of best markets to export Concord Supply’s products and the identification of potential clients in the steel industry in specific markets abroad.

As a result, Concord Supply is poised to expand its presence to new markets in the Middle East, Europe and Australia. “The market research prepared for us by the International Trade Center was very informative and provided comprehensive and detailed information regarding potential customers abroad that we are looking to approach and do business with. We are already in the process of penetrating global markets with this information,” said Victor Quiñones, Concord Supply’s Owner and President. “The information is so relevant and useful that we are planning on hiring staff to act on it,” Quiñones added.

Besides providing international trade advising, Rodriguez-Baez has been instrumental in connecting Concord Supply with other trade assistance agencies in the region and other departments within UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development. As a result of this exposure, Concord Supply was visited this year by US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, who visited San Antonio to see first-hand the city’s export-related economic development efforts.

To learn more about Concord Supply, visit < href="www.concordsupply.com" target="_blank">www.concordsupply.com.

Twin Aviation Inc.

Twin Aviation Inc., located in Jourdanton, TX, is an ASA-100 accredited independent distributor of aircraft parts and supplies. Their emphasis is on military aircraft equipment, in particular the Black Hawk helicopter, which is seeing rapid adoption in non-military applications throughout the world; they also stock and repair parts for a variety of other aircraft. Twin Aviation Inc. has developed a system that allows them to provide customers with parts much faster than many original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers. Through advanced inventory management, deep market knowledge, and experience the company can make very accurate projections about the needs of their customers and be ready for a variety of part orders globally. Beyond distributing, rebuilding, and selling parts, they also have a team of mechanics that they send into the field to make repairs at a moments notice for their customers on site.

Twin Aviation Inc. Vice President Sergio Gonzalez first met with International Trade Center Senior International Business Advisor Berenice Carmona in 2007 to strengthen their overseas capacity. Through various engagements, Twin Aviation Inc. has gotten high quality country and industry specific market research, analysis of potential buyers and sellers in target markets, guidance on expanding into new global markets, and assistance with export control compliance.

“Export compliance is tricky; there are a number of sets of rules to follow and the penalties for not getting it right can be severe,” said Gonzalez. “I came to the International Trade Center for assistance in putting together a in-house export compliance program. Working with Berenice on that and other projects has helped us to get where we are today.”

As a result of the assistance received, Twin Aviation Inc. has been able to reach out into new countries and expand its existing business. This year they have had a 200% increase in sales, and now have major contracts in Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, Turkey and very soon will be expanding into the Middle East. They have also developed their own in-house export compliance program based on the work that the International Trade Center provided.

Going forward, in addition to continued market research and export compliance assistance, the International Trade Center is investigating the possibility of an Export Import Bank loan for Twin Aviation Inc.

To learn more about Twin Aviation Inc, visit www.taiglobal.com.

IDZ Technologies Inc.

IDZ Technologies Inc., located in San Antonio, TX, is an industry leader in automatic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tool and asset related tracking and management solutions. The RFID products from IDZ perform fully automated functions in inventory management, provide real time tracking, and facilitate decision making which helps to remove human errors while increasing operational efficiency and maximizing the utilization of resources, assets and equipment. Their specific system allows users the ability to track items with GPS, RFID and other technologies, as well as control physical access to tools and inventory items and to create detailed reports with information from the RFID trackers. IDZ’s RFID products are used by the US Air Force, and in diverse industries such as logistics, oil/gas/energy, and automotive.

IDZ came to the International Trade Center in 2012 when they were facing the challenge of exporting their RFID products. Since their products are used in the aerospace industry, export compliance is a special concern. Through several advising engagements, Senior International Business Advisor Monica Alcoz helped them to understand and comply with complicated US export control regulations and identify correct Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) for their products. Additional support for the company has been made through market research, marketing and promotion advising and training.

“When it comes to export control, there is always a huge sense of responsibility, but at the same time, urgency,” said Adalberto Terán, CEO of IDZ. “Many questions arise and even more if you are innovating and creating new technologies for a very complex and controlled industry like aerospace. Monica Alcoz and the International Trade Center team were a professional, timely, and invaluable resource who worked quickly and with deep knowledge to support our decisions.”

