The franchise for Durango Coca-Cola Bottling Company was created in 1915. The original bottling plant was located on Main Avenue in Durango. Frank Mapel became involved with the Coca-Cola Business in the 1920’s while working in purchasing for the Gallup Mercantile Company. The Gallup Mercantile was a subsidiary of Charles Ilfeld a full line wholesale company operating mercantile operations throughout New Mexico and Durango, Colorado. Mr. Frank Mapel became a pioneer in distributing Coca-Cola on the Navajo Indian Reservation throughout the many trading post in northwest New Mexico and western Arizona. At that time Coca-Cola was delivered on wagons in cedar barrels. The bottles were packed in the barrels with straw.
In the 1940’s a new bottling line was put in Gallup with Frank Mapel being promoted to general manager of Gallup Mercantile. During that time, Frank’s boss moved to Durango and purchased the Coca-Cola business of Durango. The Charles Ilfeld Company purchased the Durango Coca-Cola franchise about 1948, and shortly after Mr. Mapel became President of Charles Ilfeld. In 1960, Charles Ifeld sold their holdings of both Durango and Gallup Coca-Cola to Frank Mapel.
In 1958, a new bottling plant was built at 7th and Camino Del Rio in Durango, and in 1965 Frank Mapel sold Gallup Coca-Cola to Albuquerque Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Don Mapel, President, came into the business at Durango in 1970 after a stint in the United States Navy. Before becoming President, Don held numerous jobs ranging from warehousing, delivery, sales manager, vending manager, and eventually general manager replacing Joe Peters who was a forty year veteran of the company.
Durango Coca-Cola is the highest per capita for Coca-Cola in the western United States. We were among the first bottlers in the United States to produce premix tanked products for bars and restaurants. Durango Coca-Cola is the largest full line vending company in the Four Corners area serving over 1500 customers. In addition to these activities, Durango Coca-Cola is a significant coffee distributor of regular and premium coffees.
The company has received several awards for quality and per capita achievement. We have been selected as the business of the year for Durango and the Business of the year by the Better Business Bureau of Farmington, New Mexico. Don Mapel is a charter member of the Mainstream Council of the Coca-Cola Company and serves on the Board of Governors of the Coca-Cola Bottlers Association. Don’s daughter, Meredith, is the first woman to be President of the Mainstream Council representing independent bottling companies in the United States.
Durango Coca-Cola sponsors the Connie Mack World Series, Durango Mountain Resort, Youth Soccer in Farmington and Durango, the first World Mountain Bicycle Championships, the National High School Rodeo, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, and many other local events.
Durango Coca-Cola supports Fort Lewis College Foundation, San Juan College Foundation, Mercy Medical Center, San Juan Hospital, Music in the Mountains, the San Juan Symphony, Durango Choral Society, and many local service clubs. Durango Coca-Cola’s philosophy is “if it is good for our communities it is good for our company.” The Four Corners is rich in history and culture and Durango Coca-Cola is proud to be a part of that fabric.