Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Asa Griggs Candler - Co-Founder Coca-Cola - Biography

Asa Griggs Candler (December 30, 1851 – March 12, 1929) became an American business tycoon by making a  fortune by selling Coca-Cola.

Candler was born on December 30, 1851 in Villa Rica, Georgia.  He started career as a drugstore clerk and  became a manufacturer of patent medicines. In 1888 he bought the formula for Coca-Cola from its inventor John Pemberton and several other shareholders for $550. He aggressively made marketing investments in the drink, and the success of Coca-Cola was largely due to Candler's aggressive marketing of the product. Candler earned millions of dollars from the profits of Coca-Cola company. He went into more businesses to establish the Central Bank and Trust Corp., and real estate properties. He also became a major philanthropist for the Methodist Church. He gave an $1 million plus land gift to Methodist college, for moving it from Oxford, Georgia, to Atlanta. It became Emory University and his  younger brother, Methodist Bishop Warren Akin Candler,  became president of Emory. Candler also gave millions to  Emory Hospital. He also donated the land for Candler Park.

In 1906 he constructed Atlanta's then-tallest building, the Candler Building,  In 1912 the Candler Building in New York came up. He went into politics and  was elected mayor of Atlanta in 1916 (taking office in 1917) Candler suffered a stroke in 1926 and died on March 12, 1929.

Growth of Coca Cola

On May 1, 1889, Asa Candler published a full-page advertisement in The Atlanta Journal, proclaiming his wholesale and retail drug business as "sole proprietors of Coca-Cola ... Delicious. Refreshing. Exhilarating. Invigorating.".  Sole ownership was achieved by Mr. Candler only in  1891 at a total cost  of $2,300.

By 1892, Mr. Candler's flair for merchandising had boosted sales of Coca-Cola syrup nearly tenfold. He converted his sole proprietorship into a corporation.  With his brother, John S. Candler, John Pemberton's former partner Frank Robinson and two other associates, Mr. Candler formed a Georgia corporation named The Coca-Cola Company with initial capitalization of  $100,000.

The trademark " Coca-Cola ," used in the marketplace since 1886, was registered in the United States Patent Office on January 31, 1893. In 1893, the first dividend was paid; at $20 per share, amounting to 20 percent of the book value of a share of stock.

A firm believer in advertising, Mr. Candler expanded marketing efforts significantly  distributing thousands of coupons for a complimentary glass of Coca-Cola . He promoted the product incessantly, distributing souvenir fans, calendars, clocks, urns and countless novelties, all depicting the trademark.

The business grew, and in 1894, the first syrup manufacturing plant outside Atlanta was opened in Dallas, Texas. Others were opened in Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California, the following year.

In 1895, three years after The Coca-Cola Company's incorporation, Mr. Candler could proudly announce in that " Coca-Cola is now drunk in every state and territory in the United States."

In 1894, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Joseph A. Biedenharn who was selling Coca-Cola through  soda fountain  installed bottling machinery in the rear of his store and began to sell cases of Coca-Cola to farms and lumber camps up and down the Mississippi River. Thus he became  the first bottler of Coca-Cola .
In 1899, Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead of Chattanooga, Tennessee, secured from Mr. Candler the exclusive rights to bottle and sell Coca-Cola in practically the entire United States. With contract in hand, they joined another Chattanoogan, John T. Lupton, and began to develop  the Coca-Cola bottling system in USA

The first bottling plant under the new contract was opened in Chattanooga in 1899, the second in Atlanta the following year. To build bottling operations nationwide, Messrs. Thomas, Whitehead and Lupton  contracted with competent individuals to establish Coca-Cola bottling operations within certain defined geographic areas. Over the next 20 years, the number of plants grew from two to more than 1,000 -- 95 percent of them locally owned and operated. As the business grew, the development of high-speed bottling machinery also occurred and  efficient transportation was developed.  Today, the Coca-Cola bottling system is one of the largest, most widespread production and distribution networks in the world.

The bottlers of Coca-Cola in the early 1900s had their share of challenges. Probably the most persistent and serious was protecting the product and the package from imitation. Early advertising focused on persuading consumers to buy the original Coca-Cola.  "Demand the genuine" and "Accept no substitutes" reminded consumers to settle for nothing less than the real thing.

The never-ending battle against substitution was the major force behind the evolution of the distinctive hobble-skirt bottle. After using variety of straight-sided containers,   Coca-Cola got a distinctive package in 1916. The unique contour bottle was designed by the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana.




Candler's Papers - Emory University

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