More Than 120 Years of Creating High-Quality Beverages

Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling Company started in Trenton, Missouri on December 6, 1893 by George B. Simons. Mr. Simons grew up in Fairfield, Iowa and attended the University of Illinois where he received his degree in brewery. After completing his studies he passed through Trenton on the railroad, where he met Mamie Swepson, whom he later married.

Mr. Simons purchased the Trenton Bottling Works from Mr. T.W. Scheafer. The price that George paid for Trenton Bottling Works in unknown, but Mamie had lost her first husband in a railroad accident. It was believed that some of the insurance money received from the railroad was used to help purchase the bottling company, but this was not enough money. George and Mamie had a note with Trenton National Bank for $200 at 6% interest.

The archives at The Coca-Cola Company states that George and Mamie ran the bottling operation downtown above or out of a tavern. In the early 1900’s the operation was moved to 614 Harris Avenue.

The second story told from Tad Simons’ older brother Bernard says that the family started the business in a barn next to the house. Mamie hauled water from the outside well to the production room. George would make flavors from real fruit and spices. He had several employees to help fill and case bottles for resale.

When George and Mamie purchased the company from Mr. Scheafer it was believed that they built their home next to the plant. While attending the University of Illinois, George learned about a new beverage called Coca-Cola and its owners desired to become the first nationally distributed beverage. Coca-Cola wrote George a letter dated April 1899, George would have to purchase ten shares of their stock and he had to sell 200 gallons of syrup each year for three years. At that point he would be issued an exclusive contract. In 1904, George Simons had fulfilled this requirement and was issued a contract to manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola in glass bottles.

Their two sons, Bernard and Tad grew up around soft drinks. Instead of selling lemonade, the boys sold Coca-Cola in bottles along the streets of Trenton. As the boys grew older, the oldest, Bernard had become very ill. The doctors believed he had tuberculosis and was told to move to Tucson, Arizona for the clean dry air. That made him unable to continue the Coca-Cola business, he was always upset about this choice. Years later it had turned out that he only had allergies.

Tad Simons was at the University of Missouri when decided to return home and take over the business. Tad upgraded with faster and better equipment in 1936 and finally in 1954. He kept the same location as his father, but build additions to the original building. During the 40’s and 50’s he added new products to the companies flavor line, Frostie Rootbeer, 76 Lemon-Lime, and Sunrise Fruit Flavors.

Tad A. Simons married Florence Cullers Kathen, a daughter of the town pharmacist E.G. Kathen, in 1929. They had a daughter, Anne K. Simons. She too spent time during her childhood selling Coca-Cola for the family. Many times she and her girlfriends would go about handing out coupons for free Cokes or discounts on multi-packs.

Anne S. Trombley took over the business in 1966. At this time, Coca-Cola was changing very fast. Bottlers now had to handle four sizes of bottles, 6.5, 10, 12, and 16 ounces. New flavors of Coca-Cola Company like, Sprite, Tab and Fresca replaced the old line of flavors. Cans were introduced, expensive as they were, they were easier to work with. In 1975, Anne upgraded the bottling equipment with a new bottler washer and switched trucks from hand loading to forklift beds.

On August 9, 1980, the old plant caught on fire and burned down. Only an out building and the route trucks were left. Anne was able to get routes covered by purchasing products from other distributors. She kept all employees’ busy finding and hauling products so the business could stay open. By April 1981, she had a new building and bottling line in operation. Our local competitors were selling out to larger companies, cans were over half the volume for bottlers. Bottlers had glass 64 ounce bottles switched to 2 liter bottles. Glass one-way bottles switched to 20 ounce bottles. More flavors appeared like Mr. Pibb, Diet Coke, Diet Sprite and Barqs Rootbeer. These new packages meant that the bottling equipment had to be changed again.
This was completed in 1990.

Anne Simons Mitchell passed away in 1993. Anne’s two sons, Tad and Peter Trombley became the new owners. At this time, Peter purchased Tad’s share of the family business.

Since 1993, the bottling company has gone through many changes. A new sales center was constructed in the Trenton Industrial Park located at the north end of Trenton. The expansion of the sales center has created new jobs and a new product line to service the local market. The company is currently selling 200, 8 ounce servings to every person in the nine county region in Northern Missouri. These new products include bottled water, sports drinks, herbal drinks, juices, juice drinks, energy drinks and carbonated soft drinks. These products are delivered on four route trucks and are sold by two presale persons.