Southern Wine & Spirits

  www.southernwine.com
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Southern Wine & Spirits Reviews

Updated Jul 14, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 121 reviews

61% Approve of the CEO

Southern Wine & Spirits Chairman and CEO Harvey R. Chaplin

Harvey R. Chaplin

(59 ratings)

44% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Many locations around the United states offer great benefits(in 7 reviews)

  • great pay and benefits for where i live in south carolina(in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Upper management clearly does not care about those working at the entry level(in 12 reviews)

  • There is a noticeable "good ole boy" network in action(in 4 reviews)

121 Employee Reviews
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Family owned and contributes to community

    Management (Current Employee)

    ProsCare about giving back to community, quick expansion country wide, good benefits

    Conscould spend more time on succession planning

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    CIRCUS ACT WITH PWS DIVISION

    Sales Manager (Current Employee)

    Prosit can be a fun work environment at times when you are visiting on premise accounts and having cocktails with bar managers/owners discussing new items or new opportunities.

    ConsHalf of our job is smoke and mirriors with phony distribution to satisfy Diageo's un relaistic goals. Middle Mgmt paid on profit, Senior Leaders paid on making the number. Profit and making the goal never go in the same direction.. incentives taken away, expense account reduced, more expecations for less. Goals always change that affect our bonus.. SWS side (better division) of company has a differnet set of rules. Too many meetings and poor spends like taking the entire sales and mgmt out of the field on a week long cruise for meetings.... Poor Spend? $500,000..

    Advice to Senior ManagementNote: You think the moral is the highest its ever been? Not a chance! Get your heads out of the sand! People are constantly looking for new jobs. we are tired of hearing "we just need to get through this half and things will be a whole lot better"... for who?? Pay should be equal for SWS and PWS mgmt.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Stay away from this company if you want your sanity!

    On Premise Sales Consultant (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsWhen hired at this company I was ecstatic. I was promised great pay, great benefits, and so on. Being with this company for quite some time now the only pro for working at SWS is free samples, how sad is that.

    ConsMy hiring manager was fired right after I was hired, this should have been a red flag. I figured since the law in WA had recently changed there would be a lot of movement. We are coming up on three years since the law changed and well, the dust at Southern has not settled. Upper management dances around and will never give you a straight forward answer about ANYTHING. We were moved to commission and the day it went into effect we were told they would be bringing everyone down to 2% regardless of what we were told during our one on one meeting with our directors. When we asked if you would have to sign our new agreement form they simply replied 'no because the % was not on anyone's agreement when they signed' sneaky right? Coming from off- premise and now being in on- premise was a transition, bumpy to say the least. There are very few buyers that like Southern. We are told to lie and even "expense a meal" to sell in new products to hit goals. This company's moral compass does not exist. But! Don't get caught doing anything in those gray areas because you WILL be reprimanded and brought in for questioning, even if you took direct instructions from your director and VP. This past month we have lost over 5 employees in my division alone, that's about 50% in my direct zone. The turnover rate is horrible but it comes with the territory when a company is so out of control. Don't bother talking to HR, they too are an HR issue and with not do anything with the information you give them. Last year I was hospitalized due to stress and all my director said was "request your time off". Business is business, that's understood, however would a little bit of sensitivity hurt? I'm bitting my tongue and promise not to name drop but it's so hard with so many rotten apples at this company (upper management- directors and higher). At this point I'm not sure what would save this company, we have been kicked out of so many accounts due to the lack of "importance" shown. I would love to say I have visited all accounts but that's not realistic. I currently have about 100 accounts. Our job description: sales consultants. What we actually do: take orders, deliver product that was missed by the drivers, collect money that was not collected by the driver, spend countless hours driving to and from the warehouse picking up product- horrible out of stock issues, staff training, sit in day long meetings (which effects our commission, if you're not out selling how can you make money?) and of course sale! We were promised to have about 40 quotas, we have more than double that. If you do not attain 70% you will get written up. The goals change weekly, go figure. We are set to push certain products so that upper management can win incentives. About six months ago I sold a lot of a certain product to win a trip, the week of the trip we were told that "sales reps" cannot be taken on incentive trips although it was on our incentive deck. So while we, the sales consultants, work hard we get the short end of the stick. Your lucky if you even get a t-shirt from a supplier. We all know WHY we aren't allowed to take incentive trips, a couple years ago someone was not responsible on a trip, long story short the person that ruined it for us was then promoted. They most know someone because they have been reported to HR multiple times. This company is completely delusional. I mean really. Your base pay will be 25,000 they up-sell you by telling you commission is great and they will show you numbers. Pay attention to the numbers- should you decide to apply. Of course my director is not very "savvy" for a lack of better words. He show me what my territories potential was and with a smile said "think about it, it's great" so I did think about it. This new territory raised my pay by a totally of $60 a year! Incredible! Now I can afford the meals that I'm unable to expense- your expense budget is $200 a month. If you commute far you pay more that that on the toll. Car allowance, well, covers just enough to have you wasting your gas all day, it will not cover the milage spent. You have to change your insurance policy to make sure you're covered in case of an accident, but you will not be reimbursed for it. There's no work-life balance. My director insists on emailing all Sunday, but of course if you need anything on a Friday do not count on them. While they "clock out" we are out fixing delivery mistakes until 6-9pm depending how lucky you get. On weekends upper management visits our accounts, of course expensing lavishing expensive meals. First thing Monday you will hear about how great the meal was and what you need to do to improve in this account. I'm sorry I can't build relationships with my buyers with a $200 expense budget "hi, I work for a wine and spirit company but I can't afford a drink, I'll take a water" pathetic! Our "top guy" in charge of WA state once said that in order to be successful you have to work day in and day out including weekends. Yet he has done nothing to better the problems we have been facing. He's delusional and pretends everything is peachy. As long as he is receiving his nice check we sales reps can all go eat dirt. Earth to ' Top Guy' your "company" would not be here without our hard work! Not to mention your ugly demeanor reflects on upper management- they are just as ugly. They only ones that actually work are those doing manual labor. Sales reps, district managers (with our turnover rate they have to fill in.- I used to wanted to get promoted but there's no way, I actually feel bad and sympathize with our DMs) and the great staff that works at the warehouse. 'Top guy', would it kill you to appreciate us? I took my salary and divided it by the hours work. I'm making about $10 an hour. Is McDonald's hiring!? All said and done, this company will never change unless they get new management and maybe change their name because at this point anyone that knows about this distributor in the state of WA will cringe at the name. Working here has been hell. And that's why it will be leaving.
     (I wrote this a few months ago before leaving the company, I had not posted it because I feared getting in trouble, HR does a great job interrogating anyone that might "threaten" the company)

