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Coke to move Texas-based Minute Maid to Atlanta

By Brad Schrade, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #foodie-all #business-all

Coca-Cola is moving its Texas-based Minute Maid operation to Atlanta, the company confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday.

The decision will end a nearly 57-year relationship Coke’s flagship juice brand has had with the Houston area. The Sugar Land-based offices house 120 employees who have been working remotely for the past year during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of them may stay in the Houston area, a company spokeswoman said.

The Minute Maid employees who move to Atlanta will be integrated into the company’s main headquarters complex near Georgia Tech.

“The Coca-Cola Company is on a journey to transform how we operate so we can emerge stronger from the pandemic and accelerate our growth,” said Kate Hartman, a company spokeswoman. “Part of this process involved a full evaluation of our real estate footprint in the U.S. and Canada and through that we made the difficult decision to close our office in Sugar Land, Texas.”

The news of the move was first reported Saturday by CoStar.com, which covers commercial real estate.

The Minute Maid move comes after a brutal year as restaurants and public venues shuttered by the coronavirus have cut into Coke’s revenues. The company suffered its worst annual decline in volume of drinks sold since the 1940s and announced a global reorganization plan that cut about 2,200 employee positions last year. About 500 jobs were lost in metro Atlanta.

The company in its statement Saturday made clear that the decision to close the Minute Maid offices in Sugar Land will not lead to additional job losses.

“The closing of these offices does not mean that employees’ jobs have been impacted,” said Hartman. “Due to the pandemic, as a company, we’ve embraced remote working as a part of our employee experience. We plan to continue to offer flexible work opportunities where possible as we make progress toward building a more networked organization.”

Coca-Cola acquired Minute Maid in 1960 as its first brand outside of its core soft drink business. It moved from Florida to Houston in 1964. The company purchased naming rights to the the Houston Astros ballpark in 2002 and moved to its new headquarters in suburban Sugar Land in 2009. That move included direct cash incentives to be paid over a 10-year period.

The company’s decision for Minute Maid to leave Texas comes as Coke is trying to streamline its corporate structure.

“We are shifting farther away from complicated organizational structures to a more networked model which will enable us to move with greater agility, efficiency and speed,” said Hartman. “Our commitment to the consumer remains our guiding principle and we are in the process of building a revised structure that better adapts to their evolving behaviors.”