Coca-Cola closing down distribution center
By Lee Barnes
The Coca-Cola distribution center in downtown Salisbury will close its doors for good in March.
The plant employs about 40 people. The company has already briefed the workers on what’s to come and has offered most of them jobs at either the Greensboro or Charlotte Coca-Cola facilities.
“Virtually every employee has been offered an opportunity to stay with the company,” said Charlotte Coca-Cola spokesman Lauren Steele. The company is also offering some severance packages.
“We hope to do this with with minimal impact on the local economy,” Steele said.
Steele emphasized that the employees have been told of the closing months ahead to give them time to decide what to do next.
Distribution for this region will be split between the Charlotte and Greensboro facilities.
The building was constructed in 1938 as a bottling plant. The company expanded it to its current size in 1964. It ceased bottling in 1974 and became a distribution center.
In its heyday as a producer of tasty beverages, the company also bottled Sun-Rise orange and grape sodas, Fanta grapefruit soda, and Tab, one of the first sugar-free colas.
The problem with the Salisbury building, Steele said, is an old one: It was originally designed to be a bottling plant, not a distribution center. As a distribution center, he said, it’s out of date.
“Like everyone, we’re trying to be more efficient in our operations,” he said.
The closing is the second bit of bad news for Salisbury in recent days. Last Friday, W.A. Brown & Son closed its doors, putting nearly 100 people out of work. The company, started in 1910, specialized in commercial coolers and freezers. W.A. Brown announced that the closing was “expected to be permanent” and said it had been unable to obtain financing to continue operations.