ONA — PepsiCo Beverages North America’s new warehouse and distribution facility in Ona is proof of the company’s growth in Cabell County, company officials said following a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
“We really outgrew the small facility we had near downtown Huntington,” said Chuck Dunn, the senior marketing director at PepsiCo in West Virginia. “However, it’s a challenge sometimes to find a flat piece of land to expand and grow, but we found a great 12-acre property here in Ona, which allows us to serve our customers and remain in Cabell County.”
The new $16.5 million, 100,000-square-foot facility will distribute millions of cases of beverages — including Pepsi, Gatorade Zero, bubly, Aquafina and Pure Leaf — per year to customers throughout West Virginia and Kentucky, Dunn said.
“We currently have 75 people working at this facility, but we will see future growth and anticipate hiring additional workers,” Dunn said.
The facility has new automated loading and docking technology that makes it more safe and environmentally friendly, according to Dunn.
“This is state-of-the-art technology that we didn’t have anywhere in West Virginia before,” he said.
Gov. Jim Justice, along with several local, county and state officials, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“We thank the great people at PepsiCo for what they are doing in our great state,” Justice said.
He mentioned PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division, which is building a $16 million, 70,000-square-foot distribution center visible from Interstate 64 at Scott Depot.
“West Virginia is on a roll; that’s all there is to it,” Justice said.
The new Frito-Lay facility at Scott Depot, which is scheduled to open this fall and be fully operational before the end of the year, will replace the current Frito-Lay facility in Poca and feature more than four times the square footage.
Officials said that facility will nearly double distribution capacity to serve customers in several states and will allow for 10 years of potential growth. It will also create 20 new jobs in West Virginia, while retaining 80 existing positions.
Tuesday’s event was also attended by several officials from Marshall University’s Department of Athletics. PepsiCo supplies Gatorade for student athletes.
“They do a lot of things for us in other sports and on campus, so any time [you] have those types of relationships, you want to do everything you can to support it,” Marshall Athletic Director Christian Spears said. “It’s great to be here to show that support. We also gave them a football jersey to hang up on the wall.
“We saw a sign in the facility that said, ‘We Are Elite,’ playing off ‘We Are Marshall’ and that just showed the respect they have for Marshall University and relationship with have with them.”