Regional food and confectionery distributor TDL International has grown to such an extent over the past two years, that it has purchased a new building and is in the process of looking for a piece of land on which to build another facility.
“As TDL is growing—and we are building the equity in the company– we’re trying to change the way most of our facilities are structured to better meet our needs. With the purchase of this new building, we can build it to our standards and make it a place where we have all the things we need to be more efficient,” says company co-founder Mike Guerra.
“The building we just purchased will contain all of our offices, conference rooms, employee work stations and cold storage for our chocolate. But we are working from two facilities now. Eventually, we will build our own custom building where we can consolidate all of our operations and then we’ll just have that building in Miami and the warehouse that we have in Europe.”
TDL has added some new brands to its distribution portfolio, including travel retail favorite Goldkenn, and Ricola, which it started with for Caribbean travel retail and has now been given for U.S. duty free as well. The company is also now branching out into the U.S. duty free market.
“We are slowly getting into domestic travel retail. It would be a perfect fit for us, especially because we already service customers like DFASS, Starboard and Duty Free World, bringing in product from Europe for them and storing and servicing them near Miami. So for us to take that leap initially for the east coast travel retail business makes perfect sense.”
Guerra says that his company has begun distributing some Hershey products to the hotel inside Miami International Airport, for conferences and meetings.
“We also sell to a hotel chain in the Dominican Republic and other places, so we’re trying to create and perfect our model here with domestic hotels, to see if we can start doing it for a wide range of hotels throughout the area,” he says.
“This is a side of the business we want to learn more about. At the end of the day, the more product and the more brands that we have, the easier it makes moving our products. The biggest obstacle we have is shipping costs. The more customers we have, the bigger and the more filled my containers become, the easier it is to spread out the cost of shipping to multiple brands. The fact that we’re already bringing containers to the U.S. versus the other companies makes it a no brainer.”
Guerra – who says that 85% of the travel retail business in the U.S. is done on the east coast, envisions having one hub in New York and the other in Miami to cover the entire east coast. “That’s the model that we’re trying to build for U.S. travel retail distribution.”
TDL is also looking to expand its domestic hotel distribution business and has some meetings underway with some major chains.
“The hotel belongs to travel retail, even though it’s not duty free, so that’s the idea. When Hershey brought us the opportunity to do the airport hotel at Miami International, we thought it was a great way to start, and we are actually setting some meetings up right now with the Hard Rock Casino here in Hollywood,” he says.
The Goldkenn business has brought another domestic opportunity to TDL.
“Goldkenn has liquor-filled chocolates—filled with Grand Marnier, Rémy Martin, Jack Daniels—and has set up a deal with a chain of liquor stores in the state of Florida. But Goldkenn has no operations here in the States, so we are in negotiations with them now for us to import the product.”
“Again, we’re looking for anything that fits into our model and can bring us more business and more brands,” he says. TDL will be exhibiting in Orlando at Booth #1207.