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A Family Business with Hart
Making Coca-Cola a New Mexico Tradition
Founder James A. Hart, was born in Pennsylvania in 1897, and grew up in Albuquerque training to be an electrician. After serving in the Army during World War I, he purchased the Coke franchise in December 1919 for Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Taos and, later, Los Alamos counties, and started bottling Coke in Santa Fe in early 1920.
The Hart family bottled and distributed Coca-Cola in northern New Mexico between 1920 and 1979. The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Santa Fe then expanded with bottling plants in Portales New Mexico and Nacogdoches Texas as part of a cooperative of bottling partners.
“Grandfather had one mission when he started the company bottling Coke and 14 other flavors. In fact, Coke didn’t sell very well. He couldn’t even give it away,” grandson Ron Hart remembers with a chuckle. “In those days, it took an hour using a foot-pumped machine to bottle a week’s supply for distribution to stores like Kaune’s Grocery and Santa Fe Hay and Grain.”
Eighteen members of the Hart Family have helped grow the company over four generations. Today, the independently-owned family business continues the Coca-Cola tradition with five grandchildren working in key facets of the company. The Board is composed entirely of family members.
From a horse-drawn buggy to a fleet of 50 service vehicles, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Santa Fe, along with surrounding communities, has grown significantly over the decades.
As the second largest private employer in northern New Mexico, the company distributes over 250 different products in a 65,000 square foot facility located right in the heart of Santa Fe.