| A Brief History of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida|
A Brief History of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida
Indeed, beginning with the state of Florida, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., which is based in Miami, embarked on an aggressive program of expansion into new markets, a process that continues to this day.
Since its founding in 1968, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), is the leading nationally recognized wine and spirits distributor in the United States known for its historic commitment to delivering the highest standards of customer service, creative marketing programs and partnerships. The Company is also known for its best-in-industry professional and well-trained sales, operational and support staff, its ongoing investments in and contributions to hospitality and beverage education for its staff, its customers and to many national educational institutions. In addition, Southern is justly respected for its deeply held belief in the importance of giving back, for being a socially responsible corporate citizen and for making generous contributions to national, state and local charitable organizations.
With more than 2,500 sales and support staff now working statewide in Florida, operating from key distribution hubs in the state - Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, a new facility in Lakeland (the largest in the state) and Pensacola - Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida is able to field a comprehensive distribution, marketing and merchandising network comprised of various executive, warehouse, educational, transportation and training facilities.
Taken together, these modern facilities are designed to provide excellence in customer service for on- and off-premise accounts as well as for brand owners and suppliers. Supported by these impressive operational capabilities, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida offers next-day deliveries to the state's hotels, resorts, entertainment theme parks, as well as to thousands of chain and independent restaurant and retail establishments operating from Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle to Key West in the South.
It is no exaggeration to say that Florida, with its Miami and Orlando markets in particular, qualifies as one of most challenging and growth-oriented beverage markets in the United States. “The Florida market, with 55 million tourists arriving annually, is one of the most diverse and demanding beverage markets in the United States,” says Steve Power, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida.
In the last 34 years alone, Mr. Power reports that the total population of the state has nearly doubled from about 10 million residents in 1976 to today's estimated statewide population of almost 19 million. As noted above, Florida is also an extremely varied market - from the ethnically diverse Miami metropolitan market to the huge domestic and international tourist markets concentrated in the central region of the state around Orlando, to the Gulf Coast and all the way to Jacksonville on the Atlantic seaboard, where many retirees and seasonal residents continue to visit and then settle down in dozens of thriving local and retirement communities.
According to Mr. Power, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida is deeply committed to its suppliers. He says, “Suppliers are really the lifeblood of our business because we don't own the brands we represent.” Mr. Power adds, “The key is how you perform for all your suppliers; we constantly study the opportunities for each brand, in each trade channel and each market.”
In June 2010, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida announced the establishment of a newly created North Division for its Florida operation; this division encompasses the Company’s former Central and existing North Florida divisions, and is headed by Barry Zeidwig, with his new title as Vice President, General Manager, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida, North Division. Power noted that John Wittig, Executive Vice President, General Manager, is in charge of the Company’s existing Southern Division.
According to Power, these statewide organizational and geographic changes come in the wake of the Company’s May 25, 2010 announcement of the appointment of Gene Sullivan as Vice President, General Manager of Coastal Wine & Spirits of Florida.
Wayne E. Chaplin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., said, “Consistent with our more streamlined structure in other large markets such as California and New York, we are confident this geographic adjustment in Florida will enhance our work on behalf of our Supplier Partners as well as our chain and independent retailers and restaurateurs.”
Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., added, “On behalf of our senior corporate management team and all our Florida Team members, I want to congratulate Barry on his new role and know that he and John Wittig will make an unrivalled team to take our Florida operations to the next level of service and operational excellence.”
Barry Zeidwig, Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida's North Division, which is based in Jacksonville, is equally confident about achieving future growth. Mr. Zeidwig says, “As a company, we want to continue our stellar growth and to increase our market share relative to our competitors.” Mr. Gene Sullivan, who was appointed Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida’s Central Florida Division in early 2006, emphasizes, as the Company gears up for still more growth there will be absolutely no compromises on individual and corporate integrity. Mr. Sullivan says, "Going forward, we want to maintain the high level of integrity that Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida is known for.”