OVERDUE REMODEL: Sally Hargis and Ozarks Coca-Cola are overhauling the corporate offices.
Hometown headquarters making expansion moves
Headquarters expansions in the Queen City are underway as major companies distinctly Springfield continue to grow. Think Prime Inc., O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: ORLY) and Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co. Combined, they’ve done business in town for over 200 years.
Prime, the $1.3 billion trucking company, is adding a driver-training center, and on the heels of crossing $1 billion in profits, O’Reilly Automotive car parts retailer is nearly doubling its corporate offices.
The oldest of the companies, the 1920-founded beverage distributor, has outgrown its aging space and begun renovations on its headquarters at 1777 N. Packer Road.
Sally Hargis, vice president of Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co., said the company is overhauling the offices on the entire second floor.
Previously, manufacturing and distribution was handled from the Packer Road location, but a couple of weeks ago all office employees and distribution operations moved to the Partnership Industrial Center, 2960 N. Martin Ave. Manufacturing is still taking place on Packer Road, Hargis said. Upon completion, employees will move into the renovated space, but Hargis said it’s undetermined if distribution will follow.
After purchasing the Joplin and West Plains branches of Coca-Cola in 2015, the Springfield company added 200 workers to now employ 520.
“As we began absorbing that growth, we took a look around and realized we hadn’t done remodeling since 1976,” she said.
With the age of the building, Hargis said the updates and reconfigurations by general contractor Morelock-Ross Builders Inc. are overdue. She declined to disclose the cost of the project, which is scheduled for completion by the second quarter. A city building permit listed the construction cost at $900,000.
The renovated space, including the addition of an elevator, will be occupied by the information technology, human resources and finance departments.
On the manufacturing side, Hargis said the first-floor operations would stay relatively the same. But recent product line additions and another territory expansion planned could prompt upgrades.
New products are Dunkin Donuts’ iced coffees, Gold Peak chai teas, Monster energy drink flavors, Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero. Packaging configurations are increasing too, from eight-pack bottled drinks to also produce six and 10-packs.
By the end of the year, Hargis expected the company would close on its purchase of the Coca-Cola territory in northwest Arkansas – a letter of intent already has been signed.
At the southwest corner of Interstate 44 and U.S. Highway 65, Prime also is in on the expansion game.
The company is adding a $12.1 million plaza and driver training center to serve as a central hub for truck traffic in and out of its 100-acre campus at 2740 N. Mayfair Ave.
Killian Construction Co. is the general contractor on the project slated for completion in August. Prime officials could not be reached for comment by deadline.
Then there’s the O’Reilly Automotive headquarters expansion taking place at 455 S. Patterson Ave. Upon completion, set for December, over 100,000 square feet will be added to the existing 117,000-square-foot building, which houses over 600 employees.
“In order for us to continue to support our stores, we need more headquarters staff, especially in teams like information systems,” said Mark Merz, O’Reilly’s vice president of investor relations, financial reporting and planning.
Merz said O’Reilly is hiring for over 50 corporate career positions in information technology, human resources, marketing, accounts receivable/payable, credit, accounting, finance and risk management.
Merz said the objective is to get team members together on one campus, near the northeast corner of South Barnes Avenue and East Cherry Street.
Currently, O’Reilly has over 1,300 corporate employees spread across Springfield offices, including The Frisco Building, 3253 E. Chestnut Expressway.
Larry Snyder and Co. is the general contractor for the project; Merz declined to disclose the cost.