As a result of the assistance received, IDZ has expanded into new markets and now exports to Canada, Europe and Oceania. Additionally, their products are being used in new ways, which include tracking miners, checking in/out weapons for police training facilities, as well as tracking for special equipment such as tablets and laptops.

“We anticipate continuous growth in exports of our products and the need of more support from our friends at the International Trade Center,” said Terán. Moving ahead, the Center is continuing to assist IDZ through market research and training.

To learn more about IDZ Technologies Inc., visit www.idztechnologies.com.

Pflugerville Community Development Corporation

In December of 2012, Floyd Akers, Executive Director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC), and Ron Reid, CFO of 130 Commerce Center, LLC were referred to TIBA (Texas International Business Accelerator) — a program developed by the International Trade Center to provide high-quality advising services for foreign-direct-investment clients — for assistance on the new 130 Commerce Center, a 160-acre master-planned commercial development in Pflugerville, Texas. The planned commercial development will offer a progressive mix of industrial, office, and retail space.

Strategically located near the new SH 130 toll highway, 130 Commerce Center, LLC has been conceived to exemplify the principles and best practices of mixed-use development, clean energy, and sustainability. It will provide high quality, state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to become a leader in the commercial real estate market in Texas.

An EB-5 Regional Center referred the team at 130 Commerce Center, LLC and PCDC to Sr. International Business Consultant Jaime A. Martinez of TIBA. The first set of projects completed in 2013 was to assist in qualifying the development as a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) — an area with at least 150% of the national unemployment rate — and to develop their investment business plan in order to qualify for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) EB-5 Foreign Investor Pilot Program. Both the TEA designation and the investment business plan are needed to approve the project for the EB-5 program which requires that: 1) foreign investors commit $500,000 – $1 million, or more, in a U.S. business and 2) create 10 jobs per investor; in return investors are eligible to obtain residency after 2 years, and may be able to obtain citizenship after 5 years with a full return on their investment. The EB-5 foreign investment funds will assist for the construction of the 130 Commerce Center developments and other infrastructure needs.

Jaime and his team worked closely with Floyd Akers and Ron Reid to perform a study of the development area for a TEA designation as well as the creation of an investment business plan to provide to the USCIS in support of their EB-5 application.

Once off the ground, 130 Commerce Center, LLC is expected to generate hundreds of new jobs in Pflugerville in the coming years. With TIBA’s extensive experience in the EB-5 Foreign Investor Pilot Program, they look forward to helping the City of Pflugerville, and others, generate many new jobs and further capital investment. TIBA is planning more foreign-direct-investment projects with 130 Commerce Center, LLC and PCDC in the coming few years.

To learn more about 130 Commerce Center, visit www.130commercecenter.com.

CASA 1921 LLC

Against the Odds, Creating New Spirts and Opening New Markets.

Since 1996 Mexican tequila producer Corporacion Licorera 1910 SA. has been exporting premium tequilas to the US. in 2005 they estabished Casa 1921 LLC in the US to more efficiently import and distribute their product to new markets.

Casa 1921s first product in the US was Tequila 1921, a 100% agave tequila available in blanco, reposado and Grand Reposado or “Reserva Especial” versions. The brand quickly gained recognition as a premium tequila.

Though Tequila 1921 quickly made a name for itself, there were setbacks in the late 1990s because of blue agave shortage. The company’s leadership used this challenge to invent a new product they called “1921 Tequila Cream” a great combination of Tequila and special cream. The uniqueness of 1921 Tequila Cream opened a huge potential market for the company.

“To mix tequila with cream is not an easy process,” said Juan Francisco Collado, founder. ” It took us several years to develop the concept, and many more to come out with a stable product.”

There is no question as to the success of 1921 Tequila and 1921 Tequila Cream, these products have been awarded various recognitions. Some of the awards include: in 2010 the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America – 2011 Annual Convention awarded two Gold and a Silver for Tequila 1921. In 2010 The Polished Palate, Spirits of Mexico, awarded Gold and Best of Categories. In 2009 The Polished Palate, Spirits of Mexico, awarded the Gold, Bronze and Best of Categories. In 2002 Chicago Beverage Tasting Institute highly Rated 1921 Tequila.

