Atmore business honored

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Atmore was named 2011 business of the year, and Red and Judy Wilkins were honored with the Harry B. Still Sr. Distinguished Service Award. From left are, Hooper Matthews III, Dale Ash and Cindy Colbille of Pepsi-Atmore, and Red and Judy Wilkins. (Daniel Boyette/Press-Register)

Atmore may have several flagship businesses whose name automatically brings the town to mind, but many of those establishments possess a reach that extends far beyond the city limits.

Thursday night Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Atmore was named as the 2011 Business of the Year during the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce’s 66th annual meeting at the John F. Rhodes Civic Center in Bay Minette. The company is run by the three children of founder Hooper Matthews, who died in 2006.

“We’ve been blessed with Pepsi and great employees,” Hooper Matthews III, who accepted the award alongside sisters Dale Ash and Cindy Colbille, told The Mobile Press-Register. “We’re home-operated, home-owned, and we try to stay involved in the community. We’re blessed to be here; the only thing that would be better if Momma and Daddy were here.”

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Ash said the award was a shock and means a lot to the entire Pepsi family.

“We were very excited and pleased,” she said. “We had just been working hard and had really been targeting the Bay Minette area to get more involved in the community.”

Ash said it was an honor to be the first business not headquartered in the North Baldwin area to win the award.

“Our main territory includes Atmore, of course, but we really wanted to get involved as much as we could in Bay Minette,” Ash said. “We were really pleased and it was just nice to be recognized. It was quite an honor.”

Achieving such a feat is the product of the hard work of everyone at Pepsi Cola, Ash said.

“We recognized that it’s through the hard work of all of the Pepsi family,” she said. “It’s not me and Cindy and Hooper. It’s everyone in the Pepsi family that won that award through the hard work they do day in and day out.”

Bay Minette Industrial Development Board Chairman Craig Helms told The Press-Register the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company is more than deserving of this year’s award.

“This business is unique in that their home office is not in Bay Minette, it’s in Atmore,” Helms said. “But I promise you, you see their footsteps all over Bay Minette every day.”