Coca-Cola announces its closing West Point facility, donating property to city
By FROM STAFF REPORTS,2023-06-02
By Charlotte Reames
After 50 years, the West Point Coca-Cola sales center will close on June 16. The company plans to donate its land and facility to the city of West Point, according to a press release from Coca-Cola United.
Operations will be moving to a facility in Auburn for the next two years. West Point’s 75 employees will retain their jobs and transfer to the new facility, according to the press release.
The company gave no stipulations for the property’s use. West Point Mayor Steve Tramell said the city has not determined a definite plan for the property yet.
“We’ve got a lot of great ideas for it, but we don’t have anything that I would want to be specific right now,” Tramell said. “It’s too premature to be specific on what we want to do.”
Public Affairs Manager Cassandra Mickens said that city leaders have expressed interest in the facility in the past.
“We decided it would be appropriate to donate the building to the city for use as they see fit,” Mickens said.
According to a press release from the Coca-Cola facility, the facility, which has served West Point for the past 50 years, is valued at more than $1 million.
“We’re just so grateful that they’re willing to donate that property to us and we will do something phenomenal with it,” Tramell said.
In 2021, the company transferred a portion of its West Point customers to its Columbus sales center. The facility sustained a roof collapse during the March storms that hit West Point. According to Mickens, engineers determined the damage caused the structure to be unsafe for daily operations.
Since the storms, West Point-based associates have been working out of a mobile support unit. Mickens said the company immediately began searching for a suitable replacement facility in and around the West Point area.
In the press release, Ernie Merritt, Southern Pine Division Director for Coca-Cola UNITED, said the decision was made due to the damage to the facility, as well as that the company has outgrown the current facility.
“Once it was determined that our current facility was inoperable, we began an immediate and extensive search in and around the West Point area to find a suitable space,” Mickens said.
The West Point facility serves as the company’s sales center, distribution warehouse, administration and fleet department. According to Mickens, operations in West Point began in 1904. West Point’s original and second Coca-Cola facilities were both situated in downtown. The current facility has been in operation since 1972.
“They’ve always been great to help us out when we needed water for disasters or helping us with the sponsorship of our teams and things like that,” Tramell said. “They’ve just been great for that. So again, they’ll be sorely missed. But when one door closes, another door opens.”
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