Leaders Forum: George Tsapoutas, General Manager, The Distributors

As part of the 2022 Leaders Forum George Tsapoutas, General Manager of The Distributors, discusses navigating the pandemic, the current focus of The Distributors, and the joy of working with the group.

C&I: What were the highlights for The Distributors in 2021?

Tsapoutas: 2021 for The Distributors was just as challenging as navigating 2020. Like the convenience industry, we needed to continue to manage COVID restrictions, lockdowns, border closures and all the while ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our staff and customers. The highlight for me personally was just how well The Distributors members were able to do all of that and maintain a fantastic level of service to our national and local customer base.

C&I: What will be the focus for The Distributors for the remainder of 2022?

Tsapoutas: It will be more of the same from The Distributors, providing national coverage with localised service. We are coming off the back of being awarded a number of customer and industry supplier awards and we will continue to focus on improving our service levels to the industry. Having said that, the current manufacturer and supplier supply chain issues have put enormous pressure on supply for everyone. 

C&I: How is the convenience channel evolving? And how can retailers best prepare themselves for the future?

Tsapoutas: The investment that retailers are making in their networks to attract and retain shoppers over the past few years has brought energy and focus into the segment. As we move away from COVID lockdowns and consumers needing to shop local, the investments made in the sector will help retain and grow the number of consumers using their local convenience store. 

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

Tsapoutas: Dealing with people and the complexity that is wholesale distribution. The Distributors operate across an industry that still values relationships and service, we have more than 40,000 customers nationally and represent over 200 suppliers with more than 6000 SKUs, and the team works hard to do that well. The Distributors are family-based wholesalers and pride themselves on their family-based values and service. Being able to represent the group and work with them and the support office team is what I enjoy most.

I would like to just add a thank you to the convenience industry for its support of The Distributors and add that we look forward to continuing our relationship with this fast-paced and vibrant market sector.

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