The owner of the Coca-Cola distribution center in Craig confirmed this week that he plans to move the business to a new commercial park being developed in Hayden.
Trevor Messinger, president of Coca-Cola Bottling Company High Country in Rapid City, S.D., said he has contracted to purchase two lots in the Valley View Business Park being developed on the east side of Hayden. The sale is not scheduled to close for perhaps 60 days, Messinger said. His company acquired the Craig facility in 2004.
"I think Hayden has a lot to offer us," Messinger said. "(The new facility) will also allow us to better serve the entire valley."
Messinger said that during recent visits to Northwest Colorado, he and his staff decided it would not be difficult for the distribution center's 16 or 17 employees in Craig to commute to Hayden.
Tim Gibbs, director of the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, said that if he had known Coca-Cola Bottling Co. planned to leave Craig, he would have tried to intervene.
"I would always like to know something like that to see if there's anything we can do," Gibbs said. "It's definitely not a bright day when something like that happens."
Messinger said Coca-Cola Bottling Company High Country has been in his family for three generations; his grandfather established the business in 1927. It has grown west from South Dakota to add mostly rural sales territory through Central Wyoming, Northern Colorado and Northeastern Utah, Messinger said. The Wyoming acquisitions were made in 2002.
Coca-Cola Bottling High Country has maintained a philosophy of employing local management in its various markets, Messinger said.
The facility in Craig delivers Coca-Cola products to stores and restaurants as far east as Grand Lake and Winter Park in Grand County, Messinger said. The need to make deliveries on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass contributed to the company's sense of urgency in seeking a new, more centrally located site, he added. He's also hopeful it will open up a larger labor market for the company.
Steamboat Springs represents one of his company's fastest growing markets, Messinger said.
Valley View Business Park is being developed by Paul Franklin and Jon Peddie of Steamboat. The site is at the southwest corner of Routt County Road 37 and Crandall Avenue south of U.S. Highway 40. It offers 52 lots ranging in size from 0.3 to 2 acres. Several other lots are under contract, the development team said.