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Pepsi Bottling to close Durham warehouse

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Pepsi Bottling Ventures plans to close a warehouse in Durham and shift most of the facilities' workers to its operation in Garner.

Pepsi Bottling recently made automation improvements at the Garner facility that prompted the workforce consolidation, said spokesman George Suddath.

It's another example of the harsh reality in a post-recession world: Even as the economy steadily improves, companies in many industries are continuing to look for opportunities to cut costs.

The Durham facility employs about 100 people and most have been offered transfers to the Garner plant off of Jones Sausage Road. A few will shift to another operation in Winston-Salem. The "very few" who weren't offered new jobs or don't want to transfer will be offered severance payments, Suddath said.

"We're hoping the ones who are offered positions will avail themselves of it," he added. "We have a very good Durham workforce. The assumption is most of them will commute."

The company expects to close the Durham facility by the middle of March. Suddath said Pepsi Bottling owns the building on Western Bypass but hasn't decided what to do with it.

Pepsi Bottling employs about 2,500 people in eight states, including 1,700 in North Carolina. The company is a privately held joint venture of Suntory Ltd. of Japan and PepsiCo.

Business has been improving recently, Suddath said.

"We didn't take a devastating hit" during the recession, "but we did have some softness in sales," he said. "Things are looking up."

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About the blogger

Assistant Business Editor Alan M. Wolf joined the N&O in 1999 covering the business of health care. He became an editor in 2001, and helps oversee the paper's daily business coverage and Sunday Work&Money section. He lives in Clayton with his wife and two children. Reach him at 919-829-4572 or e-mail him.