Editor’s note: The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Southeast, based in Miami, publishes a monthly interview spotlighting members of its newly established Georgia chapter, which seeks to showcase and grow business ties between the country and the state that already is home to more than 60 Italian firms. Learn more about the new chapter here or find more stories on our Italy channel at globalatlanta.com/italy. Sign up for monthly Italy newsletters here.
This month, the chamber caught up with Bertrand Lapoire, the CEO of Neodistributing -Enomatic Southeast USA, to discuss their high-quality wine preservation and distribution products. The interview has been edited for length and clarity and republished with permission.
IACCSE: Please tell us a little bit about Enomatic Southeast USA and its Origins.
Mr. Lapoire: Enomatic SRL, the inventor of automated wine dispenser and preservation systems, was founded 20 years ago in the heart of Tuscany, in Greve in Chianti. After spinning off from the original U.S. importer who covered the period 2004-08, we founded Enomatic Southeast USA in 2009 which makes us the longest-running U.S. dealer for Enomatic, covering the largest territory with 18 states. Our technology can be enjoyed by the public in wine bars, wine stores, restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and even movie theaters around the country. We are well known for the self-serve concept that consumers love but still a lot of our business is for units used by the staff.
IACCSE: Who are your main competitors and what makes Enomatic Southeast USA unique?
Mr. Lapoire: We really have two competitors sharing this once niche market. They both took a different approach by being more entry-level, or low-tech, which is reflected in the price. With the largest manufacturing capability, quick turnaround, a clear focus on quality, and after-sales service we are the premium technology of choice for large accounts’ roll-outs and independent operators alike.
IACCSE: How was the business started and when did you end up in Georgia?
Mr. Lapoire: The company we originally spun off was based in Atlanta. They were European wine importers so setting up in Atlanta was a strategic choice due to distribution logistics and travel opportunities. Later, we remained in the same location which makes a lot of sense for our area of distribution. Personally, I moved to Atlanta in 2006, and with all the connections and friends we made over the years, I can’t see myself moving anywhere else.
[pullquote]Personally, I moved to Atlanta in 2006, and with all the connections and friends we made over the years, I can’t see myself moving anywhere else.[/pullquote]
IACCSE: Are there any business numbers that you would like to share with us?
Mr. Lapoire: We have five full-time employees in our main office and contract several service providers across our territory to help our customer base with technical support and ongoing training. We cover 500-plus customers trusting our solution across 800-plus locations.
IACCSE: What kind of experience did Enomatic USA have during COVID 2019?
Mr. Lapoire: Since we mainly cater to the hospitality and entertainment industries, we have been severely impacted as our clients shut down temporarily, or sometimes definitely, with an immediate drop in the service revenue. Our retail clients (wine stores and grocery stores mostly) or apartment complexes have been very resilient and many of them are thriving by continuing on with the projects they had in the pipeline. We made sure our technicians adhered to the highest standard of hygiene when they visited our clients for installations and services.
IACCSE: What is the first goal you reached as a business and what is your goal over the next year?
Mr. Lapoire: Our goal for the future is to further diversify our services and provide more complementary products to our clients and target bases. We already sell cocktail dispensing systems (made in Milan) and have recently started promoting a new line of cabinets and wine racks. We are eyeing an Italian brand of wine coolers that we would like to start importing in the U.S. and we are excited about the prospects.
IACCSE: Are you in business with other Italian companies here in Georgia or American businesses oriented towards Italy? What can you share with us about it?
Mr. Lapoire: JAS Forwarding, has been our freight forwarder for 10 years now and they are the reason we initially joined the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in the Southeast. Their enthusiasm for the Atlanta chapter they spearheaded was contagious.
IACCSE: Any other information you would like to share, e.g. hobbies, special interests, family, etc.
Mr. Lapoire: I cannot wait to return to Italy and enjoy the Tuscan food and way of life when I go visit the manufacturer.
CEO Neodistributing LLC – Enomatic Southeast USA