Asa Candler: The Coca Cola Entrepreneur
When considering the people that could be described as the greatest entrepreneurs of the 19h Century, Asa Candler is one man that has to rank high on the list. Asa Candler may not be a household name today, but his brand and legacy live on and no doubt will continue to do so beyond our lifetimes. The reason for this is that he was the man that introduced Coca Cola to the world. The brand is today recognised in every country of the world, but in 1887 it was still a recipe that was yet to be marketed. If it were not for Asa Candler, Coca Cola may not be the global brand it is today.
Born on December 30, 1851 in Villa Rica, Georgia, Asa Candler was not born into an entrepreneurial family, although he did have a privileged upbringing. As one of eleven siblings, he was taught to work hard and live by the rules of God. His parents were highly religious and his father was also an extremely successful merchant. As such, Asa Candler vowed to be just as successful as he grew up. This laid the foundations for his entrepreneurial ventures later in life. Although little is known of his education and childhood, Candler’s father instilled inspiration and business skills in his son that were to go a long way.
Early Business Ventures
Asa Candler began his journey as an entrepreneur in Atlanta, Georgia where he was a prescriptionist, or pharmacist as he would be called today. He manufactured patent medicines and was undoubtedly successful at it. In fact, Candler was amongst the most respected people in his community, so much so that individuals looking to market their inventions, tonics and medications, routinely approached him. This is how he was first introduced to a certain headache tonic that was to make him famous and rich in his time and legendary following his death on March 12, 1929.
The Coca Cola Company
In 1888, John Stith Pemberton offered to sell a patent to the budding entrepreneur. It was offered as a headache tonic as a result of a secret ingredient (which is still secret today). After tasting it, Asa Candler saw it as an opportunity. The formula for Coca Cola cost the entrepreneur $2,300 but made him a millionaire before the turn of the 20th Century.
It was actually Candler’s marketing of the product that took Coca Cola national and earned him millions of dollars. Having learned a lot about advertising and marketing within the pharmaceuticals industry, Candler believed that it could do the same for a soft drink, which was what he marketed Coca Cola as from the start. He envisioned that the product would be a much bigger success if her marketed it in that way rather than as a headache tonic. The Coca Cola Company literally soared and Candler soon began to expand the product range, as well as his ventures as an entrepreneur.
The Property Market
Following the success of Coca Cola and The Coca Cola Company, Candler expanded his entrepreneurial horizons by investing in property and banking. He founded the Central Bank And Trust Company and began to erect his own structures, most notably the 1906 Candler Building, which is still the tallest building in Atlanta today. By this point, Candler was so respected in the city of Atlanta that he was voted mayor in 1916.
The entrepreneur was also a great philanthropist, having made donations of over $8 million during his lifetime. The majority of that was made to Emory University to allow the education of many that would otherwise not have been able to go to college. This is largely why there are many structures named after him in Atlanta today and also Candler County. Asa Candler certainly made an impact on his hometown as much as he did on the rest of the world. Although he is now long gone, his legacy will undoubtedly live on.