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Our Story

In 1946, Mutual Distributing was a newly formed company in Raleigh, NC.

Our Story

In 1946, Mutual Distributing was a newly formed company in Raleigh, NC.

 In the beginning, Mutual was in mom-and-pop stores selling mostly beer and fortified wine with only a handful of employees. Over time, Mutual built a reputation for being reliable and established a satisfied customer base.

By the 1960s, Mutual had branches in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Kernersville, making it one of the largest distributors in the state, with a product list containing 50 items.

While Mutual was growing independently, Bill Kennedy and partner Leo Daughtry bought the small distributor J.W. Simons Company in 1972. Little did they know they would eventually merge with Mutual in 1978. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

This was a time in US history when 14-percent low-alcohol wine sales were rapidly growing, making the change in public consumption from spirits to table wine. According to Kennedy, “People’s taste in wine began to change.” Mutual experienced rapid growth as a result of this change.

Kennedy and Daughtry have been the sole owners of Mutual Distributing Company since 1985. Through acquisitions of branches, distributors, and territory rights with other companies, Mutual has become one of the largest distributors of wine and beer for the entire state of North Carolina.

The Mutual Commitment:

Suppliers

To provide suppliers with the best representation possible for their products while continuing to be an industry leader.

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Customers

To provide customers with exceptional products and service that consistently exceeds customer expectations.

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Employees

To provide employees with a positive work environment, employment conditions, and advancement opportunities.

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Over the years, Mutual has remained on the leading edge of technology and education in the wine, beer, and sake distributing industry

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The Information Technology team at Mutual implements the latest technology to streamline the warehouse and sales processes, allowing Mutual to provide the most accurate deliveries in the industry. Mutual sales team members are required to participate in continuing education opportunities through the company. In addition to the Raleigh operation, Mutual has beverage distribution facilities in Charlotte, New Bern, Wilmington, Elizabeth City, Asheville, Greensboro, Fayetteville (satellite), and Nags Head (satellite).

Mutual employs more than 700 people across the state.

Meet Our Team

  • William T. Kennedy
    William T. Kennedy
    Chief Executive Officer/Owner
  • N. Leo Daughtry
    N. Leo Daughtry
    Owner
  • William T. Kennedy
    William T. Kennedy
    Chief Executive Officer/Owner
  • N. Leo Daughtry
    N. Leo Daughtry
    Owner
  • Mark Bennett
    Mark Bennett
    Vice President of Operations
  • James Burkhardt
    James Burkhardt
    Chief Financial Officer
  • Jimmy Enzor
    Jimmy Enzor
    Vice President of Marketing
  • Scott Cash
    Scott Cash
    Vice President of Sales
  • James B. Staton III
    James B. Staton III
    Vice President of Information Technology
  • Lee Ann Kennedy
    Lee Ann Kennedy
    Director of Public Relations
  • Suzette Stroud
    Suzette Stroud
    Director of Human Resources
  • Kim Sear
    Kim Sear
    Epiphany Wine Company

Mutual’s success started in the family, but the company would not be where it is today without the dedication and hard work of its employees, who are considered family, too.

William T. Kennedy
Chief Executive Officer/Owner

Bill Kennedy and Leo Daughtry have been friends and business partners for decades. In 1969, Bill and Leo bought a tobacco auction warehouse in Smithfield, NC. They made their first investment in the wine wholesaler J.W. Simons Company a few years later, in 1972. Then, in 1978, J.W. Simons Company merged with Mutual Distributing Company.

Prior to venturing into the wine wholesale business, Bill lived in Reno, NV and worked in the banking industry. When Bill returned to NC, he and Leo operated their tobacco auction warehouse business together. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill has overseen Mutual’s portfolio growth and expansion across the state. Since the early 70’s, Bill has been a visionary and pioneer in the NC wine wholesale business.            

Leo served as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1969.  Leo also founded the Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling law firm in Smithfield, NC. In 1976, he became active in politics and was elected to the NC Senate in 1989. His political career has expanded to both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives and includes serving as both House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.    

Bill and Leo grew up in their hometown of Newton Grove, NC. They both currently live in Smithfield, NC.  

N. Leo Daughtry
Owner

Bill Kennedy and Leo Daughtry have been friends and business partners for decades. In 1969, Bill and Leo bought a tobacco auction warehouse in Smithfield, NC. They made their first investment in the wine wholesaler J.W. Simons Company a few years later, in 1972. Then, in 1978, J.W. Simons Company merged with Mutual Distributing Company.

Prior to venturing into the wine wholesale business, Bill lived in Reno, NV and worked in the banking industry. When Bill returned to NC, he and Leo operated their tobacco auction warehouse business together. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill has overseen Mutual’s portfolio growth and expansion across the state. Since the early 70’s, Bill has been a visionary and pioneer in the NC wine wholesale business.            

Leo served as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1969.  Leo also founded the Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling law firm in Smithfield, NC. In 1976, he became active in politics and was elected to the NC Senate in 1989. His political career has expanded to both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives and includes serving as both House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.    

Bill and Leo grew up in their hometown of Newton Grove, NC. They both currently live in Smithfield, NC.  

