Beverage industry veteran Norman Bonchick, chairman and CEO of 375 Park Avenue Spirits, retired August 1 from active management of the company. He will continue working with the privately owned import firm in a limited capacity as a consultant, however.
Current President and COO Jason Schladenhauffen has been named to assume Bonchick’s duties as CEO.
“Norman’s influence on the industry throughout his storied career is unparalleled,” says Schladenhauffen. “The relationships he’s built as a result of his people first approach will leave a legacy well beyond his years. His steady hand has ably guided this company for almost 15 years and I look forward to building on those many successes in the years ahead.”
Bonchick’s career in the industry spans nearly 50 years. He got his start in 1971 at Joseph E. Seagram, where he served as the assistant division manager before becoming the president of South Shore Liquors in Chicago. In 1986, Bonchick relocated to Florida where he joined National Distributing Company of South Florida and was later named managing director, a role he held for seven years.
In 2004, Bonchick made a major career change by joining a small importer, Van Gogh Imports, as national sales manager, then president. At the time, the company was dedicated to a single brand, Van Gogh Vodka. In 2008, Bonchick assumed the duties of Chairman and CEO. Under his leadership the company steadily expanded by diversifying the portfolio and adding personnel.
In 2015, Bonchick brokered a deal in which Van Gogh Imports changed its company name to 375 Park Avenue Spirits, becoming an independent, yet fully integrated, sales company within the Sazerac Company. This decision allowed 375 Park Avenue to benefit from Sazerac’s full array of resources and growing reach in a competitive market, thus meeting Bonchick’s goal of ensuring 375 Park Avenue Spirits would be large enough to guarantee its longevity after his retirement, the company says.
About the same time, Bonchick decided it was time to re-launch and refresh the Van Gogh Vodka brand in 2016. As part of the rebirth, Bonchick introduced a new visual identity designed to contemporize the brand and capture new consumers.
Bonchick says he is most proud of “putting together a team of highly skilled and motivated people that has allowed the company to flourish. I didn’t want to just build a company. I wanted to build a family, and one of the things I most look forward to in my retirement is keeping in touch with all the great people I’ve met along this journey.”
Based in South Florida, Bonchick plans to spend more time with his family and friends, traveling, and continuing his work with United Community Options (UCO) of South Florida, formerly known as United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida.