Asa Candler, head of Coca-Cola, was largely uninterested in bottling the popular soft-drink. Coke, as it was popularly called, was primarily distributed by taps at local soda shops through the 1880s and into the 1890s. Candler was solicited by a number of individuals who wanted to bottle the drink. Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead gained exclusive rights to bottle Coca-Cola and distribute it throughout the Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest. Thomas opened the first plant in Chattanooga and Whitehead (with investor John Lupton) opened the second in downtown Atlanta. Whitehead began marketing the product and the business quickly outgrew the original facility. The structure was designated a national historic landmark in 1983 and today houses the Georgia State University Baptist Student Union.