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    Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc. has been in an expansion mode, adding 10 locations, 1,000-plus employees and more than 20,000 customers during a 238-day span last year.

    That expansion included the addition of Montgomery Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and an 850,000-square-foot facility that previously was a distribution center for Kay-Bee Toys near the Montgomery Regional Airport.

    Coca-Cola, which invested $35 million in the purchase and renovation of the Montgomery distribution facility, will deliver products to customers in Dothan, Evergreen and West Point, Georgia. The Montgomery location will also have offices, but the majority of the space will be used as a warehouse, according to Scott Smith, director of operational marketing for Birmingham-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United.

    The facility, which is one-quarter of a mile from end-to-end, will have 100,000 square feet for a “make-ready center,” which according to Don Densmore, sales center manager for the Montgomery site, is where machines, fountains and coolers are refurbished, repaired and replaced.

    Montgomery Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which is a division of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc., has 284 employees, including 37 recently created jobs. Those 284 employees represent a combined 2,000-plus years of service, Densmore said.

    “We’re your local bottler,” Densmore said at a news conference introducing the Montgomery location. “We’re hiring locally. We’re distributing locally. We’re selling locally.”

    His boss, Claude Nielsen, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc., said that “we understand that our business is local. Every single Coca-Cola is bought locally. Every single Coca-Cola is consumed locally and that means you’re a local business. That is why we are so excited to be here today at Montgomery, Alabama, to announce this development.” The renovation is expected to be completed by May.

    “Having Coca-Cola United as a new partner in our community is outstanding news for Montgomery,” Leslie Sanders, 2014 chairman of the Board of Directors for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “Not only is this a plus in terms of economic development, it is also beneficial for the entire community, as this company is well-known for its corporate citizenship. We look forward to a great relationship.”

    Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said, “We so appreciate that you and your senior management have the confidence to locate here.”

    Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. pointed out that the Coca-Cola facility is in his district. He said that East Montgomery has EastChase, “but I’ve got Coca-Cola.” He added, “We will be there for you and we’re going to make sure that you’re No. 1 not only in this territory, but worldwide.”

    Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc. has distribution/sales centers in seven Southeastern states and is the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler with 3,800 employees.

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