Making Someone’s Day

Posted by Tom Locke on February 11th, 2020 filed in Business, General, History, Life, Sports ... All Sorts

Back in early November, my wife and I decided to visit our favourite antique and collectibles shop, Etta’s Attic, in Ferndale, Washington.  That’s when we came across a unique deck/director’s chair.

This pristine chair was a 1980 World Series promotional piece from Pepsi-Cola.  Per the descriptive tag attached to the chair, it was a gift to Harold Walton from the Pepsi-Cola Company.  After purchasing the chair, I subsequently heard back from the dealer who confirmed, via the folks at Etta’s Attic, that it was indeed a gift to Harold Walton, the Founder and then President of the Walton Beverage Company.  This claim was substantiated by the inscribing of the name “Harold” on the back of the top banner of the chair.

Further research uncovered the fact that Walton Beverages began distributing Pepsi-Cola in 1934-1935.  This is somewhat significant given the fact that during the Great Depression, Pepsi-Cola gained popularity following the introduction in 1934 of a 12-ounce bottle. Prior to that, Pepsi and Coca-Cola sold their drinks in 6.5-ounce servings for about $0.05 a bottle. With a radio advertising campaign featuring the popular jingle “Nickel, Nickel” – first recorded by the Tune Twisters in 1940 – Pepsi encouraged price-conscious consumers to double the volume their nickels could purchase. The jingle is arranged in a way that loops, creating a never-ending tune:

“Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot / Twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.”

Coming at a time of economic crisis, the campaign succeeded in boosting Pepsi’s status. From 1936 to 1938, Pepsi-Cola’s profits doubled.

As interesting as this was, what was more fascinating was the fact that I was able to purchase this unique antique. It also made me wonder if the people at Walton Beverages, which is still going strong today, even knew about the chair.

So, I contacted the company and was eventually put in touch with one of Harold Walton’s granddaughters who works at the company. As suspected, she did not know about the chair or the story behind it.

Late last month, my wife and I drove back to Ferndale with the chair in tow and subsequently presented it to Mr. Walton’s granddaughter.

She was excited to receive it and proclaimed that the chair would remain on display at company headquarters for all to see.

Delivery of Chair to Walton Beverages

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