by Joan Tupponce
Tequila may not be David Durnovich’s drink of choice, but he appreciates how it’s made.
Durnovich, the president and CEO of gasket maker Darco Southern Inc. in Independence, Va., travels to Toluca, Mexico, four times each year to visit two companies. One is a vendor that supplies Darco Southern with raw materials. The other is a major customer, Tequila Cuervo La Rojeña, S.A. de C.V., which uses Darco Southern gaskets in the production of José Cuervo Tequila.
“One of the interesting things about the Cuervo factory is that it’s located in a hacienda that was built in the 1600s,” Durnovich says. “It’s been in the owner’s family for five generations.”
Durnovich has been traveling to Toluca since 2004. The city, which is about 40 miles from Mexico City, is the capital of the state of Mexico. “The city sits at about 9,000 feet elevation,” Durnovich explains. “It has a cool climate because of its elevation. There is always snow on top of the mountains around Toluca.”
Manufacturing plays a vital role in the city’s economy. Products are made for a variety of industries, including food processing, metals and auto production.
Sports also play a significant role in the city. “Toluca has a very good soccer team and also a good baseball team,” says Durnovich.
When he visits Toluca, Durnovich enjoys wandering through its open-air markets, which sell goods ranging from handcrafted jewelry to paintings. Some of Toluca’s oldest businesses are in an area called Los Portales designated by three sets of arches.
The domed Cathedral of Toluca is one of the city’s main tourist attractions. It features a statue of Saint Joseph, the city’s patron saint, holding the baby Jesus. Near the cathedral is the Temple of La Merced, which includes architectural styles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Toluca also has several museums including the Museo de la Acuarela, which features watercolors, and the Museo de Bellas Artes, a former convent.
The City’s Economy
Toluca’s manufacturers fuel its economy, employing about one-third of local workers. In addition to being the hometown of Tequila Cuervo, the city is the site of manufacturing plants for U.S. automakers Chrysler and General Motors. Total System Services de México S.A. de C.V. is also based in Toluca.
The company processes one third of all credit- and debit-card transactions in Mexico.
Other businesses with plants or offices in Toluca include the breakfast-cereal company Kellogg and jet plane producer Honda Aircraft. Sigma S.A. de C.V. is a large pharmaceutical manufacturer in the city.
There are six major industrial parks in Toluca. The oldest, Toluca-Lerma-Tianguistenco, was built in 1965.
Where to eat
David Durnovich looks forward to sampling local Mexican food when he visits Toluca.
“It’s tremendous,” he says. “They have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are known for rabbit [dishes].”
Other popular foods include chorizo (sausage) and pork. One restaurant, Jardin del Sol, dished up traditional Mexican items such as enchiladas and quesadillas while providing live music. Another popular eatery, La Gula del Capitan, is known for its fresh seafood and frog’s legs.
Where to stay
On his visits, Durnovich opts to stay at the Holiday Inn Toluca Hotel. The full-service hotel has an indoor heated pool and gym.
Other hotels include the Crowne Plaza Toluca in the industrial corridor of the city and the Quinta del Rey, a three-diamond AAA property near the airport.
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