For Immediate Release: October 24, 2014
St. Louis, MO—Major Brands, Inc., the leading Missouri-owned distributor of premium wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, today announced the establishment of the Todd Epsten Scholarship Fund and the Major Brands Family Emergency Fund. Both funds are being established in honor of Todd Epsten, the late CEO and chairman of the Company, and Major Brands’ 80th Anniversary.
The Todd Epsten Scholarship Fund will offer Major Brands’ employees, their spouses, children or grandchildren the opportunity to receive a $5,000 per year scholarship towards a community college, undergraduate, or graduate degree. Five scholarships will be awarded each year, and each student will be eligible to continue receiving the award throughout their studies. The Major Brands Family Emergency Fund will be able to provide immediate emergency financial relief to employees who have suffered an unexpected loss.
“Todd knew that the best way to build a business was to invest in people and the community. He believed in the power of education and he loved the Major Brands family. I can’t think of a better way to honor his passion for giving back,” said Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum. To further celebrate its 80th Anniversary, Major Brands will be giving every employee a loyalty bonus in recognition of their efforts in the company’s struggle for survival for the past two years. In that time, the company not only lost Todd to brain cancer, it also was terminated by two of its largest suppliers. One month ago, the parties in the Missouri trial of Major Brands against Diageo and Glazer’s settled the case for a substantial payment made to Major Brands.
“As the CEO of Major Brands, I will be eternally grateful to every member of the Major Brands team who stood with our company. Without their support, hard work, and faith, we would not be celebrating our 80th Anniversary. The Todd Epsten Scholarship Fund, Major Brands Family Emergency Fund, and loyalty awards recognize our employees’ commitment to both our company and the communities it serves, as well as our commitment to our employees,” McCollum added.
Major Brands is Missouri’s largest Missouri-owned statewide distributor of premium, wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. With offices in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis, it serves more than 9,000 customers and has more than 500 employees. It began operations in 1934, following the repeal of Prohibition. Joseph “Kewpie” Epsten founded the company, and Todd followed his father, Robert Epsten, as the third generation to lead the business. Sue McCollum, Todd’s wife, succeeded Todd as CEO and chairman, after his death in 2012.