The Town Full Of Secret Coca-Cola Millionaires

At a glance, you wouldn’t think that Quincy, Florida, was once the richest town in the nation. It still retains a good deal of wealth today, but it’s not because of oil, gold, or any other naturally occurring substance. What made Quincy a town full of secret millionaires was a soft drink: Coca-Cola. In the midst of the Great Depression, local banker Mark Welch Munroe noticed that no matter how impoverished people were or how dire their financial situation, they would always spend their last nickel on a nice, frosty glass of Coca-Cola. That's what convinced Munroe that Coca-Cola would be the perfect long-term investment. Coca-Cola began publicly trading in 1919 for $40 a share, but by the time Munroe set his sights on it, the company had run into issues surrounding the wider sugar industry and Coca-Cola bottlers, and that brought the price down to $19 a share. Munroe might not have known Coca-Cola’s red-hot bargain price was the deal of the century, but he knew he liked what he saw. With the idea of bottom-line profits, Munroe started snapping up Coca-Cola shares like there was no tomorrow. Clearly not content with being the sole shareholder in Quincy, Munroe set out on a crusade to get anyone he could onboard the Coca-Cola gravy train. Whenever a person came into his bank for a loan, he’d encourage them to take out extra cash for shares of Coca-Cola. The direct result of Mark Welch Munroe’s actions practically kept the local economy alive and made Quincy the richest town per capita across the entire United States. Approximately 67 people from Quincy’s total 1940s population of less than 4,000 amassed grand fortunes, making them millionaires who established dynasties of financial prosperity for generations. Just to put this into perspective, a single Coca-Cola share from Munroe’s era with dividends reinvested would have amassed a total value of $10 million by 2013, paying around $270,000 as year. Today, Coca-Cola shares sell for $58.