Great industry, great job but bad Executive Leadership.
On Premise Key Account Manager (Former Employee), Cerritos Ca – January 17, 2013
Pros: great $$ fun competitive work environment big perks
Cons: no diversity, unethical secret promotions, be prepared to battle against your own company, weak executive management
I worked for this company for 15 years, starting as a merchandiser and worked my way up to broad market management. The culture of SWS is aggressive, dominant and family like and the job itself is fun has a lot of perks. Along with your pay you can win trips to France, Italy, Hawaii or fun items like free product, snowboards or tickets. It is a great – more... job for those who just want to handle their own business and make serious good money. It is also fun to learn about wine and spirits.
Now the bad part. Recently the new executive management (EM) that has been put into place is horrible within the past 2 years. They are very frat boy culture and lacking in leadership abilities. Talking to the GM is like talking to a person with ADHD on sugar. No listening or reasoning skills whatsoever. It is also insulting that many of the new executive leadership have been brought in from the outside. This gives the message for those working their way up the ranks that their time and value is worth nothing. These outside people are not more qualified or have more experience they were just put into place because the person hiring was angry and competitive that the next person(s) in line would have outshined him (GM of California). They lack leadership and a connection to what is going on Nationally. California used to be the power house in the nation, now it's quite embarrassing. Also their behavior is truly unethical for an organization of this size. The fighting within the divisions (PWS vs. SWS) is crazy and embarrassing giving room for competitors to play us against one another. EM pretends to disapprove, but I have been in meetings where it is actually ignored and or encouraged (to take your brother out). Half of the executive staff moved over to Youngs (competitor) within the past 3 years. There is a reason!
The good - Promotions can be lucrative and great. There have been many people that started off entry level at 38,000/year and now make over 80 - 100,00/per year (some even more). However, the current Executive management is fat and frankly not skilled enough to handle the largest market in the nation. Attrition is the highest it has ever been. There is a reason! Florida, really needs to fix California by changing the SO Cal GM for both SWS and PWS. There has not been a true leader since B.V.
The saddest part about this job and has taken many a long time to figure out is that if you are female you will never get past a certain point in your career. There are currently no female V.P's. in California except for maybe 1, (out of about 70) the National HR V.P. who seems to discourage any other female getting promoted and seems to work very hard at terminating other females so she doesn't lose favor with the "boys". That is the most dangerous type of female. Just sad. Even the Director of HR and the Director of Customer Service for So Cal are not V.P.'s There is also one female DM that has been a mentor to us all, has run a team for over 10 years and consistently gets her employees promoted. Many of her employees have become V.P.'s and then insultingly become her boss. Just crazy. Yet in sales the GM keeps making his male buddies V.P.'s left and right, with less experience or business acumen. There is one V.P. that makes over 170,000 in L.A. and literally does nothing except eat fancy dinners, attend events and power trips while the sales reps, Key Account, and DM's do all the work. Last year (2012) they had a female Director of Events and a female Director of Training that were both amazing and well respected leave the company. When they left it broke the hearts of a lot of people we really looked up to them. I never saw any of the EM come into our classes or acknowledge their events. It told us, that they don't believe it, don't support it and don't really care. They were such a mentors to me/us and never spoke bad about the company even though we all saw the treatment. When they left, some of the EM's joked (in meetings) that they couldn't handle it or tried to smear their name so save face, but we knew better. Asa female I just stayed quiet for survival. This is when I really realized what my future would be with SWS and moved on to the supplier side.There is a reason why all the female managers are leaving (PWS, SWS). I know of many that are preparing to leave as I am writing this. I know we are losing sales left and right because the force is just unmotivated, know there will be no career growth.
