Vermont Country Store CEO Bill Shouldice to leave at year's end
Eliot Orton, proprietor of The Vermont Country Store, announced today that President and CEO Bill Shouldice has decided to leave the business at the end of 2012. Shouldice will depart after a seven-year run at the helm of the 66-year-old company that still operates its original store in Weston, Vt.
"Bill has played an immensely important role in building The Vermont Country Store's legacy for future generations. He has helped us improve every facet of our business, while preserving the heritage and traditions that make us who we are, and what our customers are passionate about," said Eliot Orton, owner of The Vermont Country Store. "Bill will forever be a part of our family, and we want to put wind in his sails as he sets out on his next adventure."
The Orton family is in the early stages of finding a successor to Shouldice, which is in its third generation of family ownership. Each of the owners, brothers Cabot, Gardner and Eliot Orton, will continue to deepen their involvement in the business, but none of them will assume the role of CEO. "Our family is firmly committed to owning and operating The Vermont Country Store for the next generations of Ortons," said Eliot Orton. "We believe that our best opportunity for continued success is for another leader outside our family to take over the daily responsibilities and accountabilities as CEO. We know that's unusual, but we've done things differently for 66 years, and it works for us."
"The Vermont Country Store is a jewel -- it is truly one of a kind," said Shouldice. "It is time for me to step away, because I've done what I set out to do. I am proud to have led the transformation of this business from a vision of one to a business where there is a collective sense of ownership among its employees and management. My departure comes at a time when The Vermont Country Store is in a position of strength in terms of our sales, our product offerings, our stores, our technology, our people and our connection to the communities where we all live and work."
Shouldice is looking to use his tenure at The Vermont Country Store, his years as executive director of the Orton Family Foundation, and his past experience as Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce to cure his entrepreneurial itch. "As a fifth generation Vermonter, I am a huge champion of our state and I want to draw on my unique skills in a way that serves Vermont in a fresh, exciting way."
The Orton family is supporting Shouldice as he makes this transition, and appreciates his contributions. "We owe Bill a huge debt of gratitude for helping us to navigate the waters from the second to the third generation of ownership," said Eliot Orton. "We can honestly say that Bill is leaving VCS better than he found it, and, together with our employees, we are determined to continue our success for generations to come."
About The Vermont Country Store
In 1946, Vrest and Mildred Ellen Orton printed their first catalog--just 12 pages and 36 products--and mailed it to the folks on their Christmas card list, and sixty-six years later the business continues to be Orton family owned. As Purveyors of The Practical and Hard to Find, The Vermont Country Store operates as a multichannel merchant through its mailed catalogs, e-commerce web site and two retail stores in Weston and Rockingham, Vermont. For more information, please visit www.VermontCountryStore.com .
SOURCE: MANCHESTER, Vt., Jun 04, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Vermont Country Store