Caleb Davis Bradham – Portrait of an American Entrepreneur

Caleb Davis Bradham pic
Caleb Davis Bradham
Image: northcarolinahistory.org

Until his family sold the franchise in 1996, Darin Pastor worked in marketing and distribution for the Pepsi-Cola Buffalo Bottling Corp. Today a multi-experienced sales, investment, and management professional, he heads Capstone Financial Group, Inc., as chairman and CEO. Darin Pastor credits his early experience with the Pepsi operation for giving him the chance to build his skills in recruiting, hiring, and training.

The now-iconic Pepsi brand comes from humble beginnings. In 1893, a drugstore owner in New Bern, North Dakota debuted his mixture of water, sugar, caramel, and other natural ingredients, which he called “Brad’s Drink.” The public loved it, and the proprietor of Bradham’s Drug Store found himself with a hit on his hands.

North Carolina native Caleb Davis Bradham was born just after the end of the Civil War. After earning a qualification as a pharmacist from the University of Maryland, he opened his drugstore and even supplied a jukebox to keep his patrons entertained. After he realized that his knowledge of compounding ingredients had given him a money-making product, he began developing Pepsi-Cola as his major investment.

In 1902, the Pepsi-Cola Company was incorporated in North Carolina. A natural salesman, Bradham popularized his drink nationwide; his successful franchise had taken root in more than 20 other states by 1910. With the 1923 collapse of the sugar market, however, Bradham’s company declared itself bankrupt and the pharmacist returned to his store. Bradham died in 1934, never realizing the revived success his brand would achieve.

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