Pepsi marks 50 years in Atmore; Nall has milestone

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Atmore celebrated not only its 50th anniversary here on Aug. 18, but also the face of the company, Webb Nall.

Nall has been working at Pepsi since his 20s. He began as a truck driver — the third truck driver — and while on the route, everyone started referring to him as the “Pepsi Man.”

“I tell you what, 50 years ago if you told me I would be standing here, I would’ve told you no way,” Nall said. “It means a lot to me. Our franchise covers three and a half counties. I’ve made a lot of friends here through the company and through politics.”

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The Matthews family bought the Atmore bottling company this week in 1967.

Dale Ash, Pepsi of Atmore’s vice president and sister of Hooper Matthews III, said both Nall and the company have been staples in the community.

“He’s the face of the company,” Ash said. “They call him the Pepsi man. Webb was the third truck driver.”

Ash said what has contributed to the longevity of the company is the commitment of the employees, and providing a great working atmosphere.

“Hooper, Cindy and I believe in working right beside our Pepsi family with the belief that there is nothing we would ask our coworkers to do, that we wouldn’t be willing to do ourselves,” she said. “With lots of prayer, we have shared their joys and sorrows, and while they have been with us through ours.”

Twenty-seven employees at Pepsi have worked at the company for more than 10 years each. Those 27 have a combined total of 579 years experience, Ash said.

Nall has worked at Pepsi the longest of the current employees.

Alvin “PeeWee” Bowens has worked at Pepsi in Atmore for 33 years.

Bowens said he remembers when he first started at 18 years old.

“Webb’s my friend,” he said. “When I started here, I was under his wing.”

Bowens began his career on the bottling line.

“He bottled them and I caught them,” Bowens said about Nall.

Bowens, like so many employees, said that working at Pepsi is like working with your family.

“I’ve learned so much,” he said. “I’ve learned that if you work hard, that they appreciate it. I learned to be honest as well. If you need a helping hand, they’re there to lend it.”

Ronnie Johnson, who has worked at Pepsi for 42 years and is the general manager, said Nall is someone that can be counted on for help.

“He’s always around to help,” Johnson said.

Ash said her parents instilled in them the Golden Rule, which says, “do to others what you want them to do to you,” and has tried to translate that to the employees.

“I think the longevity of our people who work here is a testimony to our parents who encouraged us to live by the golden rule,” she said.

More than 300 people turned out for the anniversary celebration at Pepsi.