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Odwalla shuts down: Bay Area smoothie brand ceases operations

The Mango Tango smoothie is no more.

Coca-Cola is ceasing operations of its Odwalla juice business and retiring the refrigerated trucks that deliver fresh bottled smoothies to stores and coffee shops, the Wall Street Journal announced last week.

The company made the call “given a rapidly shifting marketplace and despite every effort to support continued production,” John Hackett, President of Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid business unit, which includes the company’s juice brands, said in a statement sent to CNN Business.

Odwalla got started in Santa Cruz in 1980. The company's founders Greg Steltenpohl, Gerry Percy, and Bonnie Bassett squeezed orange juice with a second-hand juicer in a backyard shed and sold their product to restaurants from the back of a 1968 Volkswagen van.

The business boomed, and the headquarters were moved to Half Moon Bay in 1995. The following year the company faced a huge downturn after a batch of apple juice tainted with E. coli killed one person and sickened 66. The company improved safety procedures and eventually recovered.

Cocal-Cola purchased Odwalla for $181 million in 2002.

As of the result of the closure, 300 jobs will be lost.

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Amy Graff is the news editor for SFGATE. Email her: agraff@sfgate.com.

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