    Advice to Senior ManagementHang up your jersey and call it a day, you've done enough damage. If you truly care about this company it would be in better hands. From what I hear the situation has only worsen in the past months. (I was told by multiple ex-colleagues).

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    If you enjoy having any time away from work, not the company for you.

    Sales Representative (Former Employee)

    ProsYou work with wine and spirits, which is fun. You get many perks from being in the business - samples, events, hookups at your accounts. They like to promote from within. Great benefits and tuition reimbursement.

    ConsSeriously lacking in training. Management in general is not good. Lack of resources. You are way overworked and under paid. Expect to be on-call 24/7.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTrain your teams better. Offer more support and guidance. Offer some positive feedback sometimes. Company morale is low because employees are not appreciated and no one listens to the feedback we give. The expectations are ridiculous.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Very dysfunctional and unprofessional interview practices - Don't waste your time

    Director (Current Employee) Miramar, FL

    ProsThey are practically a Monopoly! They are the nation's largest wine and spirits distributors.
     If you operate a restaurant, club or liquor store you have to deal with Souther Wine. So it doesn't matter if idiots run the company, you don't have much choice.

    ConsHierarchical, lack of innovation, nepotism,

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhere do I start? Hire recruiters that are professional, understand best talent acquisition practices, follow through and understand the pros and cons of employee brand and the power of social media.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Good Ole Boy Mentality

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Tampa, FL

    ProsGaining experience and Networking opportunities

    ConsBasically think of them as the Mobsters of Wines & Spirits. Everything you would expect from that statement of being true is true. Such as... Not a place for a woman to advance in her career. Typical corporate backdoor handshaking atmosphere coupled with the good ole boy mentality.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Brand Manager

    Trade Development Manager (Current Employee) Indianapolis, IN

    ProsGreat perks of the industry

    ConsSense of "entitlement" from management

    – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Not for everyone, but fine for those that develop a thick skin

    Administrative Assistant (Current Employee) Hollywood, FL

    ProsGreat benefits (401k, Health/Dental/Vision), the "new" SWS vision is emerging and most of the "old" SWS employees that practiced bad work ethics are beginning to retire and/or be terminated. I am very hopeful I will still be employed to see that new vision finally take place.

    ConsVery few advancement opportunities for women. If you are offended by curse words, look elsewhere, these words are a staple inside the office.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart valuing the hard work, ideas and time put in by lower level employees. Give up a few incentive trips and expensive dinners and share the wealth with people below your pay grade. Those are the employees that really make this company run smoothly. Give the same perks (time off without using a personal day) as you do to yourself.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

     

    This company cannot retain their employees

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe training was great and made everyone excited for the position.

    ConsAfter teams easily met sales goals they were so inflated the next month you couldn't hit more than a couple, if that.
    Lack of management involvement

    Advice to Senior ManagementLead your teams so they want to do well and stay with the company.

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Merchandiser

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsVery big company planty of places to move to, and room to advance

    ConsAgressive environment, if you are not willing to work hard then this is not the job for you

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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