Current Exhibits

Online Exhibit Only -- Dr Pepper Franchises

Dr Pepper is a native of Waco, Texas, and the oldest major soft-drink in America.
It was created by Dr. Charles Alderton at the Old Corner Drug Store in 1885,
predating Coca-Cola by one year. Dr Pepper quickly became popular throughout
Waco and the surrounding areas. Wade B. Morrison and Robert Lazenby, founders
of the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company in 1891, began to sell Dr Pepper
syrup. The company sold the rights to bottle Dr Pepper to other small town bottling
companies across the state and then the country spreading Dr Pepper to a greater
area than the company could have done by itself. This was the start of Dr Pepper franchises.

Dr Pepper’s first franchise was in Dublin, Texas. Sam Houston Prim, a bottler in Dublin, had tried Dr Pepper and decided that he wanted to bottle the drink. Morrison and Lazenby granted him the right to bottle their drink and use the name Dr Pepper, creating the first Dr Pepper franchise.

So what exactly is a franchise? A franchise is an individual or group that has been sold the exclusive rights to use a certain product. With the production rights comes the advantage of using the product in their advertisements, optimizing on promotional deals with the company, and making available other items such as distribution trucks and uniforms for their employees.

There are many benefits to opening a franchise. The most obvious is financial help when initially starting the business. There are other franchises that can be used as an example for how to set up and build the business. This greatly reduces the risk of running into problems. Finally, one of the biggest benefits can be obtaining help from the company in locating a site for the franchise, construction, and employee training.
One of the most valuable pieces in the Dr Pepper Collection is a book that was donated by W.W. “Foots” Clements, one of the Company’s most influential leaders. In this book is a detailed record of franchises throughout the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. It is important because it shows record keeping before computers, and does a thorough job of recording valuable information about each Dr Pepper bottler.   Information about owners, managers, location, production numbers, and franchise area along with photographs of the plant are included in these books and provide valuable insight into those early years of expansion for the Dr Pepper Company.
Here are a few photos now of some Texas franchises. To see the greater United States photos and information, stay tuned. In the fall an exhibit showcasing all 50 states will be installed on the second floor of the Dr Pepper Museum. All Histories were taken from the original book that describes each franchise specifically.
This business was founded by Mr. Edwards’s the father of Jack and Van who were in charge of the business for about the past ten years.

Van Edwards was manager for about six years and in 1940 he got out, leaving the business in charge of Jack. In 1941, Van made a deal with Mr. Aulbach to manage his Dr. Pepper plant in Fresno, California.


Mr. S. H. Prim who owns this business has been in the soda water bottling business for about forty years. He bottled Dr. Pepper before the turn of the century. Mr. S. H. Prim died September 17, 1946.

El Paso

Fort Worth:
This is one of the original Dr. Pepper bottling plants, being established in the middle twenties. Mr. Henry B. Dorris who owns this business was for more than twenty or twenty-five years associated with Dr. Pepper bottling plant in Waco.

In 1937, he constructed the finest Dr Pepper plant that had ever been built up to that time, on Henderson Avenue in Fort Worth. It is still a show place of the carbonated beverage bottling world.

This plant now owned by George Pothoff and his brother-in-law, Van Vordenbaum, was inherited from George Pothoff’s father who established the Union Bottling Works some fifty years ago.
They have been bottling Dr. Pepper for more than fifteen years in Houston and have one of the richest potential markets in all Dr. Pepper territory.

Both…are conservative…operators that are content to make about $100,000 a year net and are not very much interested in doing the volume of business that this territory could produce.

This is the original Dr. Pepper bottling plant.
Mr. Lazenby, the founder of the business, had as an associate running the plant in the early twenties, Mr. S. L. Brown. Later Mr. Henry Dorris was manager of the plant for about ten years and following him Mr. George Miller.

In 1906 the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company built a building on the corner of 5th and Mary streets by architect Milton Scott. This was the first building dedicated to the manufacturing of Dr Pepper. Today this building is the oldest existing head quarters for a major soft drink company.


This territory came out of what was originally San Antonio and other territories in West Texas. Mr. William Koock, the owner, operates a nice little business that is serving a large geographical area.


This operation was originally owned by the Ash family. Because of family disputes and quarrels, they decided to sell out the Dr. Pepper end of their business to Mr. W. I. Shaw in 1940. Mr. Ash in turn opened the Dr. Pepper plant in Goodwell, Oklahoma.

This is a family operation with Mr. Brown and his son running the business. He has been in the soda water business for more than thirty-five years and with Dr. Pepper almost half that long. His operation is really old time, quaint, and he is nearly always in trouble with his neighboring bottlers over boundaries etc. He has a maze of different kinds and sizes of soda water of all types.

In 1938 be bought out the little Dr. Pepper plant at Anson, Texas.

Witchita Falls:
This plant is owned by a corporation that includes Mr. J. M. Elliott, Mr. McDonald who was at one time a barber, and two or three other associates in executive capacity.
Recently they have added a Mr. Raines as route supervisor and kind of sales manager.
This plant has always made money apparently without much effort on the part of anyone.

About 1936 this plant absorbed the territory formerly in the Bowie, Texas franchise.

This plant was for more than ten years owned by Charlie Salvato…who did very little with Dr. Pepper. In 1941, this business was purchased by Mr. Carr P. Collins, a director of Dr. Pepper Company, who engaged the services of Mr. Green Buchanan, a brother of Mr. S. A. Buchanan, to manage it.

They are now planning the construction of a new bottling plant and the future looks bright for this territory.

Corpus Christi:
This plant is owned by J. M. Benkendorfer, a German who is a native of San Antonio. Business was opened by his father, who made his money in San Antonio and still resides there.
Benkendorfer was a period of about five or six years an inspiration to all South Texas bottlers because he was reputed to have had the highest per capita consumption of any other Dr. Pepper bottler in the United States. The facts in the case were that because of inaccurate population records, his per capita was unusually high. With the correct population figures in 1940, his per capita dropped from around thirty bottles to less than fifteen and his population showed a sharp increase.
His territory consists of only a part of one county and is an excellent soft drink area.
Located in his territory is the fifty million dollar naval air base which will be completed in 1941.

Mr. Benkendorfer in 1939 opened a Dr. Pepper bottling plant in Santa Ana, California and placed his brother-in-law, John Allen, in charge.