|A Brief History of Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina|
Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina is one of the state's largest wine, spirits and beer distribution companies. A division of Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the leading nationally recognized wine and spirits distributor in the United States, the Miami, Florida-based distributor is 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 385 sales and support staff now working statewide in South Carolina and operating chiefly from one distribution center in the state, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina is able to marshal a formidable distribution, marketing and merchandising network. The Company's state-of-the-art Columbia facility is home to its various statewide executive, sales, administrative, educational, transportation and business operations. Altogether, the Company’s 365,000 square-foot complex is designed to provide excellence in customer service for on- and off-premise accounts as well as for brand owners and suppliers.
Moreover, the Columbia site is well suited for possible expansion in the future. Given these state-of-the-art operational facilities, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina offers next-day delivery capability to the state's hotels, golf clubs and resorts, as well as to hundreds of chain and independent restaurant and retail establishments operating from Greenville/Spartanburg, Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.
Noting how close to the market his sales staff is to all its South Carolina customers, Tom Collins, Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina, says proudly: "Provided the order comes in before 5:00 PM, we are the only wine and spirits distributor in the state who offers next-day delivery to our customers." That, according to Mr. Collins, is not the only attribute that distinguishes Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina from the competition.
For example, Mr. Collins explains that Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina is the only distributor in the state that employs a qualified, wine-educated six-person sales force, who can cover topics ranging from the essentials of Pinot Noir to the latest server-training issues. The Company also employs two full-time wine educators, Walter Sagrera and Chip McPheeters, who serve as the Fine Wine Manager and Educator, for both sales staff and for the Company's on- and off-premise customers.
Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina is the result of a series of mergers of a number of South Carolina-based distributorships acquired by Southern Wine & Spirits of America, beginning in 1993. At the time of these first acquisitions, the Company’s senior executives wanted to be absolutely clear to all employees and all the new distributor's customers that the newly formed entity would be staffed by South Carolina sales and support professionals.
First, in early 1993, Southern Wine & Spirits of America acquired the former Columbia Distributing Company and Richland-Carolina Distributing Company. These two deals were followed by acquisitions of the former Associated Distributing Company (June 1993), the former General Distributing Company (October 1993) and then, in 1995, the wine division of the Pearlstein Distributing Company.
What changes, if any took place following all these acquisitions? Mr. Collins says: "As large as Southern Wine & Spirits of America is, everyone here in South Carolina feels that they are part of a family organization. That's attributable to the close involvement that both Harvey and Wayne Chaplin [respectively Chairman and CEO, and President and COO of Southern Wine & Spirits of America] have in our operation here, and that's equally true for all our Company's operations across the country."
Moreover, when you add the close supplier contacts and technological resources possessed and shared by the national parent company, Mr. Collins says proudly that Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina's overall market share, "has definitely grown since the Company was first established in the State in 1993-as much by winning new brands and taking on new lines as by growing our existing brands and suppliers' lines."
According to Mr. Collins, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina is very confident about winning still more business in the future, "We are more aggressive and more concerned about providing good service to our customers than anyone else in the state." Indeed, the goal for the future, according to Mr. Collins, is very simple: "We want to be the Number 1 distributor in combined wine and spirits sales. We are already Number 1 in wine sales." He adds, "The South Carolina market has a great future in the development of wine, especially for premium and super-premium wine sales." As for spirits sales, Mr. Collins remains very committed to cultivating, "our premium and super-premium spirits on a statewide basis."
Overall, Mr. Collins says, "We have worked very hard with all our suppliers to reach a very close and productive working relationship." He also credits the Chaplin family of the parent company, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Chairman and CEO Harvey Chaplin and his son, Wayne, who is President and COO, with strengthening the ties to the Company's suppliers.
Noting South Carolina's strong, cohesive sales and management team, Mr. Collins proudly attributes much of the success to: "All the team members who have been with Southern Wine & Spirits of South Carolina since the beginning. A combination of teamwork, dedication and being part of a truly cutting-edge organization has enabled us to achieve what we have today. And keep watching us grow in the future."
Mr. Collins sums up by noting, "I think a lot of our close relationships here in South Carolina with our supplier partners are reflective of the overall strong relationships our parent company have with these supplier partners at the national level."
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, Southern operates in Minnesota through a joint venture with J.J. Taylor Distributing Company. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs nearly 14,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see: http://www.southernwine.com.