Heidelberg Star February 2022
Wine Sales Professional
For Cincinnati Wine Sales Professional Matt Veerkamp, getting a position with Heidelberg Distributing was an opportunity to get back into the industry he began his career in. A phone call to his best friend since elementary school started him on the path to a line of work that he looks at as not just a job, but a career.
“Before coming to Heidelberg I worked in the grocery industry for about six years. It started as a summer job after I finished at LaSalle High School in Cincinnati,” Matt said. “Eventually I got hired on full time and kept working while going to school at the University of Cincinnati. After leaving the grocery business, I worked in the mortgage industry for a while before reaching out to my best friend since elementary school, Heidelberg Wine Sales Professional Doug Dehler. He said Heidelberg was hiring for a merchandiser position, I went in for an interview and got the job and have been here ever since. Going on 15 years now, I am definitely in it for the long haul.”
In October of 2007, Matt began working as a wine Merchandiser and jumped right in during the OND holiday rush. After spending around four months learning the business, Matt got his own sales territory in January of 2008 and has been working as a sales pro ever since. “The top things that have been the keys to the success that I have had starts with having a good relationship with your accounts,” says Matt. “Having a really good relationship with your buyers and store managers is key. They’re going to need you for things and you’re going to need them for things so that relationship is important. The second thing is, when you walk into any account, have a game plan. Know what you’re going to talk about and what your focus for their store is. Knowing their business is going to help you.”
The relationships that Matt has built up over his career with his retail accounts coupled with the portfolio that Heidelberg has in the market makes has given him a big advantage when walking into an account. “While there is always some movement in the industry with brands, most consumers are very loyal to their favorite wine,” says Matt. “That doesn’t mean we don’t try and get them to branch out a little! Being able to get samples back into accounts again, gives us a great opportunity to get customers to try something new and gives us the chance to interact with everyone, which has been great.”
Matt and his wife are almost empty nesters with their three kids fully grown. “I have a 34-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter who are out of the house,” said Matt. “Our youngest son is 19 and is going to nursing school full time, so he is in his own world, with that.” While he used to spend a lot of his free time coaching his kids in sports, now he and his wife are helping foster animals. “We’re involved fostering dogs with SAP, the Stray Animal Adaption Program,” Matt said. “At one point we had our two dogs and our cat plus seven puppies we were taking care of as well!”