After the closing of the Clinch Valley Bottling Company several plans to install a new bottling plant were made public yet never materialized.(1) This was until December 5, 1924 when it was announced that a new bottling plant, under the ownership of two men from Norton, VA, was being built.(1) The two men were J. R. Stuart and W. L. Harris who installed $20,000 of electrically operated bottling equipment.(1) According to the article if things went according to plan the plant would be operational by December 20th of the same year.(1) The plant opened for business on March 9, 1925 with J. R. Stuart, and J. W. Petrey, both of Norton, VA, and W. W. Minton of Big Stone Gap, VA noted as officers of the Corporation.(2) In an ad announcing the opening of the plant they claim that they have a bottling capacity of 1,000 cases daily.(2) They also mention that they are bottling Parfay, which was a national brand at the time, Premium Crown Drinks, which was a supplier of flavors for bottler flavor lines, and most interesting of all Ward(ís) Crushes, which are Orange Crush, Lemon Crush, and Lime Crush.(2)

Unfortunately tragedy struck on the 3:30 am on the morning of May 12, 1925, when a fire, caused by arson, started at the lower corner of the bottling plant, and spread up the block towards Horton's first store location.(1) This fire helped mask the robbery of another business nearby. The article gives the location of the bottling company as being on the corner of Front Street and Floyd Street, and actually fronting onto Floyd. The company suffered $20,500 worth of damage, and had let their insurance lapse in December of 1924.(1) The Bluefield Daily Telegraph published a blurb stating that the Richlands Bottling Plant would be rebuilt on exactly the same site is formerly occupied.(2) The article mentions that J. W. Petrey and W. W. Minton were at the head of the concern; however, thereís no mention of J. R. Stuart.(2) The article claims that efforts were being made to have the plant back in operation in forty days(2); however, I wonder about this as I canít find any mention of their re-opening.

This empty lot used to be the location of the Richlands Bottling Company according to the Clinch Valley News. You will notice that there are two sets of steps seeming to go nowhere. According to the Sanborn maps the largest of three small buildings on this lot was right beside those steps so this may have been the location of the bottling company itself.

The March 1925 ad announcing the opening of the Richlands Bottling Company.

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(1) Clinch Valley News

(2) The Bluefield Daily Telegraph