New Coca-Cola Plant Opens in New Jersey

Image Gov. Chris Christie was on hand during the official opening of a new 226,000-square-foot sales and distribution center for Coca-Cola on Deans Rhode Hall Road on Tuesday. "This is an extraordinary facility; it is state of the art," Gov. Christie said. "They (Coca-Cola) could have chosen to build it anywhere, but they chose here." 

Gov. Christie said the new distribution center, built by the soda manufacturer, joins other large corporations in expanding or retaining a presence in New Jersey that have created or maintained some 50,000 jobs in the last two years and bring in more than $5.3 billion in investment dollars to the state.

"Each of these (business) decisions to stay or expand in New Jersey is in recognition of the concrete steps we have taken to improve our business climate, to end the decade-long string of tax increase upon tax increase, 115 of them," he said. Gov. Christie said the state was ranked last in the nation for its business climate when he took office in January 2010.

"Unless we admitted Puerto Rico to the union, I couldn’t do worse," Gov. Christie said. "We have done significantly better (since then)."

Steve Cahillane, CEO of Coca-Cola Refreshments, said the company worked very closely with the state during the past year to get the plant opened and thanked Gov. Christie for the state’s support in making it a reality.

After working with the state, Mr. Cahillane said it became obvious the company should remain and expand in New Jersey.  Mr. Cahillane said the new facility eventually would employ around 600 workers and help keep millions of dollars of revenue in the state.

In an effort to make the facility more efficient and environmentally friendly, the company is using a solar array consisting of more than 2,500 solar panels on the roof, which are expected to produce around 500,000 kilowatt hours per year for the facility, Mr. Cahillane said.  In all, the company hopes the new building will save more than $200,000 a year in costs.

The 125-year old company, which operates in 206 countries worldwide, now employs more than 700,000 people and logs sales of $1.7 billion each day, according to the company. "Coca-Cola believes in New Jersey," Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said. "Coca-Cola believes in South Brunswick."

Mr. Kent said the company and other businesses now see New Jersey as having "a welcome mat" out for business investment and expansion.

Mr. Kent said one of the most important things about the new facility is the number of local jobs it would create.

"Jobs for hardworking New Jersey citizens," Mr. Kent said. "Jobs for moms and dads, daughters and sons, jobs for people with family and neighborhood obligations."

Mr. Kent said the new center would improve service to the many smaller businesses that use its product and to the other vendors Coca-Cola works with.

Mr. Kent said the company understands how interdependent it is with the smaller companies and the economies in the communities where it is located.
For each single job created by the company, another 10 are created for workers in other local companies, according to Mr. Kent.  "Retailers and restaurants tell us all the time how important our beverage is to their growth," Mr. Kent said.

Mayor Frank Gambatese said the new facility is a huge asset for the community and would bring in around $3 million each year in taxes to the township. "That’s six tax points right off the bat," Mr. Gambatese said. "That is a fantastic ratable (for the township)."

Mr. Gambatese also pointed to other businesses like Bloomberg, which is planning to expand in the township and hire an additional 1,000 people.

"Things are moving for South Brunswick," Mr. Gambatese said. "We think our location is perfect; we are right by the Turnpike."  Mr. Gambatese said being selected as the 22nd best town to live in, according to CNN/Money Magazine earlier this year, has helped bring more businesses to the municipality.

"That is bringing in businesses," Mr. Gambatese said. "People are taking a look (at us)."
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07