ST. PAULS — Pepsi Bottling Ventures will invest $16.5 million in a new, consolidated distribution center in St. Pauls, creating 50 new jobs over the next five years, the company announced today.
“This expansion will continue to strengthen North Carolina’s position as one of the fastest growing economies in the nation,” Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement announcing the expansion. “The company’s choice of Robeson County for this state-of-the-art distribution center continues the strong momentum for the consumer foods and beverage industry in our state.”
Headquartered in Raleigh, Pepsi Bottling Ventures will hire warehouse, logistics, inventory management and other employees for the St. Pauls facility. According to the statement, in addition to the 50 news jobs, 250 Pepsi jobs will be maintained locally by the expansion. Compensation will vary by position, with an average annual salary of $39,500.
“Today I am proud to announce Pepsi Bottling Ventures will be joining our community in St. Pauls,” Mayor Jerry Weindel said. “Pepsi Bottling Ventures will be a valuable asset to our community now and in the future, bringing more jobs and economic growth.”
Pepsi met with county leadership in April and May to find a site that would accommodate a 300,000-square-foot distribution center. Ultimately, the 47-acre site on N.C. 20 was selected because of its access to water, sewer, electrical and natural gas services as well as Interstate 95 and workforce development programs at Robeson Community College and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, according to Robeson County’s director of economic development, Greg Cummings. According to Cummings, Pepsi will be consolidating six distribution centers into the new facility.
“St. Pauls is an ideal location for our new facility. The location is centralized for our current employees and allows for easy highway access to distribute our products,” said Claire Niver, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs. “We appreciate the support we have received from the town of St. Pauls, Robeson County and the state of North Carolina making it possible for us to expand here.”
The St. Pauls site was chosen from seven options in two states, Cummings said.
“This is great news for the citizens of our county, especially after Hurricane Matthew devastated our county several weeks ago,” said Jerry Stephens, chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners. “We are very excited and proud to have Pepsi Cola Ventures, a Fortune 100 company, be a part of our industrial base here in the county and especially locating their distribution center in the town of St. Pauls.”
Steve Yost, president of North Carolina Southeast, said the new distribution center “highlights North Carolina’s Southeast region’s strategic logistical advantages.”
“This collaborative local, regional and state effort in partnership with the company will lead to significant growth in new jobs and capital investment in the regional economy,” he said.
The project is made possible in part by a $150,000 performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund and a $400,000 grant from the state’s Economic Infrastructure Program.
Pepsi Bottling Ventures is the nation’s largest privately-held manufacturer, seller and distributor of Pepsi-Cola beverages, serving more than 8 million consumers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. With its signature drink invented at a New Bern pharmacy in 1898, the company employs more than 2,000 people in North Carolina.