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About AVA
About Automatic Vending of Arkansas
Our Mission
AVA is a growing, professional, quality food-service corporation dedicated to attaining superior customer satisfaction by providing the finest in fresh food and refreshment products, dependable service and equipment, and fair-value pricing, all to the mutual benefit of clients, customers, employees, stockholders, and the communities we serve.

Company History
AVA's roots can be traced back to the early 1900s, when Leonard Ferdinand Bellingrath rode the train from Atlanta every spring to bottle Coca-Cola in Pine Bluff, Arkansas during the summers. In 1962, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of South Arkansas, under the direction of L.F. Bellingrath's grandson, Ferd M. Bellingrath, Jr., established a full-line vending department to enhance its service to the "at-work" market. In 1965, the department was separately incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary named Automatic Vending of Arkansas, Inc., or "AVA."

Howard House, who had worked in the Coca-Cola bottling operation during his college years, became the full-line vending department's first employee and ultimately AVA's executive vice president and general manager. During the tenure of Mr. House, AVA grew consistently. Part of this growth came when it entered the Monticello and Crossett markets with the acquisition of the Jim Gunn Company in May 1972.

Mr. House served the company until his untimely death in 1984. He was succeeded by Ferd Bellingrath' son, Mac. In 1985 AVA purchased the full-line vending assets of South Arkansas Vending in Camden and El Dorado, gaining market leadership in the area. On December 31, 1986, AVA became an independent company under the joint ownership of Ferd and Mac Bellingrath, following the sale of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of South Arkansas by the larger Bellingrath family. Mac Bellingrath was named president.

In 1991 AVA established its first operation outside of the traditional South Arkansas Coca-Cola franchise by signing its first customer in Little Rock. In 1999 AVA entered the Hot Springs and Arkadelphia markets with the acquisition of Earl Gill Vending Service.

Today Automatic Vending of Arkansas serves hundreds of industrial, hospital, college, and other commercial accounts throughout Central and South Arkansas and has become the largest full-line vending company owned and operated in the state.

Ferd Bellingrath is now fully retired, and Mac Bellingrath's wife, Gail, who studied foods and nutrition in college, works part-time for the company and serves on its board of directors. AVA employs about 90 people, several of whom share Coca-Cola roots with the Bellingrath family.



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