Coca-Cola facility returning to Naugatuck

WATERBURY — A distribution facility moving millions of cases of Coca-Cola products yearly is leaving Waterbury for neighboring Naugatuck.

Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast Inc. is moving the operation and its roughly 125 employees from a warehouse at 479 Chase River Road in Waterbury to a warehouse in the Naugatuck Industrial Park.

The company — a franchise bottler and distributor of coke products — expects to keep on all current employees, according to spokesman Nick Martin.

History is playing in reverse for the distribution facility, which moved to Waterbury in early 2015 from the exact building to which it is returning in Naugatuck.

Martin said Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast acquired the Waterbury operation and others from Coca-Cola Refreshments USA — the primary Coke company — in 2017. Martin said he couldn’t speak to the rationale for the original move, but the Naugatuck facility is better designed for his company’s growing operation.

“The Waterbury facility wasn’t really ideally set up for the growth that our company has experienced in the last couple of years and so we feel like we’ve outgrown the Waterbury facility and the Naugatuck facility is actually a better fit for current operations,” Martin said.

Martin said the Naugatuck building may be a little larger, but he’s been informed the docking setup is “better and more efficient for the way we load trucks than it is in Waterbury.”

Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough is “thrilled” to have Coca-Cola back, along with the associated jobs and tax proceeds.

“We’re very happy to have them,” Hess said. “We love dealing with all new businesses, but it’s especially exciting when you have an international company in your town.”