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BUSINESS IS REALLY POPPING FOR HOME SOFT-DRINK FIRM

SHARE BUSINESS IS REALLY POPPING FOR HOME SOFT-DRINK FIRM

Every now and then, LeRoy and Floyd Whipple mix up a batch of Moonshine.

They also concoct Champagne Cola and some Sting. A backwoods still, one might ask?LeRoy Whipple chuckles at the comparison, quick to note Moonshine, Champagne Cola and Sting are names of some 50-plus soft drink mixes developed by Soda Butler, a Salt Lake business that provides in-home soda pop service.

The setup consists of three components, a CO2 tank, syrup and tap water. Six days a week, Soda Butler delivers the first two ingredients and mixing bottles to homes in Salt Lake, Weber, Davis and Utah counties. The company also has distributors in Denver and Australia.

A setup is $20, plus a $5 monthly service fee, which includes a complimentary exchange of the CO2 tank. Customers also need to purchase syrup, which costs $10 a gallon for Soda Butler flavors or $12 a gallon for national brands such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi products. In total, the company offers 65 varieties of soda pop.

"Nearly all the time, we can save the customer money. The customer can mix the drink how they like it. If it goes flat, they can hook it up to the CO2 tank and recarbonate it," said LeRoy Whipple, vice president.

The Whipples are often surprised how much soda pop Utahns consume. One client, a family of four, consumes eight to 12 gallons of syrup monthly. A gallon of syrup makes about 13 two-liter bottles of pop.

The company has about 1,100 customers in Salt Lake County. On average, most customers buy two gallons of syrup a month, which produces roughly 25 two-liter bottles. "A little less than one a day," LeRoy Whipple said.

Floyd Whipple, retired from the appliance and television sales and service business in California, purchased Soda Butler in 1985, following a stint in farming in southern Utah. The family moved to Utah in 1977.

"Dad has five kids and he wanted to put together a business to take care of all of us," LeRoy Whipple said.

Although another of the Whipple brothers ran the company its first years, it is now primarily operated by LeRoy and Floyd Whip-ple.

While the cost of the pop setups is attractive, LeRoy said he believes their customers are faithful because of the service the company offers. The company telephones each of its customers once a month to determine if they are happy with the service.

"The thing that's kept us going is it's an honest-to-goodness good deal backed up with excellent service," LeRoy Whipple said.