Annual Meeting

The Southern’s 100th Annual Meeting Recap
June 14-17, 2023 (vendor events June 16-17, 2023)

Naples Grande
475 Seagate Drive
Naples, Florida



Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors Hosts Successful 100th Annual Meeting
The Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors (SAWD) held its 99th Annual Meeting from June 14-17 with great acclaim. During the event, nearly 80 vendors from across the country met with 50 wholesale distributors over two days. “The Southern is where business gets done, but it’s always been about more than that,” said VJ Mayor, CAE, CEO of The Southern. “The familial atmosphere and networking opportunities are what makes this association and this event so special.”

Immediately following the meeting, Sam Stewart with Stewart Distribution, took over as president of SAWD, after Chad Pickel’s successful presidency. Other nominations were Jack Casanova (Lyons Specialty) as 1st Vice President, April Garver (SouthCo Distributing) as 2nd Vice President and Chris Smythers (Merchants Grocery ) as 3rd Vice President Pickel was recognized with The Southern Hershey Leadership Award for his contributions to the association and will assume the position as board chairman.

In addition to the Hershey Leadership Award, The Southern honored the following 2023 award winners:
– SLD Leader of the Year: Maria Miro-Narlock (Spotlight Innovations)
– Service Award: April Garver (SouthCo Distributing)
– Liberty Award: Jimmy Stewart (Stewart Distribution)
– Vendor of the Year: Michael Abhulimen (ITG Brands)
– Career Achievement Award: Sherwin Herring (SouthCo Distribution)

“Congratulations to all of the honorees,” added Mayor. “To be able to celebrate their accomplishments, not only to The Southern, but to the entire industry was amazing.”

The Southern also continued it’s longstanding Meetings with a Mission, with the conference raising $5,000 for K9s for Warriors.

The 2024 Southern Annual Meeting will be the organization’s 101st and is taking place from June 17-20, 2024 in Naples, FL. (NOTE: Date Shift in 2024- Monday through Thursday)