In 1925, N.C. Matthewson, pharmacist and entrepreneur, founded The Made-Rite Company in Marshall, Texas. The company's original location was in the old Marshall Bottling Works and operated primarily in Harrison County. After being issued the third Dr Pepper franchise in the United States (authorizing distribution in four counties), Matthewson's single, foot-powered bottle capper produced Dr Pepper, NEHI, and other soft drinks. When the company was expanded in 1928 to include additional territory in Longview (population about 2,500), Miss Natalie Williams, Matthewson's sister-in-law, was brought into the business as bookkeeper. Escalating production quickly mandated the purchase of two new Dixie bottling machines that required water chilled with large blocks of ice from the local ice plant. The soft drinks were delivered in cases that consisted of four each of six flavors: Dr Pepper, Strawberry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Orange, and Grape. Ironically, the bottles of Dr Pepper often had to be picked up because of poor sales.
Jack S. Mann married Matthewson's daughter in 1929 and began as an office cashier with a salary of $100 a month. Jack S. became manager of Matthewson's Henderson Made-Rite plant and bought into the company in 1931. The Henderson plant was 32 feet wide by 60 feet long with a wook floor and a hand-operated filling machine plus two trucks (and Mann's own car) for deliveries. His company office was in one corner of the building, but the books were maintained at home. When the East Texas Oil Boom hit in 1931, the demand for soft drinks grew rapidly, and the plant began working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Drink prices during that time were 75 and 80 cents per case, with no deposit for bottles.
Following Matthewson's death in 1935, Jack S. Mann and Natalie Williams bought The Made-Rite Company stock at book value, and in 1937 purchased the original Pine Bluff, Arkansas territory from Dr Pepper Little Rock. At one time, Jack S. Mann operated Dr Pepper bottling plants in Shawnee, Oklahoma; Wilson, Pine Bluff and Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Burlington, Iowa, but eventually sold off all but the Longview plant. The business continued to grow and prosper (along with the belated popularity of Dr Pepper), and in 1957, Williams and Mann sold a one-fourth interest to his son, Jack M. Mann, company president until his death in 2010.
The Marshall and Henderson plants were phased out in 1963 when the new facility opened on Industrial Drive in Longview. There have been four building expansions since then, the most recent being the purchase of a 60,000 square foot warehouse across the street from the original warehouse on Industrial Blvd. And in 1988, the business was modified to include snack, coffee, and food vending that brought new products and territories to the company. Made-Rite discontinued bottling operations in 1990 and affiliated with Southwest Canners, a bottling-canning cooperative that provides most of the product the company distributes.
Made-Rite's ownership and board of directors now consists of multiple members of the Mann family. Nathaniel (Nat) Mann serves as CEO, with Robert (Bob) Mann, Jack M. Mann, Jr., and Dan Mann serving as active partners and board members of the company.
The Made-Rite Company, having celebrated its 75th anniversary in the year 2000, now serves multiple counties in East Texas.
In 2021, Made-Rite sold back the rights to Keurig Dr Pepper products , and continues to be a strong community supporter and has several brands and products available.
The Made-Rite Company has been awarded numerous times by the Longview Partnership and Economic Development in addition to the awards listed below.
The Made-Rite Company
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