Ozarks Coca-Cola Board of Directors Elects Bruce Long as CEO

Contact: Sally Hargis, Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company
417-865-9900 ext. 256

For Immediate Release

Ozarks Coca-Cola Board of Directors Elects Bruce Long as CEO

Springfield, Mo. (May 10, 2023) – The Board of Directors of Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company has elected Bruce Long as its next Chief Executive Officer.

Long, who currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Edwin C. Rice, who has been elected CEO Emeritus. Elected to the Board of Directors in December of 2022, Long will officially be CEO and President of the company, the fifth to lead since the Company was founded in 1921.

Long graduated with a BS and MS in Education from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO. A dedicated employee of Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company for more than two decades, he and his wife Sandra have one daughter, Sydney.

“Bruce’s career with us spans 23 years, and through that time he has been involved in almost every aspect of the company. He’s become an integral member of Ozarks Coca-Cola’s leadership team, and the commitment and invigoration he’s brought us has been inspiring,” said Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company Chairwoman and Vice President Sally Hargis. “He’s served as our President and COO since 2015, and in that time his integrity, strategy, and leadership have been invaluable to the continued growth and success of our company.”

“The last 20 years have been some of our most celebrated and most successful,” said Edwin C. Rice. “In 2020, we celebrated 100 years as a family-owned business. In the decade before that, we expanded into Joplin, West Plains, and Northwest Arkansas. I am incredibly proud of the growth this company has achieved, and I have no doubt that this company’s future will be in great hands for years to come.”

“I am honored to assume the role of CEO and follow in the footsteps of Mr. Rice,” said Long. “We have an amazing group of people led by a passionate leadership team, and I look forward to continuing our tradition of outstanding service to the communities and associates who have been the foundation of the Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company for over a century.”

Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company is a fourth-generation, family-owned Bottler operating in Missouri for over 100 years. Founded by the Rice family in 1920, Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper products are manufactured in Springfield, with sales and distribution branches in Springfield, Bolivar, Rolla, Joplin, and West Plains, MO, and Northwest Arkansas. Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company employs over 800 associates and serves more than 2.3 million consumers through local, regional, and national outlets. More information about Ozarks Coca-Cola Company is available at www.cocacolaozarks.com.

High School Seniors: Be a Coca-Cola Scholar!


We’re giving $20,000 college scholarships to 150 change agents across the country.

Since its inception, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program has awarded more than 6,600 students with over $78 million total in scholarships. These eminent learners and leaders make up the ranks of Coke Scholars, with 150 graduating high school seniors selected to join their number each year. Think you have what it takes?

For over 30 years, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has annually selected candidates to become Coke Scholars based on three criteria:

  • Academic excellence
  • Extracurricular engagement
  • Proactive service

If you think you sufficiently embody these three core values, and you want your chance at a $20,000 scholarship to the college or university of your choice, then Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company encourages you to visit Cokeurl.com/Scholarships to check out the requirements to apply.

Being a Coca-Cola Scholar means more than just high praise and a scholarship check, though. As a Coca-Cola Scholar, you’ll be invited to participate in a leadership development curriculum specifically designed to educate young professionals like yourself. You’ll also be welcomed into the vibrant and ever-growing family of Coca-Cola Scholars alumni. They’ll be available as both mentors and examples of the ways that you, as a Coke Scholar, can refresh the world around you. Become a force for positive change in the future. Apply at Cokeurl.com/Apply2022 for your chance to join the 35th class of Coca-Cola Scholars.

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper

Celebrating Continued Growth

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company is pleased to announce that our new warehouse and production line in Springfield, MO is officially in operation!

To celebrate this occasion, we held a ceremony on May 15, 2021, dedicating the new facility and recognizing the efforts of those who have made our growth possible. Our senior leadership led the ceremony and officially marked the opening of the new facility with a ribbon-cutting. All of our Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company family was invited to attend, as well as other distinguished guests and members of the media. During this ceremony, we honored the multitude of team members who have helped bring us to where we are today, and who will help propel us into our future.

Located at the headwaters of the Jordan Creek, our new 432,000-square-foot facility uses a conveyor to move goods from the adjacent production center directly into the new warehouse. The new production line also includes a plastic bottle blow mold, which will significantly reduce future manufacturing costs. This will greatly increase the capacity of our operations in the Springfield area, enabling us to better serve our community in the future.

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company has grown immensely throughout our history, and we owe a great deal of thanks to the communities of the Ozarks. It is your support that has brought us the success we celebrated at this ceremony. We look forward to serving you in the future, and to continued growth throughout Southwest Missouri.

A Century of Family

Since 1920, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company has been proud to provide refreshment to the communities of the Ozarks. From our humble beginnings with the Rice family’s purchase of Electric Bottling Company/Farmer’s Beverages in Springfield, we now operate five additional facilities throughout the Midwest. We produce and distribute over 650 products, including Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper brand products, BODYARMOR, and Monster Energy. Throughout our history, we have been a family-owned business committed to embodying the spirit of customer service and to strengthening the community around us that has propelled us to such success.

Our operation began on West Phelps in downtown Springfield, within the Producers Creamery & Produce building. Led by company president Edwin Rice, we set the by-laws of Springfield Coca-Cola at our inaugural stockholder meeting. We changed locations twice in the next twenty years, first to West Commercial Street, then to the corner of Clay and Central. In 1945, Ed Heer, husband of Virginia Rice, was elected to the Board of Directors. Five years later, Heer became Secretary of the company, and Ed “Cookie” Rice was elected to the Board. Rice was appointed President of the company in 1970, and currently serves as CEO. In 1977, we moved our Springfield operation into our then-newly-built headquarters on North Packer Road. We purchased a new facility in Rolla from the Massey family in 1979, further expanding our operation. Our Bolivar facility was purchased in 1983, and four years later we celebrated the purchase of the Dr Pepper franchise. It wasn’t until 2015 that we resumed expansion with growth into the Joplin and West Plains territories. We acquired our newest service area, Northwest Arkansas, in 2017.

