The Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company service area now covers most of Iowa and extends into a few neighboring states. Atlantic route trucks often run 10-plus years before trade-in, so long term durability is critical.
Atlantic's has been in the Tyler family for more than 100 years. Beginning as an ice cream company in 1905, the company soon expanded into soft drinks named “Tyler’s Flavors.” That changed in 1929 when Atlantic acquired franchise rights to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola. The company has been growing ever since.
Growth over the past three years has been unusually rapid as the company expanded from two locations to nine, and from 200 to 700 employees. Overseeing Atlantic’s growth is its owner and chairman, Jim Tyler. His son, Kirk Tyler, is CEO and company president. Rob Feeney runs day-to-day operations, along with Ned Brown, senior vice president of operations. Brian Harris is fleet maintenance manager.
“The durability factor was evident to us from the beginning,” said Brian Harris, fleet maintenance manager. “With our very first T370, as we were putting the box on it, right away we noticed the frame is built much sturdier than other brands of trucks we’ve owned. Right there, we determined to get more Kenworths. It’s a heavier built truck.”
Since purchasing its first T370, Atlantic has ordered several new T370s every year over the past five or six years, including 12 new T370s in 2016.
Atlantic’s T370 straight trucks haul up to 1,000 cases of Coca-Cola products, or 12 pallets. Some T370 tractors haul 35-foot trailers that carry 20 pallets. Drivers make 12 to 20 stops, jumping in and out of the cab all day long.
“Our drivers tell us the Kenworth cab is comfortable and better built than other trucks,” said Harris. “The T370 is quieter going down the road, the doors shut tight and the interior is nicer all around.”
The company works with MHC Kenworth – Des Moines for sales and service. With rapid growth, said Brown, “it’s nice to have our Kenworth dealer to rely on. MHC Kenworth has been instrumental in helping us spec the delivery truck we need. For example, we’ve done some things on the truck to improve efficiency. Some of our locations in the new territory require our route trucks to travel farther distances. We wanted a bigger fuel tank, and we wanted to move it to the driver side. The dealer helped us reconfigure all that. The T370s help sell our product."