A look inside the Ozarks Coke/DP Bottling Expansion

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SPRINGFIELD — A bottle of Coca Cola only costs a couple of bucks but there is about to be a whole lot more money put into making it.

There is a lot of hard work that goes into getting Coke and Dr. Pepper on the shelves, and here locally, it all starts at the Ozarks Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper bottling company.

President and C.O.O. Bruce Long explains that their soon to be 40 million dollar expansion came out of necessity. Over the past five years, they’ve re-franchised and taken over locations in West Plains, Joplin, and Northwest Arkansas.

“With the new territory we were selling so much that we could not keep up with that, and we had to source those things outside of our area,” Long said. “So, this will allow us to produce enough for our territory and the ability to produce more packages. Coke measures everything in cases. We were about a 6 million case company, and that quickly took us to about a 16 million case company.”

The expansion will put 18 million dollars into their new state of the art production system that will allow them to nearly triple their output. The other 22 million will go towards their new warehouse.

Economic Development project manager, Danny Perches, with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, says once re-zoning was done, and incentives were applied, the plant will now be able to add a few more jobs as well. The Chamber started working with Coke in 2018 on the expansion.

“80% of our new jobs come from existing business, so Coca Cola is a prime example of a company that has been here almost 100 years, and continues to invest in the region and Springfield specifically,” Perches said.

The project should take about a year to complete.

“The same family has owned us for 100 years and we’re going to be celebrating that, so we’re going to try and celebrate in the new building next October or November,” Long said. “Basically a year from now, we should be in it, and up and running.”

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