3 min read

Morehouse, Candle in the Dark, Coca-Cola, a Smoke Shop, and a Sports Bar

Morehouse, Candle in the Dark, Coca-Cola, a Smoke Shop, and a Sports Bar
Coca-Cola Mercedes Benz Stadium

In 1992, I came down to Atlanta, GA from Oklahoma.  The culture shock was more than real.  Coming from my high school, where we were definitely the minority and encompassed less than 20% of the student population... to Black Atlanta.... Need I say more?  

Oklahoma as I recall was a Pepsi State.  I can remember RC Cola being popular also.  Although I've enjoyed many Pepsi products, I do not even know if RC Cola is still on the scene.  

Is it coincidence that Coca-Cola has been around at pivotal times of my life?

Morehouse College 125th Anniversary

1992 was a great Freshman Year.  We were also the class of 2000 so we had a great Coming and Going!  

For Freshman Spirit week, we were given this momento that I still have:  a custom Morehouse College 125th Anniversary Coca-Cola Bottle.  

Morehouse College 125th Anniversary Coca-Cola Bottle

While some of my classmates drank the bottle on the spot and threw it away, I have made it a goal to keep it through the years.  Now we are going on over 30 years!  

A Coca-Cola Employee

After a convoluted Atlanta life between being granted that bottle, and after leaving the path that I thought I would have at Morehouse College of being a Physician, I ended up working at Coca-Cola Corporate Headquarters.  

I worked to help relaunch Fanta.com.  I worked on the FIFA World Cup Coca-Cola Campaigns.  I worked to oversee Technology at the World of Coca-Cola museums.  I worked to over see the technology for Coca-Cola's Philanthropic divisions.  Just to name a few.... I was in Global Marketing Technology.  

Brandon Johnson Coca-Cola
Brandon Johnson & Dad Coca-Cola Headquarters
Brandon Johnson & Coca-Cola Bear

Coca-Cola and A Smoke Shop

Back in 2017, my wife Cindy and I opened up a Smoke Shop.  Little did we know, it would be the first of 4.  But when searching for Coca-Cola photos today in my Google Photos, to my surprise I was able to recollect that the coolers left in our retail location by a prior tenant were powered by ... guess who... Coca-Cola.  

Chandler, Brandon, Chase Johnson Coca-Cola & 404 Smoke Shop

Morehouse College Candle in the Dark & Coca-Cola

While working for Coca-Cola, I was able to work to oversee the technology that the Global Community Affairs department at Coca-Cola Corporate would use.  I am thankful for those relationships still, but a lady named Fran Killeen made sure that I had two great years of being able to attend Morehouse College's Candle in the Dark.  

Brandon and Cindy Candle in The Dark 2022

How awesome it was that the drink that I had been offered at the 125th Anniversary of my Alma Mater at the beginning of my matriculation... would bring me back to sit at the Coca-Cola sponsored table at Morehouse College's biggest fundraiser.  To see some of my College peers make donations that dwarf most people's salary for two to three years was humbling!

New Beginnings... 404 Sports Bar & Grill and Coca-Cola

While I would love to go back and work at Coca-Cola in the future, I left in June 2022.  Cindy and I opened up a restaurant.  More details coming soon in future posts...

However, Coca-Cola would be there also at this pivotal time.  It is the beverage company of choice for our Sports Bar & Grill.  

Brandon 404 Sports Bar & Grill Coca-Cola Install
Brandon 404 Sports Bar & Grill Coca-Cola Install

Black Atlanta is the home to new beginnings, to change, to transformation, invention, and re-invention.  Again, in knowing how important Atlanta has been in my life with opportunity, we will continue to seek others who know that Atlanta has been just that good to them also.  

Thank you Coca-Cola AND Atlanta for helping me to create an extraordinary life!