Our most recent expansion came with the completion of a new warehouse and production line at our Packer Road headquarters. Complete with a plastic bottle blow mold allowing us to produce our own bottles, these new assets have greatly increased our production and storage capacity, while also reducing manufacturing costs. To learn more about our history, check out our company timeline here.

The first century of our history has been filled with achievement and growth. In addition to our wonderful staff and the men and women who have led us to such success, we owe a great deal to the Ozarks and surrounding communities. The Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company thanks you all for your continued support, and we look forward to serving you in the second century of our history.

Honoring our Frontline Heroes



As part of our continuing salute to those individuals in our community who keep working during tough times, The Coca-Cola Company has released this video tribute to the company’s Front Line Heroes. And here at Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company, we couldn’t agree more!

From our local production and warehouse employees to distribution and delivery staff in the four states included in our service area, our teams have pulled together and risen to meet unprecedented challenges. During the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic crisis, that means they have safely continued to deliver the familiar, refreshing tastes that our customers expect. 

Produced by Coca-Cola Franchise Leadership, the video features Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper in several places. We’re proud to be a part of it and are excited to share it with you! 





College-Bound Seniors: 2021 Scholarship Applications Are Open!

Are you the total academic package? Great grades, president of all the clubs, and a community-minded champion? If so, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company encourages you to apply for the $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholars program no later than October 31, 2020.

For more than 30 years, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has distributed annual scholarship awards to students based on their academic performance, extracurricular activities, and service work. Once again in 2021, there will be 150 outstanding students selected for prestigious recognition and an accompanying $20,000 scholarship to the College or University of their choice.

We’re very proud to say that our own Ozarks region has consistently produced Coca-Cola Scholars over the years, including Sojas Wagle from Springdale and Fayetteville’s Zhiwen Xu in 2019, as well as Priya Thelapurath, a 2020 awardee from Bentonville. If you have a strong academic, extracurricular, and service history and want a chance at $20,000 for college, visit the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation to check out the requirements and fill out your application.

Good luck from your home team at Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company!

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper


Tennis, Anyone?



Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company is excited to announce that BODYARMOR LYTE has been selected as the Official Sports Drink of the US Open Tennis Championships. This year’s event will take place at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York from August 31 – September 3, 2020. 

Top players from all over the world will be competing, including Team BODYARMOR athlete Naomi Osaka, the 2018 US Open Champion. BODYARMOR LYTE will be part of the competitors’ hydration regimen, available in all coolers on-court and in the venue’s locker rooms.  

With this new partnership, BODYARMOR adds to our ever-growing list of sports organizations that trust our products to deliver effective, healthy, and safe hydration for their athletes. BodyArmor is also the official Sports Drink of both the UFC mixed martial arts promotion and Major League Soccer, and we proudly partner with top athletes in football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, track & field, and motorsports competitions. 

Team BodyArmor athlete Naomi Osaka is giving back to her hometown tennis community during the 2020 US Open.

Our relationship with Naomi includes her support of our ONLY YOU CAN Campaign. Check out the video spot encouraging young athletes to “Be The Future,” and watch for BODYARMOR products throughout the US Open competition. Additionally, we will be partnering with Naomi and the New York Parks Department to refurbish a local tennis court in Jamaica, Queens… some of the very same places where Naomi began her journey from a promising youth tennis player to Grand Slam superstardom. 


Thank You to Our First Responders

Thanking our First Responders during the COVID-19 crisis was important to us. That’s why Ozarks Coca-Cola Dr Pepper Bottling Company recently sent out a special order of more than 800 cases of assorted beverages, totaling over 19,000 bottles and cans. Along with a handwritten thank-you note, our staff delivered a variety of products to 194 fire departments, police stations, and EMS facilities throughout our service area. In total, approximately 6,700 First Responders enjoyed a refreshing beverage on us. 

Each bottle and can was sent with our sincere gratitude for their daily commitment, bravery, and sacrifice during this unprecedented crisis. Thank You from all of us at Ozarks Coca-Cola Dr Pepper Bottling Company! 

Visit our Facebook page to see more photos of our visits to 194 First Responder locations.


Wanted: Thirsty Athletes!


Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company is excited to offer BodyArmor Premium Sports Drink in area retail stores. These enhanced beverage options for athletes feature all-natural flavors and sweeteners, plus have no colors from artificial sources. The replenishing blend comes in a variety of flavors and sizes, with products that include Sports Drink, low-calorie BodyArmor Lyte, and SportWater.

The one-of-a-kind beverage is endorsed by numerous professional athletes representing the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, UFC, PGA, WNBA, and NASCAR. It’s also the Official Sports Drink of the NCAA®, the UFC® mixed martial arts league, and the Spartan Race, an extreme obstacle course competition with over 200 global events annually.

Why BodyArmor?

With a growing segment of the population is focused on health, diet, and exercise. Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper is pleased to offer a premium sports drink for athletes of all levels. BodyArmor delivers superior hydration that includes added vitamins and electrolytes that are critical for sustained athletic performance and recovery.

Look for BodyArmor products distributed by Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company, available today at your favorite retail location.