In closing, this job has some great attributes and some not so great. Male's - great for a career but you may work your way all the up and have a younger less experienced person get the job. For a female it is a great job for about a 10year investment then you will probably want to move over to a supplier for career advancement. Good thing is that most don't know the internal dynamic and having SWS on your resume is valuable! If they can change the GM, EM of both SWS and PWS divisions and get a better structure this company would be amazing!! – less
Sales Consultant (Current Employee), Indianapolis, IN – December 19, 2012
The most enjoyable part of this career is the customer focus. I learned about selling to buyers of varying backgrounds, understanding the importance of listening, the crucial component of time management, and how organization will lead to great things.
Tampa Office Administrator (Former Employee), Tampa, FL – December 10, 2012
Pros: freedom to work unsupervised
Cons: too many politics
Very busy Constantly assisting other employees Learned Diver Sales Analysis Many co-workers Not being able to follow through with progress due to management decisions Love assisting co-workers, my boss, and customers
temp service (Former Employee), Lakeland, FL – December 6, 2012
Receive pull tickets, stack pallets together and stage in shipping area. Management is easy to get along with and works well with the employees. Co-workers work well with each other. I enjoyed the fast pace work.
Driver (Former Employee), Lakeland, FL – October 28, 2012
Cons: based on the "good ole boys' system
Very dificult company to have room for advancement, unless your part of the "click". Cutbacks are done from the bottom of the prymid, so workers doing labor work had to work 2 to 3 persons jobs duties for the same amount of pay. If you're not part of management there are no perks. This location works on the "good ole boys" system and does not have room – more... for women to advance into the operations management team. And beware, if you leave the company on bad terms, they WILL give BAD references and lie about it. Upper management if very capable of being untrustworthy. – less
Retail Sales Consultant (Former Employee), Indianapolis, IN – October 28, 2012
Pros: excellent pay/benefits
Cons: no mileage paid, no travel reimbursement for sales reps
Such a fun job. However, if you are married w/kids it can be extremely challeging. Especially for women. It's still a good'ol boys club. No one is really politically correct when it comes to male/female interaction at functions because there is always alcohol involved.
Territory Manager (Former Employee), Cerritos, CA – October 26, 2012
Pros: bonuses and trips
Cons: lack of time
Sold Liquor to the Drug and Gorcery Chains, implemented current Ads for the week as well as the month, meet qoutas, managed over 40 stores in 10 different cities, team oriented, the most difficult aspect of the job would have to be not having enough time to accommodate the request of all stores. the most enjoyable part of the job would be the final – more... success in the sales of a large order and building a mass display that showed my creative side. – less
Merchandiser (Former Employee), Las Vegas, NV – October 17, 2012
Cons: none really
loading stocking unloading beer wine and other spirits creating displays for seasonal ales . alot about wine tastings and wine making . management was the best i ever exp, did see 2 many co workers its a loner kinda job your by yourself all day, hardest thing about the job was unloading 2,000 box trucks and packing them in perfect date order , best – more... part of the job it was just fun overall ill say nothing bad about this company at all – less
Key account portfolio manager (Current Employee), Palm Beach and Broward Counties – October 17, 2012
Pros: healthcare, benefits, freedom to work on my own
I have been able to have 3 different positions within the company that has allowed me to learn all aspects of the business. A typical day at work is pre planinng, selling, follow up, knowing how to get things done.
Chain Territory Manager (Former Employee), Orange County, CA – September 24, 2012
Pros: good incentives, free booze and fun events/education
Cons: low pay, tons of driving and lack of opportunity for women
I loved this job, it was a ton of fun. Lots of perks including wine and spirit education, wine tastings, events, free bottles, as a matter of fact, one year I saved all of my "incentive" bottles and was able to supply my best friends wedding with ALL of their alcohol. That being said, it is a boys club and women have a difficult time moving up. There – more... is a ton of driving, with your own vehicle, but you are compensated with a monthly allowance. This bumps your paltry salary up a little bit too, if you don't have a car payment to cover. The suppliers set up goals that you need to meet and the incentives are typically generous, especially from the big brand houses so the bonus money is there even though your salary isn't great.The people that work here are great too, all like minded, and fun. All in all this is a great place to work, but like all jobs, has a few wrinkles. – less