George Tsapoutas

Leaders Forum: George Tsapoutas, CEO, The Distributors

As part of the 2024 C&I Industry Leaders Forum, George Tsapoutas, CEO of The Distributors, discusses his highlights from the year gone by and what he predicts for the next 12 months in convenience retail.

C&I: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Tsapoutas: People. I really like dealing with the people in our industry and the complexity that is wholesale distribution. The Distributors operate across an industry that still values relationships and service, we have over 40,000 customers nationally and represent over 200 suppliers with more than 7000 SKUs and the group continue to work towards improving what we do each day. The Distributors are a national group of family-based wholesalers and pride themselves on their family-based values and service to the industry. Being able to represent the group and work with the support office team is what I enjoy most.

C&I: What have been the biggest highlights for The Distributors over the past 12 months?

Tsapoutas: There has not been one that stands out more than the other. The past year has been filled with many challenges from rising costs of goods and services through to staffing. The one thing The Distributors have been able to maintain is their focus on customer service and it is therefore pleasing to be recognised by the industry and customers for the service that we provide. As an example, the group is very proud to have been awarded the AACS Distributor Supplier of the Year in 2024 for the 10th year straight.

C&I: What will be your main priorities for the remainder of 2024?

Tsapoutas: National coverage with localised service. To do that we are working with manufacturers and suppliers to continue to improve on the supply chain issues that have put enormous pressure on supply to our segment. We will also continue to evolve and develop our online platforms.

C&I: What is your company doing to meet changing customer demands?

Tsapoutas: The Distributors have just held their Mid-Year 2024 Conference and our theme for this conference was ‘Tomorrow and Beyond’. We spent time looking at some of the industry challenges and listening to both customers and suppliers feedback and forming strategies for tomorrow. We are investing in our online presence, training, and developing of our frontline through our Advantage All-Stars programs and speed to market for both customers and suppliers. 

C&I: What do you predict the year ahead in convenience to look like?

Tsapoutas: Based on the last year, it would seem there will be more of the same. Change is the only constant. Along with more potential acquisitions taking place with the majors, the independents will continue to focus on their local shopper, providing them with good reasons to continue to shop and support local. The Distributors will be there to support both the majors and the independents with their market strategies.

To read more insights from leaders within the P&C and independent grocery channels, check out the latest issue of Convenience and Impulse Retailing magazine.

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