Cedar Rapids gets new Coca-Cola distributor
Family-owned Atlantic, Iowa, bottler expands territory
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George C. Ford
CEDAR RAPIDS — A family-owned southwest Iowa bottling company has closed on a transaction with Coca-Cola Co. to handle distribution of Coca-Cola products in Cedar Rapids and six other Iowa communities.
The company will add up to 500 new jobs in Iowa, including route drivers, merchandisers, a field service supervisor and service technicians in Cedar Rapids.
Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling, owned by the family of founders Harry and Henry Tyler, signed a letter of intent in October 2015 for expanded territory rights. The Atlantic, Iowa-based company, in Cass County, assumes territories that surround distribution centers in Cedar Rapids, Ames, Dubuque, Mason City, Ottumwa, Spirit Lake and the Quad Cities.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Cedar Rapids, 851 66th Ave. SW, which has been distributing Coca-Cola products bottled in the Quad Cities to communities in Eastern Iowa, became part of Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling with the transition.
Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling will have services in Iowa and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri. “Atlantic will be operating out of nine facilities and will employ nearly 700 employees,” said Kirk Tyler, president of Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling, in a news release.
Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling is one of three U.S. bottlers granted expanded distribution territories in seven states as part of Coca-Cola’s ongoing efforts to refranchise 100 percent of company-owned U.S. bottler-delivered volume by the end of 2017.
In each territory, Coca-Cola Co. grants exclusive rights to the bottlers for the sale and distribution of bottler-delivered Coca-Cola beverages.
Coca-Cola Co. announced in February that it was accelerating the pace and scale of its bottler refranchising efforts. The first letters of intent in the refranchising process were announced in 2013.
North America is Coca-Cola’s oldest and largest market in the world. The Coca-Cola system in the United States and Canada historically was comprised of a significant number of small, local bottlers.
Through decades of consolidation, the number of bottlers has been reduced to a smaller number of vendors.