AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
IRVING - Jim Turner slept like a baby after he bought Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Texas 13 years ago. A collicky baby, that is.
"I'd wake up crying every two hours remembering the debt we took on," he deadpans. "It was a little scary."
Of course, that was back in the spring of 1985 - one of the most tumultuous times in the beverage industry.
Coca-Cola Co. had just stunned the globe by scrapping its 99-year-old classic formula for a new, sweeter taste. New York entrepreneur C.J. Rapp was grabbing headlines with a sensational "twice the sugar, twice the caffeine" cola, Jolt.
And in Texas, a tiny item buried at the bottom of the business section of The Dallas Morning News announced that a little-known division president had snapped up a significant chunk of Dr Pepper's bottling operations.
Turner emptied his bank accounts, leveraged his resources and secured a hefty loan from investors like the former Hicks and Haas firm in Dallas to acquire the Dr Pepper plants in Waco, Houston and the Metroplex. He paid then-owners Forstman-Little $100 million for the three facilities, one of which was not profitable.
Fast-forward to 1998, when the New Coke experiment is an embarrassing blip in the annals of Coca-Cola history and Jolt Cola has fizzled from major markets.
Turner, however, has never slept better.
The entrepreneurial executive turned his Texas plants into the largest independent bottling company in the nation - and the largest franchise bottler of Dr Pepper worldwide.
Revenue at Turner's Irving-based operation reached $700 million in 1997, a $200 million increase over …