Our History

Our history begins with Art and Polly Pepin.

Burlington Vermont 1953, Art Pepin loaded his station wagon with Schlitz and Blatz Beer, the #1 selling beer in the United States, and headed off on another day of sales in Vermont. Known all around town for his products, Art was also known for having the biggest smile on the block. Only four years later, he was selling Anheuser Busch products in Manchester. He then purchased the Gainsville territory in 1961.

By 1967, Busch rewarded Art for his hard work by awarding him the distributorship in Tampa Bay, where the real story begins. Art Pepin peaked at about 4 million cases in just a few years. His son, Tom Pepin, purchased the family business in 1981 and brought Pepin Distributing to new heights. Pepin Distributing was thriving, selling over 10MM cases and 67% of the market share. Business was good for the Pepin Family over the years, and the Pepin Family, in turn, has been good to the Tampa Bay Community.

A Matter of the Heart

In 1986, Art began feeling some pain in his chest. The family was shocked to learn that this man, whose heart was always so full of love, had a heart that was breaking. Doctors told him he was too old for a heart transplant….until the day he did not take no for an answer.

While actively having a cardiovascular attack, he slowly walked into St. Lukes hospital, beating his chest while singing the marine core hymn, and fell to the floor. The doctors had to take him. That heart lasted him for 14 years, and he sure did a lot of good with the years it gave him.

After receiving his new heart, Art Pep gratefully returned to Tampa and focused their substantial philanthropic interests on making the most advanced heart health care available in his community. Art and Tom Pepin started their living legacy by making a matching $500,000 pledge, totaling $1 million. This pledge helped the University Community Hospital Foundation create the momentum needed to open the Pepin Heart and Vascular Institute in 2006.

Foundation Origins

In 1996, Tom Pepin began the Chris Fredo Memorial Fund. Which then, in 2012, turned into the Tom Pepin Family fund, now known as the Pepin Family Foundation.

The Pepin family has always had a heart for education. Tom strictly enforced the importance of education to his family. His two sons and daughters did their best in school because they believed it was a blessing to learn. This passion began the start of Pepin Academies Inc. Founded in 1999, the school’s first graduating class was 13 students. Pepin Academies serves over 1,200 students and over 850 graduates in Hillsborough County, Riverview, and New Port Richey.

The Pepin family is very active and understands the benefits of playing a sport regarding commitment and good health. In 2002, Arthur and Polly Pepin donated to replace the 80-year-old stadium called “Pepin Stadium” at The University of Tampa. Now known as one of the finest college facilities in the country, Pepin Stadium is a 1,500-seat partially covered grandstand that has hosted five NCAA National Championships and much more.

In 2006, Tom Pepin opened the Tpepins Hospitality Centre. His vision was to assist and give back to community organizations to be successful in hosting charitable events and more. This all in all ties back into our mission by helping these amazing causes generate more revenue and exposure for their causes.