Pittsburg is fortunate to have family owned companies that continue to be the backbone of the community. Several of these companies started around the time Crawford County was established and still thrive today. The Farabi family is no exception.
Founder, Louis Farabi would be proud of the legacy he started in 1919. The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. in Pittsburg is the second oldest family-owned franchise in the state; brothers, sons, nephews and a sister have all been instrumental in the company. Today, C.L. (great-grandson), Peter (great-nephew), and Caleb (great-great- grandson), continue the family tradition.
The Farabi family started selling beer and NuGrape soda in 1919 on 9th street. It would not be until 1936 that the company began selling Pepsi-Cola on 10th street. In 1938, a brand new Pepsi-Cola truck was purchased for delivery. Third generation Farabi, Caleb, passes down the story from his father, C.L. on how his great-grandpa Hugo picked up his great-grandma on dates in the delivery truck!
The Farabis later opened a brick warehouse and bottling plant in 1941, adding to its current location at 1211 N. Broadway, and continued to add on both in 1952 and 1965. In 1984, the bottling operations came to a halt, and the company focused on sales and distribution. By 2011, the Farabis knew it was time for modernized storage, and to have a more efficient distribution facility. The 1941 brick warehouse gave way to the productive 17,500 square-feet facility we see today on Broadway.
Another modernization is the way the product is delivered. From the open-sided delivery trucks until their retirement in the 1970s, today’s distribution has made its way to specially-constructed dry van trailers, liftgates and pallets. We are lucky the Farabi’s held on to their 1938 vintage delivery truck so everyone can learn how deliveries were once made.
Thanks to the generosity of the Farabi Family, the 1938 Pepsi-Cola delivery truck is currently on loan for display at the Museum. Enjoy a nice cold Pepsi while visiting the vintage truck at our 1940s Christmas Open House on Monday, December 4, from 5:30-8 p.m.
Remember, History is Fun!
— Amanda Minton is the director of the Crawford County Historical Museum, as well as a lecturer of history at Pittsburg State University.