William T. Kennedy
Chief Executive Officer/Owner

Bill Kennedy and Leo Daughtry have been friends and business partners for decades. In 1969, Bill and Leo bought a tobacco auction warehouse in Smithfield, NC. They made their first investment in the wine wholesaler J.W. Simons Company a few years later, in 1972. Then, in 1978, J.W. Simons Company merged with Mutual Distributing Company.

Prior to venturing into the wine wholesale business, Bill lived in Reno, NV and worked in the banking industry. When Bill returned to NC, he and Leo operated their tobacco auction warehouse business together. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill has overseen Mutual’s portfolio growth and expansion across the state. Since the early 70’s, Bill has been a visionary and pioneer in the NC wine wholesale business.            

Leo served as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1969.  Leo also founded the Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling law firm in Smithfield, NC. In 1976, he became active in politics and was elected to the NC Senate in 1989. His political career has expanded to both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives and includes serving as both House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.    

Bill and Leo grew up in their hometown of Newton Grove, NC. They both currently live in Smithfield, NC.  

N. Leo Daughtry
Owner

Bill Kennedy and Leo Daughtry have been friends and business partners for decades. In 1969, Bill and Leo bought a tobacco auction warehouse in Smithfield, NC. They made their first investment in the wine wholesaler J.W. Simons Company a few years later, in 1972. Then, in 1978, J.W. Simons Company merged with Mutual Distributing Company.

Prior to venturing into the wine wholesale business, Bill lived in Reno, NV and worked in the banking industry. When Bill returned to NC, he and Leo operated their tobacco auction warehouse business together. As Chief Executive Officer, Bill has overseen Mutual’s portfolio growth and expansion across the state. Since the early 70’s, Bill has been a visionary and pioneer in the NC wine wholesale business.            

Leo served as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1969.  Leo also founded the Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling law firm in Smithfield, NC. In 1976, he became active in politics and was elected to the NC Senate in 1989. His political career has expanded to both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives and includes serving as both House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.    

Bill and Leo grew up in their hometown of Newton Grove, NC. They both currently live in Smithfield, NC.  

Mark Bennett
Vice President of Operations

Mark Bennett joined Mutual in 1989 via the East Carolina Distributing acquisition. Mark’s hometown is Garner, NC.

James Burkhardt
Chief Financial Officer

James Burkhardt joined Mutual in 1983 after graduating from West Virginia University. Prior to joining Mutual, James was an internal auditor with holding companies in Houston, TX. He oversees the communication of financial activity to internal and external users. James grew up in Courtdale, PA, and currently lives in Angier, NC.

Jimmy Enzor
Vice President of Marketing

Jimmy Enzor joined Mutual in 1978 as a computer operator. Over the years, Jimmy has worked out of the Raleigh, Charlotte, and Wilmington branches. He has assisted with managing sales and several acquisitions over the years as well. Jimmy’s hometown is Fair Bluff, NC.

Scott Cash
Vice President of Sales

Scott Cash joined Mutual in 2015. After graduating from the University of Florida, Scott started his career in the beverage industry in 1998 with the E & J Gallo Winery. Scott then worked for Constellation Brands for more than 13 years, calling on distributors in many states and serving as Director of National Accounts. Scott is proud to call Raleigh, NC home.

James B. Staton III
Vice President of Information Technology

After graduating from Ohio State University in 1978, Jim joined IBM in the Research Triangle Park of NC. In 1985, Jim moved to the IBM European Networking Center in Heidelberg, Germany. While at IBM, Jim was awarded two patents in communication protocol and an Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. In 1989, Jim’s career transitioned to Jim Staton Distributing, his family’s beer and wine wholesale distribution business in Greensboro, NC, where he was managing partner.

Jim has been a speaker and writer on topics ranging from communication protocols and programming to mobile applications. Jim’s hometown is Greensboro, NC.

Lee Ann Kennedy
Director of Public Relations

Lee Ann Kennedy joined Mutual in 1997 after graduating from Salem College. She started as an On-Premise Sales Representative in Charlotte and Raleigh. Lee Ann is responsible for Public Relations and is a Brand Manager of certain portfolios as well. Her hometown is Raleigh, NC.

Suzette Stroud
Director of Human Resources

Suzette Stroud joined Mutual in 2007. She was a Compliance Officer for the U.S. Department of Labor for 32 years before coming to Mutual. Suzette’s hometown is Benson, NC.

Kim Sear
Epiphany Wine Company

Director of Sales and Marketing for Epiphany Wine Company, the Specialty Wine Division for Mutual Distributing Company

Kim Sear has more than 25 years of experience in the wine industry. Before working at Mutual / Epiphany, Kim was Manager of the On-Premise team at Jim Staton Distributing. When Jim Staton Distributing was purchased by Mutual in 2000, Kim became Mutual’s first On-Premise Statewide Manager. Kim’s continued progression and passion for sales permitted her to become an integral part of the team that created Epiphany Wine Company. Over the last 5 years, Kim has been responsible for building and managing the sales team, in addition to working closely with each of the wineries Epiphany represents. Kim’s hometown is Winston-Salem, NC.