Recently, after 8 years of opening the road through the alcohol legal and distribution systems in United States, “Casa 1921” became the exclusive importer for other prestige Spirits brands from Europe and Latin America.

The International Trade Center has been working with Casa 1921 LLC since 2008. Sr. International Trade Consultant Berenice Carmona has provided Juan Francisco Collado, and Anahi Rivera, partner, with in-depth tequila and spirits market analysis reports. “Berenice Carmona, has opened for us new doors and her constant advice has been always a guide for important decisions.” Juan Francisco Collado.

Today Casa 1921 LLC products are sold in 32 U.S. states and it has reached international markets in other countries such as Russia, China, Canada and other European Countries. Their products can also be found in airports, cruise lines and duty-free stores.

To learn more about CASA 1921, visit www.tequila1921.com.

Cypress Creek Hardwoods

China imported $740 million in raw, un-cut timber from the United States in 2012. However, China is not the easiest market for U.S. companies seeking to supply China with U.S. timber. It is even more daunting for new exporters and even more so if the novice exporter’s main business had little to do with forestry products. Despite these odds, Austin, Texas based Cypress Creek Hardwoods successfully established a customer base in China and is receiving on-going orders from Chinese wood distributors and fabricators.

Doug Smith, Assitant Director of the International Trade Center, helped Cypress Creek Hardwook when they begin their process to export to China with market research and planning before any Chinese buyers were approached. Cypress combined trade infomation provided by Mr. Smith with Chinese industry information provided by the U.S. Hardwood Exporters Association. The business model they discovered was to buy kiln-dried hardwood from small, non-exporting timber mills and to sell directly to small Chinese furniture and cabinet manufacturers in China.

With suppliers in place, the initial visit to China proved the target market to be wrong because small Chinese companies did not have the capability and skills to directly import. Mark was quickly able to identify the right buyers and received his first order shortly after returning to Austin. Today, after four visits to China and 50,000 miles of driving to visit suppliers, Cypress Creek Hardwoods has a small set of regular Chinese customers. Longer term, Mark also sees considerable potential expanding into additional markets in Southeast Asia.

Cypress has proven adept at overcoming problems along the way, including trade financing and logistical issues. Success to date is the result of quickly recognizing potential barriers and adapting to the new circumstances. Recovery of the U.S. housing market has made it harder to find high quality timber at a price acceptable to Chinese customers. However, the company has been successful in finding medium-size suppliers interested in working with Cypress Creek long-term.

The International Trade Center has worked with Cypress from the start by providing some initial training on export finance and payment methods and logistics, introducing Cypress to U.S. Export Credit Insurance, and providing on-going market intelligence trade data.

To learn more about Cypress Creek Hardwoods, visit http://www.cypresscreekhardwoods.com.

Renfro Foods

From Garage Business to International Markets
In 1940, George and his wife, Arthurine Renfro, co-founded George Renfro Food Company in the garage of their north Fort Worth home. In their new venture, they distributed packaged spices and pepper sauces throughout Fort Worth and the surrounding areas.

Today, with sons Jack and Bill, and grandchildren Doug, Becky and James active in the day-to-day operations, Mrs. Renfro’s label and Mrs. Renfro’s products now include more than 30 salsas, sauces and relishes, which are available at supermarkets, gourmet shops, gift shops and fruit and vegetable stands in all 50 states and now as well in export markets.

In 2007, opportunities to expand into foreign markets were too good to ignore. Doug Renfro, President of the company, had the vision to further his export knowledge in order to continue the company’s fast pace growth by participating in the customized Export Training Program (MET) offered by the International Trade Center of San Antonio, sponsored by the Foreign Agricultural Services and the Southern U.S. Trade Association in partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Through this ten module training, Senior International Business Consultant, Monica Alcoz, walked Mr. Renfro through the step-by-step process of exporting, from international market entry strategies to learning on how to avoid misunderstandings by the right use of the International Commercial Terms.

“After years of exploratory work, traveling, and networking, our export business has really taken off in the past few years. Throughout this experience, it’s been very comforting to know that I had the ability to fall back on the resources and expertise of Monica and the International Trade Center,” said Doug Renfro.

