Refresco US, Inc. has announced plans to add 75 new jobs and invest nearly $12 million at its operation in Fort Gibson, Okla. The company says investments in facility and equipment upgrades will increase production capacity, modernize operations and increase efficiency. Refresco is the largest private employer in Fort Gibson and the third largest manufacturer in Muskogee County.
“These investments will provide a better working environment for our employees and ensure this facility remains competitive within our industry”, said Jay Chahine, General Manager for the Refresco Fort Gibson facility. “We have a great team and Fort Gibson provides a great location for us to continue to grow and serve our customers”.
Refresco acquired the assets of Fort Gibson-based, Whitlock Packaging Corporation in September 2016. In 2018, the company completed the acquisition of Cott’s bottling activities, the single biggest acquisition in the company’s history transforming Refresco into the world’s largest independent bottler for retailers and A-brands with leadership positions across Europe and North America. The company now operates 28 locations in North America and 31 locations in Europe: 23 in the US, 4 in Canada, 1 in Mexico, 6 in the UK and 25 in continental Europe.
“We are pleased Refresco is choosing to deepen their roots in Fort Gibson”, said Fort Gibson Town Administrator Brian DeShazo. The company has supported generations of area families and we look forward to working closely with Refresco’s leadership to ensure they have access to the public infrastructure needed to serve them now and into the future.”
“We appreciate the support that the Fort Gibson community provides us”, said Chahine. “We also appreciate the partnership we have with the Port of Muskogee and the City of Muskogee.”
On Tuesday, the Muskogee City-County Port Authority Board of Directors approved the company for up to $340,351 in local incentives through its Strategic Investment Program (SIP).
“The SIP incentive is intended to demonstrate a partnership with new and existing industries,” said Marie Synar, Director of Industrial Development for the Port of Muskogee. “Through this program, the ideal of partnership is more than lip service. We are delighted to partner with Refresco. Their decision to grow here is a testament to our region’s skilled workforce and our business-friendly environment.”
The SIP was created in 2014 and allows the Muskogee Port Authority to consider incentive awards to companies with qualifying job creation and/or qualifying investment in new or expanded facilities.
“The purpose of the SIP program is to support and promote economic development in the City of Muskogee and surrounding areas, and to improve the quality of life for the residents of Muskogee,” said Synar.
Ken Doke, Muskogee County District 1 Commissioner, applauded Refresco’s decision to expand. “Companies all over the world take note when they see companies such as Refresco finding success and growing here. We are open for business”, said Doke.