Vickers named to head The Vermont Country Store
By Bruce Edwards
STAFF WRITER | February 14,2013
The Vermont Country Store has promoted Chris Vickers to president and chief executive officer, the Orton family announced Wednesday
Vickers, 47, joined The Vermont Country Store in 2010 as chief merchandising and marketing officer. Previously, he served as vice president of merchandising at L.L. Bean. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from Colby College.
Vickers officially assumes the position held by William Shouldice IV, who left the company at the end of last year.
Eliot Orton, chairman of The Vermont Country Store, said the family did not have to look outside the company to find its new president.
“We chose Chris because he fit the need for the job and he has been with us for a couple of years and he grew to really understand who we are as a business,” Orton said, “and understand our customer, our way of doing business, our values as a family ... and our community.”
Orton said that Vickers helped lead the company last year to one of the best years in the company’s 66-year history, making him the “perfect person to fill the role.”
Orton said he and his brothers, Cabot and Gardner, considered having one of them take over as president but that Vickers, with his experience and expertise, was the obvious and best choice.
Vickers said he was looking forwarded to leading the company and working with the Orton family.
“The biggest challenge every day is to make sure we really understand what our customers want and have our resources aligned internally to make sure we’re meeting those needs,” Vickers said. “For us, the success we’ve had over these 66 years is that we’ve been focused on practical and hard-to-find products that really connect with our customers in an emotional way.”
He said that means keeping up with the times.
“I think the reality is the demographics of the country are changing and the baby boomers are the major market that is changing all of retail and certainly we’re getting the advantage of that,” Vickers said.
He added “what’s nostalgic for one person changes over time from generation to generation.”
Founded in 1946 by Vrest and Mildred Ellen Orton, The Vermont Country Store became known for its black and white catalog, “The Purveyors of The Practical and Hard to Find.” Today, the company also sells its products online and at its two retail stores in Weston and Rockingham. It also operates a distribution center and warehouse in North Clarendon.
The company has 450 year round employees, which balloons during the Christmas holiday season.