Roseburg-based Coca-Cola expands through timber country
Douglas County Bottling Company has distributed beverages in the county for more than half a century. On Friday, it officially changed its name to Timber Country Coca-Cola Beverages and expanded its territory to include Coos, Curry, Josephine, Jackson and Lake counties in Oregon, as well as Siskiyou and Del Norte counties in California.
“I’m just giddy with excitement,” said Teresa Hanna, who owns the bottling company with her husband, Bruce Hanna.
Coca-Cola Refreshments, a division of the Coca-Cola Company, is also selling eight of its other U.S. bottling territories to independent bottlers like the Hannas as part of a nationwide effort to expand its distribution system.
“We had the fortune to be one of those bottlers,” said Bruce Hanna, president of Timber Country Coca-Cola. “Then we began to talk about what made sense to us and our customers in terms of the area and finally came to the agreed upon territories, and here we are.”
“Everything we were doing in our business for the last five years was trying to get ourselves set up and ready to go in case this opportunity came up,” Teresa Hanna added.
In addition to expanding the local family company’s territory and growing from 47 employees to 125, Teresa Hanna said the thing she’s most excited about is that its headquarters will still be based in Roseburg.
“It’s a real sense of pride for me because this is where it started,” Teresa Hanna said. “We’re growing the business and more jobs are available but we’re remaining where our roots are for the home office.”
Any additional hiring for administrative and clerical work, IT, data entry and sales will be from the local area for the Roseburg home office, while Timber Country Coca-Cola will employ people from the entire region of expansion. All current employees have been offered to come over with the change.
Timber Country will also operate a major distribution site out of Medford and another property in North Bend.
“It’s quite an addition for us,” Bruce Hanna said. “It’s great not only for Douglas County because of the number of employees that will be a part of our headquarters in Roseburg, but we’ll have employees scattered all over southern Oregon and northern California.”
The bottling plants previously owned by Coca-Cola Refreshments will now be owned by the local company, which Bruce Hanna said will be a big change for the employees.
“We value long-term relationships,” he said. During employee meetings, he shows a picture of his parents, who bought the Coca-Cola franchise in 1959, right after the notorious blast that damaged the plant and blew up part of Roseburg.
Some current employees have been working for the family for 35 years or more.
“The kind of commitment where you build a family of employees is very different from other styles of business,” Bruce Hanna said.
The name Timber Country Coca-Cola, Bruce Hanna said, resonates with the regional size of the new territory and is more inclusive. He added it will create job growth and lead to more local connections between the distributors, customers and consumers, and unlike in corporate-owned plants, the decision makers will be located in Roseburg.
This weekend, the company started out with ceremonial test deliveries to family-owned businesses in southern Oregon and began changing its logo on equipment. Timber Country will also upgrade to a new operating system and put new trucks on the road.
“You’ll see a lot of investment that shows we’re a growing vibrant business and we’re proud of our employees, customers and brands, and we’re making a long term commitment to job growth,” Bruce Hanna said.