The Tasting Panel magazine

Tasting Panel October 2010

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IN THE BIZ The Long Haul I by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle t was sometime after 1986, when Sheldon Stein first joined Bear Stearns in Dallas, that two important things happened on the road to his future: 1. He began buying wine futures, especially first growth Bordeaux. (Now he’s par- tial to full-bodied Cabernets.) 2. He began working with Glazer’s Distributors on strategic issues. (Now he’s President and CEO of the company.) Today, as Glazer’s point man, Stein calls the shots for one of the nation’s larg- est beer, wine and spirits distributors, with revenues approaching four billion. While still settling into the company’s headquarters in Dallas, he explains to THE TASTING PANEL that the transition from outside advisor to President wasn’t too difficult. “I wasn’t in the industry, but I wasn’t a stranger either,” Stein recalls. “The fact that I’ve been involved with this company for a number of years puts me ahead of the curve a bit. I know the strategic issues for Glazer’s because I’ve been looking for them.” Because the beverage industry is at its heart a logistics business, Stein says he’s paying close attention to the real estate, trucking and other businesses already embedded in Glazer’s performance model. But partnerships and other strategic alliances seem to be at the top of his ten-year plan to bring revenues up to $10 billion. Despite working in a shaky economy, this former investment banker’s game plan can be summed up in one word: growth. “It’s all about growth for me,” Stein says forthrightly. “Anytime there’s an unsettled aspect of the economy, that’s the time to grow. I know that’s ambi- tious, but my experience has always been that, in the life of a company, to go from zero dollars to 100 million is very difficult. Once you’re up there, to increase dramatically isn’t easy—but it’s a lot easier with the right focus on growth.” He has 100 years of growth to build onto already. In 1909, Louis Glazer opened a soft-drink company in Texas; after Prohibition was repealed, Glazer’s became primarily an alcoholic bever- age company. It’s still family-owned and continues to build its success, in part, with brand equity and brand loyalty. “Ultimately, it’s about serving our clients to make them happy,” says Stein. “Client relationships, performance and service—that’s what we’re about. That’s what I need to be about in this position. We have a family that is very supportive. The family knows what it means to be in this for the long haul, so I’m looking long-term. Glazer’s is going on its 101st year—and I’m looking to our 200th.” Eyes on the future: Sheldon “Shelly” Stein, President of Glazer’s Distributors, at the company’s headquarters in Dallas. 2 / the tasting panel / october 2010 SHELDON STEIN, PRESIDENT OF GLAZER’S DISTRIBUTORS, BUILDS ON THE PAST TO LOOK TOWARD THE FUTURE Client relationships, performance and service—that’s what we’re about.”

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