Third five-year Coca-Cola contract to expire


In order to find out which company to sign a contract with, university officials are currently in the process of sending out proposals to several businesses within the area.

Coke or Pepsi?

SDSU’s Coca-Cola contract expires July 31, so this fall Pepsi-Cola fans may get to drink Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper on campus.

However, this is just a possibility, as nothing has been decided.

“No proposals have been submitted yet because we still are in the early stages of the deal,” chief financial officer Wes Tschetter said. “Everything is up in the air.”

With the expiration coming in the next few months, administrators and students have started discussing options.

“At our [February 14] meeting a discussion about bringing Pepsi onto campus was brought up as an option, but nothing is set in stone right now,” said former Students’ Association Sen. Cy Fixen, a senior pharmacy major.

Tschetter said there are a few possibilities: switch to Pepsi, keep Coke or provide both options on campus.

Tschetter, the manager of SDSU’s contracts with outside businesses, along with a committee of other finance staff members, is in the process of sending a request for proposal to area soft drink distributers to get the contract negotiations started.

“A RFP is pretty much a document that lays out what a company is looking for in their search to fulfill a contract,” said Ryan Shawd, branch manager of the Watertown Coca-Cola facility. “The businesses that receive the RFP throw back a number as to what they think the contract is worth, and then hopefully a decision can be made.”

Tschetter said he expects to send the RFPs out by the end of April.

Doug Goehring, general manager of Coca-Cola of Central South Dakota, said Coca-Cola will send a proposal to SDSU to keep their products on campus.

“We have actually formulated some ideas regarding the proposal, but we are waiting for the actual RFP to arrive so we can see what SDSU is looking for, and we can finalize all the fine details,” Goehring said.

Tschetter, Shawd and Goehring were not willing to provide the dollar amounts of the contract because of any competition from other pop providers.

The state of South Dakota only allows a five-year contract to be drawn up between organizations, but renewals have been issued in the past.

“The SDSU contract started as a five-year contract and then got renewed twice, so we are actually on a 15-year period with the campus,” Shawd said.

Shawd and Goehring are the main men behind contract agreements with facilities in the central and eastern regions of South Dakota.

“Coca-Cola has been with SDSU for a great deal of time now,” Shawd said. “We know the facilities well, and our appliances are already in place, so if all the financial aspects work out Coca-Cola can remain the pop provider for campus.”

Coca-Cola has not always been the only pop distributer on campus. Before the 15-year period, Doug Wermedal, assistant vice president for student affairs, said Pepsi was offered.

Beth Schmitz, a junior parks and recreation major, said she hopes to see this again.

“It would be awesome to have Pepsi products back on campus,” Schmitz said. “Not having to go off campus to get some Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew would definitely be a great benefit to me and many other Pepsi drinkers.”

On the other hand, Matt Heitmann, a freshman industrial management major, said Coke should stay.

“Coke has many drinks that people like, and Powerade is something that I can drink after working out that really helps in rehydrating, so keeping Coke on campus would definitely be my preference,” Heitmann said.

The Coke and Pepsi debate lives on.