The Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company in southwest Iowa has purchased the Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Trenton, Missouri.

Atlantic Bottling CEO Rob Feeney said in an interview with Radio Iowa that the expansion into northwest Missouri is a “good addition” and they now distribute up to the Missouri-Iowa border.

“It fits in really well with our existing Coca Cola distribution area,” he said. Terms of the purchase were not released.

Feeney said they plan to bring Trenton’s 24 employees in Missouri into the company. “We’re kind of operating the business together here and figuring out how we optimize it right. We have not made any layoffs, and if we do, we will certainly make sure that we provide the right package for any impacted employees.”

Atlantic has expanded across Iowa and into parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois in the last several years. It has around 874 employees with the addition of the Trenton workers.

“We have job openings in a variety of different locations and opportunities in our bigger company. And that was another piece of our logic and in bringing over all 24 employees and sorting through things together as one big company,” Feeney said.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling made a big investment in a semi-automatic system to build their shipping loads at its warehouse in Des Moines.

“It replaces some more manual movements, people movements, in the warehouse with more ergonomic movements, so there’s a lot of benefits,” Feeney said. “We also get to upskill our labor and teach them the technology that’s behind the system which has been a huge gain for us.”

Feeney said they now produce seven million cases of products annually, and have plans for continued reinvestment and scaling up production. There are now around 61 Coca-Cola distributors across the country.

“There’s a variety of different sizes and scales and capabilities. And so, you know, this is has been a little bit of a trend and consolidation,” Feeney said. “I don’t think it’s unique, I know it’s not unique just to Coca-Cola but just more broadly speaking, there’s been consolidation in some of these distributorships occur(ing) across the country.”

The Trenton business was founded in 1893 and began production of Coca-Cola in April 1899, making it the first Coca-Cola bottler west of the Mississippi River.

The Atlantic company was founded by Frank P. “Perk” Tyler in 1905 initially as an ice cream and ice business, but grew to include a proprietary soda, “Tyler’s Flavors.” After selling the business to his three sons in 1909, they expanded the business by buying a creamery and began producing Coca-Cola in 1915.

Dar Danielson with Radio Iowa contributed this report.

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