Utahn With ‘Coke Room’ Collects Major Surprise From Local Coca-Cola Execs
DRAPER, Utah — For more than 6 decades, Elna Berlin has been fascinated with Coca-Cola, dutifully collecting and compiling memorabilia from different eras, states and countries.
Today, the 86-year-old’s shrine to the soft drink resides in her basement.
Berlin affectionately calls it her ‘Coke room’—a space where antique mementos and trinkets are displayed from floor to ceiling and everywhere in between.
“When people come who have ever been to see it, I’ve said, ‘would you like to see my Coke room?’” Berlin explained. “’What’s a Coke room?’ So I take them down and they go, ‘oh my gosh!’”
After a KSL story in January highlighted the Coke room, workers and executives at Draper-based Swire Coca-Cola, USA became mutually fascinated with Berlin’s collection.
“To have someone that had such a love for the brand and has been a collector for a long time, it was just something that was really neat and it just struck a chord with everyone around here that we needed to do something,” said Swire president and CEO Jack Pelo.
Elna Berlin has been fascinated with Coca-Cola and its memorabilia for 6 decades. Turns out, the fascination is mutual. A pretty cool follow-up to our ‘Coke room’ story, TONIGHT @KSL5TV at 10p #KSLTV #Utah pic.twitter.com/2BHhnnrtLT
— Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) May 16, 2019
On Monday, Swire executives invited Berlin and her family to tour the company’s headquarters and distribution warehouse—a massive, 500,000-square-feet ‘Coke room’ in its own right, known to house as much as 1.7 million cases of soda at any given time.
Pelo, though, was holding back on several surprises for Berlin, which he presented to her after the tour.
After handing Elna a bag full of Coca-Cola collectibles—including a bottle with her name on it—Pelo stunned Berlin and the rest of her family by giving her a “super VIP,” three-day, two-night trip for two to Atlanta to see the World of Coca-Cola.
Berlin said she was shocked, grateful and “my gosh, yes” she was excited to travel and see the World of Coca-Cola. “Atlanta is the world headquarters of Coke and they have a wonderful museum there and we wanted to do something special, so we just worked with our Coke people and set up the trip and worked on the airfare,” Pelo said. “She’ll have a great three days there in Atlanta.”
“It was the farthest thing from my mind!” Berlin beamed.