JASA, a Dutch-based company that specializes in weighing and packaging machines for fresh produce, is opening its U.S. branch in Richmond, Virginia.
The couple who operate JASA noted after evaluating several cities, Richmond was their ideal location. "It's a perfect place to live," company co-owner Sandra Somford-Pannekeet said. "The infrastructure is excellent and so are the schools. The people living there are well educated, so it's a good place to find employees."
Richmond was known for its tobacco industry. Nowadays, the tobacco industry has dried out in that region. However, the packing industry that spun from that is still vast, and there are a lot of packaging companies in the area, the company said on its website.
"There are also a lot of Dutch companies in the region," Sandra explained. "When we were over in the summer, we spoke to a lot of companies to gain information and tips. On top of that, Richmond is on the East coast, which makes communication with the Netherlands easier."
"It's a warm city, with lovely people. We feel very welcome which only affirms our decision to move to Richmond", Joost Sanford says.
"We already have business in America and have had that for years," Sandra explains. "We have three dealers that sell our vertical packaging machines. We will keep supporting these dealers."
"It feels like a very natural next step to go to America," Sandra said. "I think it's very special to continue the company in this way and to build something new in America. Of course, there is a lot of support, guidance, and knowledge to help us coming from the Netherlands and that gives us a lot of confidence and faith. But it's still an exciting new chapter. On top of that, it helps that we can say that we're a family business, that opens a lot of doors in America."
"The decision to go to America was made very quickly," Sandra explained. "Because we're going ourselves and the machines are shipped from the Netherlands we could keep the investment low and have complete control over the American branch."
On top of that, the size of the American market added more interest to the investment and the decision to go to America. "At the moment a lot is happening in America when it comes to automation," Sandra added. "There's a lot of innovation and modernization happening, so this was the perfect time for us to go to America. Our R&D department stays in the Netherlands for now, that means all our innovations will keep coming from Europe."