Things go better with the Quadrant for Coke chiefs

A Swansea city centre café was this week the scene for a summit meeting of the European heads of one of the world’s most iconic brands.

National directors for Coca-Cola from several European countries were at The Gallery restaurant in the city’s Quadrant Shopping Centre for a special meeting.

Those present included Hubert Patricot, President of Coca-Cola Enterprise European Group, as well as the soft drinks giant’s top men in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden who flew into the country for the day.

They chose Swansea because Coca-Cola are one of the headline sponsors of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Torch is visiting Swansea on May 26.

Clif Roberson, who runs The Gallery and Trenchers in the Quadrant Centre, said: “It came out of the blue but they came here because we are retailers for Coca-Cola and they were visiting a number of their outlets in the area.

“They’ve flown in specially to visit the area and it’s a good endorsement for us. It’s our first European summit meeting and hopefully we’ll host a few more in future.

“We’re just delighted they chose us to hold their meeting so we reserved a special section for them and we just hope they enjoyed what we’re able to provide.

“We do a nice line in home-baked cakes and so I’m sure they would have been impressed with them.

“The Quadrant is at the heart of Swansea and for one afternoon ar least it has been the corporate centre of Europe for Coca-Cola and that certainly puts us and the city on the map.”

Jon Davies, Regional Sales Manager for Coca-Cola for Wales and the West and a Swansea man himself, said: “It is very much off the cuff but we’ve had seven or eight European directors coming to Swansea at 24 hours notice.

“We’ve been taking them to see our independent retailers in the area, including Trenchers and The Gallery, and then we’ve returned to hold an informal meeting here.”

Clif’s wife, Ruth,, a co-director of Trenchers and The Gallery, looked after the Coke chiefs during their stay and she said: “It was a pleasure to have them here. We have a good partnership with Coca-Cola.

“I’ve always thought this was a good place to hold meetings because it’s so central but I must admit I’ve always thought of it being central in terms of Swansea rather than to Europe.

“We do have our chare of celebrities with some of the local footballers and international rugby players coming in and we’ve had showbiz stars in as well but to have Coca-Cola’s top men was definitely a first.”

Photograph: Hubert Patricot, centre left, President of Coca-Cola Enterprise European Group and Matthew Preece, Coke’s Swansea Boost Zone Representative, with Clif and Ruth Roberson, of Trenchers Café in the Quadrant Centre