Gatorade Boost To Eastern Oklahoma's Economy

Thursday, July 27th 2006, 10:31 am
By: News On 6

Gatorade has refreshed many a tired athlete. Now it's giving a boost to Oklahoma's economy. The company broke ground on a giant, new plant in Pryor Thursday.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg has more on the drink’s economic "aid" to the Sooner state.

Oklahoma's hot dry weather provided an appropriate environment Thursday for the self-proclaimed thirst quencher. But when it came to locating in Pryor, Gatorade president Chuck Maniscalco says it was the Sooner state's central spot on the map that sold them. "The most important thing was geographic location, we needed to fill in the gaps so our transportation costs were optimized."

The plant will be a monster. Gatorade's biggest, 1.4-million square feet, a $180-million investment and 280 jobs.

Sanders Mitchell with Pryor's Industrial Park says Oklahoma was a late addition to the bidding, but beat out several other locations. "I think there's some places in Tennessee, Mississippi, maybe Kansas and Missouri. So we're very fortunate that they made the decision to come to Oklahoma."

Chuck Maniscalco: "The speed with which we were able to work through some of the things we had to agree to was amazing to me and it said to me that Oklahoma was as eager to have us as we were to have them."

He didn't move with much speed, but NASCAR star and Gatorade spokesman Matt Kenseth provided some refreshing humor by driving a bulldozer to the event. "It handled good, it was very stable." Steve Berg: "But slow." Matt Kenseth: "Yeah, but that's okay."

Even though it has more competition in the sports-drink arena than ever, Gatorade has had lightning-bolt like growth. Chuck Maniscalco: "there's competition but we still command the dominant number one position in our market, and we are still growing rapidly, so there's is more competition but it hasn't slowed us down a bit."

The plant manager says 500 to 700 trucks per day will be rolling into and out of the plant. This will be Gatorade's 9th plant.

And they're moving fast on construction. It will be open in just over a year.