Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina, announced Wednesday a $33 million, 200,000-SF expansion of its West Memphis production facility.
"We're excited to continue our journey of growth in the Memphis region," spokesman Brian Nick said in a news release. “Our investment in expanding our production operations is a long-term commitment to improving how we serve the world's best brands and flavors to our local customers and consumers."
Construction is set to begin in August, and the company expects to complete the project in the fourth quarter of 2020, Nick told Arkansas Business.
Coca-Cola Consolidated acquired the West Memphis facility from The Coca-Cola Co. in 2017 for nearly $3.4 million, and it already employs 75 people. Arkansas would gain about 60 jobs as a result of the expansion.
Those jobs will be transferred from the company's Memphis production facility, which employs 79 people. All but about 20 current employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer or apply for other positions with Coca-Cola Consolidated. Transition pay for employees leaving the company will be available where applicable.
Equipment the company invested in to address production needs in Memphis will be transferred to Coca-Cola Consolidated's Nashville facility. But its distribution and logistics facilities will remain in Memphis. Those facilities employ about 450 people, and 14 positions were open there as of Wednesday afternoon.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission also announced the expansion late Wednesday, in a separate news release.
“When an iconic American company like Coca-Cola continues to invest in Arkansas, we know we’re doing things right,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the release. “Jobs for skilled workers that pay higher wages are important to the Delta, and we applaud Coca-Cola for making the right choice for workforce, community and location.”
AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston said, "This expansion is welcome news for our partners in West Memphis and Crittenden County, the crossroads for the U.S. transportation industry. We look forward to working with Coca-Cola to finalize the details for more jobs and millions of dollars of investment.”
West Memphis Economic Development Director Phillip Sorrell added, “We are pleased to have a recognized company like Coca-Cola make this investment in our city. It is quite meaningful when an existing business chooses to expand in your community, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”