The end of prohibition produced a number of business opportunities and new markets for entrepreneurs nationwide, and Shore Point Distributing Co. founders James and Agnes Annarella took advantage immediately. The two obtained a wholesale distribution license and began selling Horton’s Beer. The following year, they started distributing Schaefer Beer, forming the foundation of Shore Point Distributing Co. “This is what really built the company in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,” says Jim Annarella, grandson of the founder. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, the company began growing its portfolio and territory. The ’80s brought Coors, Boston Beer and Corona. Since then, Shore Point has added an impressive collection of craft and imports as well as launching a wine and spirits division.
The Freehold, N.J.-based company has remained successful throughout the decades as a result of its talented and dedicated employees. “We invest in our people,” Annarella says. “Many people here have been with us a very long time, and they know our portfolio and our customers very well. They are the ones we go to when we put together plans each year for how we’re going to go to market. With such a large portfolio, we need to manage our time very well, and plan our growth strategies.”
Throughout the past several years, Shore Point Distributing has enjoyed steady growth, but its most recent expansion occurred as a result of moving into a new facility. “We outgrew our building a number of years ago,” Annarella says. “We purchased 90 acres down the street and built a 270,000-square-foot facility that includes 27,000 square feet of office space.”
The company moved from a 100,000-square-foot facility with about 6,500 square feet of office space. “We were getting to the point where we were on top of each other, and the warehouse was jam packed,” Annarella admits. “In our new facility, we have been able to become more efficient. We now have beautiful training rooms, and a state-of-the-art building. I have a hard time imagining that we will grow out of our current facility, but who knows what will come in the future.”
As one of the larger beverage distributors in the state serving six New Jersey counties, the company sets itself apart by providing unique services. “Our level of service is unmatched in the industry,” he says. “The customer always comes first, in both our on-premise and off-premise sales force.”
Strategy for Success
Each year, the company develops a unique growth plan, providing guidance for all divisions of the business. However, the 2008 collapse of the financial markets, along with volatile weather patterns, provided a number of serious challenges for the company. “This was difficult, because many of our markets rely heavily on weather,” Annarella says. “We had the perfect storm of bad market conditions and a summer full of rain, but we were able to salvage the year pretty well.”
Shore Point Distributing focused on internal issues, and was able to grow stronger during these slow times. “We spent a lot of time dissecting a lot of processes, and analyzing our policies to fine tune for greater results,” Annarella says.
The company organized a Kaizen event to solve breakage problems in the warehouse, and achieved extremely positive results. “We actually brought people in who were actually involved in touching the product, and they truly studied the problem to come up with solutions,” he says. “They made recommendations to management, and we implemented new policies where we saw appropriate. Eventually, we achieved a significant decrease in breakage.”
In the future, the company will continue to pursue opportunities for continued growth, and consider acquisitions when necessary. “We always have our eyes and ears open,” Annarella says. “More than anything else, we will continue to grow by doing the right thing every day. We will overcome the challenges that are within our power, and look for opportunities to capitalize on them and move on to the next.”
Employees remain dedicated to helping the company find success. Many workers have made long-term careers at Shore Point Distributing.