Coke bottler closing Valdosta facility

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VALDOSTA — A major soft drink bottling firm plans to close its Valdosta location and consolidate operations into a huge new Tift County facility, but no jobs will be lost, a company official said Tuesday.

Coca-Cola UNITED, a Birmingham, Ala.,-based bottling company, will close its Valdosta building May 10, said Andy Britton, the company’s director of public affairs and communications.

Coca-Cola UNITED rents a 4,000-square-foot Valdosta building, while the new Tifton plant will be 300,000 square feet, he said.

The company’s 45 Valdosta employees will be offered jobs at the new facility, with most, including the sales staff, still working in Valdosta, Britton said.

Right now, Coca-Cola is trucked from Tallahassee, Fla., to Valdosta for area distribution; after the changeover, distribution will be handled from Tifton, he said.

With the new Tift County plant, Coca-Cola UNITED will have a footprint from Savannah to Lake Charles, La., and from Tallahassee to Chattanooga, Tenn., Britton said.

Though he didn’t know how many people the Tifton facility will eventually employ, he said the new plant is actively hiring.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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