AUGUSTA — A city official is confident the PepsiCo warehouse off Leighton Road won’t be vacant for long after it is shut down by the company, though he said the loss to the community in general will be felt.

PepsiCo announced last week it plans to close its beverage warehouses in Augusta and Portland. A company spokeswoman said Monday that about 50 employees work at each of the warehouses.

Matt Nazar, development director for the city, said warehouse space in Augusta, especially in the north Augusta business park area where the 80 Anthony Ave. building is, has typically not stayed vacant long.

He said the location and lack of warehouse space in the city are key.

“Warehouses tend to get filled back up fairly quickly here,” he said. “There is not a whole lot of warehouse space available. There is some, but not a lot. This space is in an ideal location, so that’s a real benefit that could lead to a quick turnaround for new users. It’s not out in a rural area, away from everything. It is close to the interstate and other major transportation corridors, so that should help.”

He said the city is concerned, however, about the effect on the community in general.


“Certainly the loss of any business is one the city is concerned about and is obviously a loss to the residents of the city,” he said. “If there is anything we can do to add additional jobs or bring some of those back, we’ll attempt to do that.”

Peter Thompson, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the warehouse closing shouldn’t have a drastic impact on the local economy.

“You can’t minimize the loss of 50 jobs, or even one job, but we’re in a workforce of about 45,000 jobs,” Thompson said. “So it is not going to be a huge impact on the economy, per se.”

Thompson said he hopes Augusta employees of the company who also live in the area will be able to remain if they take new jobs with the company elsewhere.

He agreed with Nazar that it does have an impact on the community in general.

“It is an unfortunate loss for the community because they’ve been a solid community player for at least as many years as I’ve been here,” said Thompson. “They’re a solid member of the chamber and help sponsor a number of activities. A very positive community resource.”


PepsiCo officials wouldn’t say whether the Augusta warehouse or a Portland warehouse that is also closing would be sold.

The 33,000-square-foot warehouse in Augusta, which distributes Pepsi products to local stores and restaurants, is on 5.6 acres in the Augusta Business Park. The land and building are assessed at $1.24 million and were bought by Texas-based Bottling Group LLC in 2004 for $840,000, according to city assessing records. The metal-walled building was built in 1982.

Gina Anderson, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo., said Monday that a majority of employees at each warehouse will be offered positions elsewhere with the company in Maine, but would not provide a specific number of employees.

Customers now served from the Augusta warehouse will be served from other nearby warehouses, according to Anderson. PepsiCo also operates a beverage warehouse in Auburn, which will remain open.

Anderson, in a statement from PepsiCo, said work “will move to other facilities within our system” and that most “employees will be offered other positions within the company in the area, and we’re committed to providing support to any remaining affected employees by offering outplacement services.”

“This difficult decision was made with careful consideration, and PepsiCo continues to be dedicated to serving our customers and consumers in the area,” the company statement said. “This change will allow us to improve efficiency, fund future investments and be more competitive.”


Anderson would only say the Augusta warehouse would close in the next several months. Portland TV station WCSH reported the warehouses will close Oct. 26, citing anonymous warehouse employees.

The company reported in a July 23 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is enacting a productivity plan for the year. The plan includes closing certain manufacturing factories and reworking its distribution system.

In a multi-year productivity plan announced in February of 2012, the company said it would be cutting about 8,700 employees, or about 3 percent of its global workforce, and consolidating manufacturing, warehouse and sales facilities to strengthen its business.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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