Since then, Ms. Alcoz continues to provide Renfro Foods with on-going support in export issues such as potential export markets, import regulations and standards, specialty food distributors and importers worldwide; checking up on potential leads, quoting their products for international buyers, as well as on how to protect themselves against nonpaym ent. The company has been able to identify further export opportunities and take advantage of the SUSTA, Market Access Program, which reimburses companies up to 50% of international marketing expenses. With the ongoing International Trade Center export assistance Renfro Foods has been able to successfully expand exports to Canada, England, Spain and the Caribbean. The export run of success continues with their first order to China scheduled to depart from their dock in September of 2013.

To learn more about Renfro Foods, visit www.renfrofoods.com.

Connexa Energy

Bringing Remote Solar and Uniterruptible Power Supplies to Industry
Connexa Energy, located in Boerne, Texas, is a manufacturer and distributor of remote and industrial power products and accessories for original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s), integrators, distributors and resellers across the country and around the world. Connexa Energy specializes in remote solar and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) backup applications with internal design/engineering, internal assemblies, and its own line of industrial power products.

Sr. International Business Consultant Alberto Rodriguez-Baez contacted Connexa Energy as a result of his business development efforts in the Hill Country. During the initial meeting, a market research project was set up to identify potential new clients for Connexa Energy in the Middle East. The research and consulting project’s results included the wish list of potential new clients in the Middle East, recommendations for international business development and marketing, as well as suggestions regarding communication channels for the products’ promotion abroad. As a result, Connexa Energy was able to reach out into new markets in the aforementioned region.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Alberto Rodriguez-Baez on the market research and consulting project for our products in the Middle East. Alberto was not only professional, but has exemplary communication skills making our project a very productive experience. He also has the overall business experience required to understand our needs and ensure the project outcomes were highly beneficial to our firm. He went above and beyond to help us before, during, and even well after the project” said Michael Postel, Connexa Energy ‘s Owner and President.

A second consulting and research project was conducted to identify potential distributors for a second product line.

“Alberto has been a great resource to us and has proven to be a very experienced professional in international trade”, added Mr. Postel. “We are already working with him to train our new sales manager regarding international business development and how to penetrate foreign markets effectively. With the market research data Alberto and his team continue to offer, Connexa Energy is anticipating having an established sales and distribution location in Central America to serve the region more effectively by the end of 2013.”

To learn more about Connexa Energy, visit http://www.connexaenergy.com

Guillen International

Guillén International is an international consulting company based in San Antonio, Texas that specializes in providing international marketing and logistics services. For the last twenty years, the owner Lorena Guillén has been helping small businesses succeed in global markets. With a philosophy of excellence and quality, this Texas-based firm is one of a kind.

Born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Guillén is an accomplished business executive, with more than twenty years of senior leadership experience in operations and consulting. Her combination of business vision and a passion for international trade, logistics, and worldwide sourcing has been invaluable to many small businesses in the region.

In 2011 Guillén became a client of the International Trade Center in order to meet growing international trade challenges in her business. That’s when she began working with Sr. International Business Consultant Monica Alcoz, whose consultation helped her identify and check up on various leads for sourcing from Asia that she was later able to develop and build relationships with. On the advice of Alcoz, Guillén participated in San Antonio City Councilwoman Elisa Chan’s San Antonio – Wuxi China Trade Mission. While there she visited and started partnerships with several Chinese factories.

Through the company’s participation in the International Trade Center’s training and events, Guillén has been able to continue learning about new opportunities to grow her business. Commenting on her work with the International Trade Center, Guillén notes: “Utilizing the resources that the International Trade Center provides for all our international needs has been the most evident decision made. I encourage businesses to learn what the International Trade Center has to offer… a world of knowledge!”

In March of 2012, Guillén began a new endeavor: opening her first plant nursery. What started out as a hobby has quickly grown into Guillén Nursery. She is now ready to expand to a 2 acre second location and is projected to expand to a third location next year. The goal of Guillén Nursery is to expand globally. She is already planning to import seeds of some of the beautiful and exotic plants and flowers she saw during her trips through Asia. She is also working on the distribution of Solid Rain, a U.S. manufactured product that has the unique property of expanding the supply of water to plants up to six months. The future for Guillén and her ventures is bright. The International Trade Center will be ready to help.

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