After shipping Coca-Cola to Kingsport from Johnson City for decades it was decided to locate a branch plant in Kingsport.(2) In July 1950 they started applying for the rezoning of a piece of land on North East side of Center Street between Clinchfield and Revere Streets, just a short walk from the Post Office.(2) This area had been changed from Zone M-1 (light Industry) to B-2 (business) in response to the Post Office and City Hall being built in the area, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company was trying to get them to change a section of that, about 200 yards from the corner of Center and Revere, leaving a buffer zone between the Post Office and the new plant.(2)

They were planning on building a brand new building with doors big enough to allow all sizes of truck to be unloaded within the building.(2) The rezoning was granted and the real estate had been purchased on West Center Street, and finally the building plans were approved by the board on September 22, 1950.(2) Due to the Korean War, which had broken out in June of 1950, bringing building material shortages along with other building uncertainties, the building of a completely new plant was unfeasible.(2) J. Pat Roddy Jr., president of the Johnson City Coca-Cola Bottling company, was at the point of postponing plans for the branch plant indefinitely.(2)

That was before they learned that the building formerly occupied by Johnson & Hilliard, Inc. was available on West Sullivan Street, and could be adapted perfectly for their needs.(2) Again there was a zoning issue the building was located in a B-1 (neighborhood shopping) zone; however, due to other non-conforming businesses being in the same zone they were able to get the board to rezone the area so they could open their bottling plant there.(2) They purchased the lot in January 1951, and the remodeling began.(2)

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Kingsport, Tennessee began operations in May 1951, with former sales manager at Coca-Cola of Johnson City, William E. Lacy, as manager of the plant.(2) They were located at 663 West Sullivan Street, but the address changes by 1955 to 719 West Sullivan Street, but they are still in the same building.(1) The new plant could produce one hundred and sixty bottles a minute, employed twenty one people, and boasted a twelve truck delivery fleet.(3) They are bottling Coca-Cola, but would be bottling the Southway Beverages line by 1956.

William E. Lacy left the plant to succeed J. W. Paxton as manager of the Morristown Coca-Cola plant which was also a part of Roddy Manufacturing bottling group on January 1, 1961.(4) At the time of his leaving Lacy was president of the Kingsport Rotary Club, from which he had to resign. He had also been active in many civic and religious programs, along with being a member of the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Community Chest, and Salvation Army.(2) He packed a lot into the ten years he was in Kingsport.

It appears that J. Allman Jones becomes manager of the Kingsport Plant after Lacy leaves.(2) In 1972 the Johnson City Coca-Cola Bottling Works purchases land on Wesley Street, in Johnson City, and starts building a new plant there.(5) J. Allman Jones announced in the February 2, 1972 issue of the Kingsport Times that the Kingsport plant would close as a result of the building of this new plant in Johnson City, and the increased costs of the soft drink business which resulted in them taking this action.(2) The Wesley Street plant opens in August 1972, and I assume that was also when the Kingsport branch closed.(5) In a blurb published in the October 19, 1972 Kingsport Times in which the Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Johnson City introduces a new Coca-Cola 32oz screw top bottle to Kingsport there is no mention of the Kingsport branch plant, which seems to confirm my assumption.

The location for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company at 663 West Sullivan Street as it looked in 1957.

The location for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company as it stands today

6 oz "Pat D" Coca Cola bottle dated 1951

The first ad I have found that specifically mentions the Kingsport plant from September 26, 1952.

6 1/2oz "Tradmark registered in patent office" Coca Cola bottle dated 1963

Southway Orange bottle cap

10oz Southway Beverages bottle from The Coca Cola bottling works Johnson City - Kingsport dated 1956

Southway Imitation Grape bottle cap

A later 10oz Southway Beverages bottle from The Coca Cola bottling works Johnson City - Kingsport

An ad for Sprite from November 26, 1963

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(1) Baldwin's Kingsport, Tenn City Directory

(2) Kingsport Times-News

(3) "Kingsport Tennessee 1951" by the Rotary Club of Kingsport Tenn.

(4) "75 years of Refreshment" By Pat Roddy, Jr. Copyright 1983

(5) Washington County Court Records