Matthews Heritage Museum explores Pepsi’s connection to North Carolina | Sudclthebdomadary

MATTHEWS — The Matthews Heritage Museum will launch an exhibit this month that showcases Pepsi’s roots in North Carolina.

The exhibit not only shares the history of Pepsi-Cola in Charlotte, but also features Pepsi memorabilia from the company. Discover the “Pepsi: Born in the Carolinas” exhibition from July 9 to November 19 at the museum, located at 232 N. Trade St. Visit www.matthewsheritagemuseum.org for hours and admission..

New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham invented Brad’s Drink in the late 1880s, later known as Pepsi-Cola. His goal was to create a delicious and healthy drink, aiding digestion and increasing energy.

In 1905, as the drink’s popularity grew, Charlotte was one of the new company’s first two franchises. Thus began Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlotte Inc.

Henry Barksdale Fowler, who was to become known to his employees as “Mr. Pepsi-Cola”, bought the first Pepsi franchise from drink inventor Caleb Bradham and began doing business in a barn nearby from the city forge on East Trade Street, near the train tracks.

Over time, the Charlotte franchise grew and due to Fowler’s forward-thinking management style, the parent company often introduced new items to the Charlotte market. The Pepsi Swirl bottle, which was Fowler’s brainchild, was market tested in Charlotte.

In the early 1950s, more than 60 delivery trucks rolled out of the South Boulevard plant every day.

Fowler led the company for more than 65 years. Fowler was the only franchisee to continuously bottle and distribute Pepsi while hundreds of others left the national soft drink company.

The company was then led by Dale Halton, Henry’s granddaughter who became president in 1981. Under her leadership, she grew the company exponentially.

Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlotte employs 350 workers and has an annual sales volume of 15 million cases or $74 million. Halton’s success was recognized in 1988 when she was named “Charlotte Business Woman of the Year”.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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