Distributing Success Despite Uncertainty.
Skeff Distributing | Decatur, Illinois
From its headquarters in Decatur, Illinois, Skeff Distributing delivers Anheuser-Busch products in “brewery fresh” condition with the help of its 174,000 square-foot controlled environmental warehouse. After a 10-year period of rapid expansion, Skeff Distributing supplies nearly 4 million cases of inventory to Champaign, Danville, Decatur, Springfield and the surrounding areas annually.
When a former bank limited the company’s line of credit that led to inventory issues, the team at Skeff Distributing knew it was time for a change. “Commerce Bank reached out to us and helped us out of that relationship,” explains Terry Ingram, Skeff Distributing Vice President and CFO. “Now we don't have the restrictions that we had previously and, most importantly, we're able to operate our business in the right way.”
Due to a prior relationship with Commerce Bank, Skeff Distributing President and CEO John Skeffington knew this change in banking partners would be a smooth transition. “We’ve had a lot of experiences shopping for banks,” John shares. “The main thing was that Commerce understands our business. The other bank we were with didn’t really understand how our business operates.”
With inventory relying solely on the brewery, Skeff Distributing can’t always give an exact count of its supply. “Sometimes we have 10 days of inventory, sometimes we have over 20 days of inventory,” John adds. “It was hard for the previous bank to understand why we needed a larger line of credit to facilitate Anheuser-Busch’s needs.” At Commerce, Skeff Distributing found a banking partner who was prepared to accommodate both its needs and those of its breweries.
One of the big perks Skeff Distributing enjoys at Commerce Bank is its Midwest mindset. “Commerce is a Midwest bank,” Terry says, “and we’re in the Midwest. A lot of these other banks are national. It’s a big plus that Commerce has a big presence in St. Louis, where Anheuser-Busch is located.”
When the possibility of a PPP loan arose in 2020 amid the pandemic, the application experience was seamless. “Commerce Bank was right out front,” Terry remembers. “We received calls over a weekend and they worked tirelessly to get that approved. The covenants the bank laid out were flexible and gave us a chance to react to changing times.”
Terry’s experience with Commerce lies in contrast to what he saw elsewhere. “I know it was a challenge for banks to process these PPP loans and forgiveness,” he shares. “Commerce has done a great job of that. They laid out a roadmap for us and gave us flexibility.”
“We run our business by staying in close contact with customers,” John notes. “That’s what builds relationships. Commerce has done exactly the same thing.”
As Skeff Distributing continues to grow and expand, Commerce will continue to be there to facilitate and satisfy its growing financial needs. “A guidance line of credit for equipment is something we’ve always needed to do,” Terry explains. “This line from Commerce is going to help us keep up with our equipment needs. And we know they’ll be there to help.”
“With Commerce, there really is a true partnership,” John says. “Ours is a unique business. It really helps to have a banking partner that understands what that business is.”
With potential growth on the horizon, Skeff Distributing is able to move forward with a true banking partner by their side. “Commerce Bank has produced for us and I think we’ve produced for them,” Terry adds. “We're set up to succeed now and in the future.”
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