Heidelberg Star July 2021
Sales Professional Jon Kostalas knows the Youngstown market well. He grew up in the area and is a graduate of Youngstown State University. After completing his degree, he entered the job market and had a couple of sales jobs, selling insurance and cars, before landing a job as a merchandiser with Heidelberg in May of 2018.
“Once I started with Heidelberg, it didn’t take long to discover that selling beer and wine is much more fun than selling insurance or cars,” said Jon. He began his Heidelberg career as many sales professionals have as a merchandiser, also known as ‘sales support.’ “There were two of us, working as merchandisers, when I started,” Jon said. “We helped out both of the sales teams with whatever they needed; working on displays, printing signs and making sure the merchandise in the accounts looked good.”
Jon spent almost a year as a merchandiser before moving into a full time sales professional role. Starting in a support role made his transition into sales much smoother with the knowledge he gained. “Helping out in the accounts, getting to know the people running the stores and learning the catalog as a merchandiser was a big help,” says Jon. “Having grown up in the area was a big benefit as well but spending time in the accounts and working with the team of sales pros made the transition easier.”
Sales pros in the Youngstown market sell to both on and off premise accounts. When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, everything was turned upside down. “It was a difficult time for everyone,” Jon said. “We all had accounts closing in both on and off premise due to COVID. With on premise shutting down it was tough. Off premise got really busy and at times we struggled to get product to everyone because of the high demand. It was difficult but we got through it.”
Relationships for sales pros are always important and the key to being successful. During the past year according to Jon, it proved to be even more so. “Building relationships with my customers and accounts is vital. The most important thing to me is to listen to what their needs are. Working with them to make sure that as their rep and as their distributor that we are offering the best products and guidance for their accounts.”
Now that the weather has gotten warmer and the COVID restrictions have lessened Jon is excited to get back out on the links when he has some down time. “Being able to spend time playing golf and doing anything outside is great,” Jon says. “I am looking forward to getting back out there!”