In 1947, six employees in a wooden World War II Army hangar in Mississippi began distributing Canada Dry products. Today, that small operation has grown into a three-generation, family-run PepsiCo Inc. franchise with 328 SKUs. Gulfport, Miss.-based Allen Beverages Inc. has weathered hurricanes and more to become one of the South’s leading distributors of Pepsi and Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) products.
“It was founded in August of 1947 by my dad, Cleve Allen Jr., an attorney who purchased the facility on 47th Street from the city of Gulfport for $1. There were six employees and an old surplus World War II Army truck,” explains Drew Allen, president and chief executive officer, who assumed leadership of the company in 1991, shortly before his father’s death.