Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated opens new call center

Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated’s new call center in northeast Charlotte will bring more jobs to the region and add to the company’s long history in Charlotte, Gov. Pat McCrory said at a kickoff for the facility on Tuesday.

“There are a lot of choices that companies can make,” McCrory said at the open house for the new Customer Care Center, located at 5020 West W.T. Harris Blvd.

“They could have moved across the border...they decided to stay at home.”

“...I saw room for expansion (here)...That means more jobs for people in North Carolina and the Charlotte region.”

A total of 300 employees are expected to work at the new center. That employee count is up from 183 who worked at the company's former call center, located at its SouthPark headquarters.

Employees began working in the new space in October. The 71,280-square-foot renovated warehouse space cost about $8 million to upgrade, according to the company. Nearly 2.2 million incoming and outgoing customer calls will be handled there annually, serving customers such as retailers who stock Coke products.

Inside the new space, desks can convert to standing work stations. A break room includes free fountain drinks, coffee and tea, all showcasing Coca-Cola Consolidated’s brands. There’s a pool table, a canteen and televisions.

Spaces are named after some of the company’s 287 products: the Fuse Tea meeting area, the Honest Tea table, the Dasani Quiet Room.

A “Coca-Cola 20oz” sign in front of a conference room means the space holds 20 people. Inside, the company’s script logo is painted on a brick wall.

There are also empty workstations – to allow for new hires.

Company leaders have said the bottler needs the additional space, due to growth. “We’re having an awesome year this year,” chairman and CEO Frank Harrison said.

In May, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and The Coca-Cola Co. signed a letter of intent giving the bottler exclusive distribution rights to new markets in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

A previous expansion added parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana to its franchise territory. Because of the growth, the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler said it added about 2,000 employees nationally, bringing the total to about 8,500.

In a statement, Harrison cited the company’s history in Charlotte, which began in 1902 when Charlotte Coca-Cola Bottling Co. opened as the state's first bottling plant.

Harrison said Charlotte was one of the first cities in the world to bottle the brand.

“This is a great, vibrant city with a long Coca-Cola history,” Harrison said. “We look forward to serving our customers and consumers from this new, state-of-the-art facility.”

Today, the company says more than 2,000 employees work in Charlotte. That employee count includes about 900 at the SouthPark headquarters. Other employees are located at a production center, water treatment center, Charlotte sales branches and the new call center.