For OC, Coke Is It

OCEAN CITY – Coca-Cola fans will be pleased to hear that the company outbid Pepsi and will be taking over the title of Ocean City’s official soft drink.

During Tuesday afternoon’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Council President Jim Hall announced that Coca-Cola has won the bid for Ocean City’s five-year beverage franchise.

“Coca-Cola will be taking over the town of Ocean City,” he said.
Pepsi Bottling Ventures has held the town’s beverage franchise for the last 10 years.

Coca-Cola’s contract will take effect April 2 leaving April 1 the last day for Pepsi to remove all vending machines and equipment from town-owned properties.

“There will be a big switch out on April 1 and Pepsi is free to start taking machines out a day earlier if they want,” Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster said since April 1 lands on a Sunday.

Shuster said that this time of year outdoor vending machines have already been removed for the off-season so all that is left to be picked up is indoor vending machines at City Hall, Northside Park, Roland E. Powell Convention Center and other city-owned properties.

Soda fountain systems, such as the golf course and Northside Park’s concession stands, will also have to be transitioned.

“It is a less hectic time of the year in terms of the number of people in town … because things are not too hectic, it makes for an easier transition,” Shuster said.

As far as advertising goes, Shuster said the production of items such as special event banners and posters will be held off until Coca-Cola is settled in or until April 2.

“There will be a little bit of a hand off here and a few moving parts to keep track of, but obviously we are staying committed to our Pepsi franchise until the end of the term and then looking forward to a smooth transition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola,” Shuster said. “Both companies have a strong presence in the area and obviously they both have a strong reputation for serving customers in Delmarva.”

The Coca-Cola contract has an estimated annual value of $286,172. The franchise contract, among other things, designates Coca-Cola as the “official soft drink of Ocean City,” and provides that its products will be served in all town-owned properties and at all town-operated events.

Benefits provided to the town by Coca-Cola include a direct annual cash payment of $65,000, commission on product sales, media advertising, free product for town events and marketing and promotional support.  Coca-Cola also will contribute $5,000 annually to the Ocean City Recreation Boosters, a non-profit community organization that supports the town’s recreation programs.