The Vermont Country Store

www.vermontcountrystore.com
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The Vermont Country Store Reviews

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3.2
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Eliot Orton
3 Ratings

14 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The Vermont Country Store full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smaller company that cares about it's employees. Have been there for more than 3 years and have had ups and downs but over all it is a fun place to work. Supervisors are willing to listen (most of them anyway) and help work out schedules and help you keep a work/life balance. Also the Orton family is generous with the financial programs they have put in to place including bonuses and hardship help

    Cons

    Company values when I started there were high. It seems over the last couple of years things have been starting to change. One change that has a lot of people upset is becoming numbers instead of names. When we pack a package for a person we are proud and want that person to know who did this for them. But to save money we are going to use numbers. Another thing is activities seem to be coming a thing of the past. Employee sales used to be a big thing but they don't seem to be happening. Promotions are not forth coming if you are a person that speaks your mind, We are told to come forward with issues but when we do we are later told we are being "negative"

    Advice to Management

    Remember that in order to get the best out of people you need to treat them with respect and not like robots. taking away something as small as a name on a package can upset someone more than saying we can't pay a bonus this year. Listen to what people are buzzing about and not close your minds and say "be open to change".


  2. Decent place to work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Telephone Services Representative in North Clarendon, VT
    Former Employee - Telephone Services Representative in North Clarendon, VT

    I worked at The Vermont Country Store full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You get to choose your shift. Employee sales/discount. Nice experience to chat with some of the older customers when it's slow enough to do so.

    Cons

    Supervisors aren't always the most helpful (depends on who you have). Frustrating that when it's slow your only option is to separate/tear return labels instead of being given a meaningful task. It's as if they don't trust you or don't think you can handle doing other work while waiting for that beep in your ear. For someone who has to stay busy like myself, that can become annoying. Some of the elderly customers are downright rude and will speak to you in a mean manner and you have to take it.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to be trained better. Give the employees that want more to do a better list of options so they feel like they're contributing when it's slow.


  3. My 2nd year of seasonal work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The Vermont Country Store

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Supervisors are usually very accommodating about schedule changes, within reason. Often there are samples of food to try. They do supply fruit and coffee, etc.

    Cons

    This year, (so far), and last year I've enjoyed working with the other employees. Trainers are very thorough. However, when the trainees are working some trainers seem to have nothing to do. Compensation, I'm thinking this year, isn't quite up to what I thought it would be. For a second year employee I thought I'd get a small raise for returning but I didn't. All year I've been thinking of the awesome employee sale that will happen later in the season. But, after weighing the pay and all the other 'benefits' it's not worth it to me. I am looking for other employment. Why did I go back? The employee sale. But ,like I said, it's just not worth it. Also, I've been reading other reviews and I have to agree that there are too many supervisors, coordinators and trainers. If someone is going to be in a position like that they should be able to show a bit of leadership. If there isn't already, there should be a class for leadership, or at least a hand- out explaining how their actions affect others.

    Advice to Management

    Rethink salaries. I'd rather bring in my own candy and fruit, etc and receive a higher pay. Trainers should have something to do, instead of literally standing and watching people work. To me, that is not a good example of leadership any employee should see or want to emulate!


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  5. Great company in Vermont

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Vermont Country Store full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    WAS very employee-centric company with great perks and benefits! Great training programs

    Cons

    Culture was changing and becoming more "corporate".

    Advice to Management

    Look at salaries for retail, CS & DC-they are in need of an overhaul. Get better at communication across the whole business.


  6. A Family run company that cares about the people who work for them.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Vermont Country Store

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Solid company, Care about employees, growth ooprtunities if you let it be known. Very much into health and wellness to include vending machine options, a workout room and nutritional/health advice.

    Cons

    Work/life balance sometimes is hard

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you are doing


  7. Will join the ranks of Polaroid, Blockbuster and Kodak

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT

    I worked at The Vermont Country Store full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Employee discounts at the stores are good.

    Cons

    Sharing a better way to do something (unless you are a highly paid outside consultant) will most certainly get your job "eliminated." This organization chases away talent time and again in favor of veteran automatons who know how to "play the game". It is better to lie, maintain the status quo and compliment the "Emperor's New Clothes" rather than point out the naked truth. This organization is on a crash course with disaster and will soon join the ranks of failed companies like Polaroid and Blockbuster because of its inability to adapt to change and embrace technology.

    Advice to Management

    Organizations are flattening. Your old-school, top-down, under-your-thumb, fear-mongering management tactics only serve to kill the good ideas that might actually ensure your sustainability and/or survival. Consider cleaning house of the managers that enjoy demoralizing hard-working bright employees because they might know a thing or two that the senior technologically inept manager doesn't (you know who you are!). Owners if you continue to leave those kinds of Luddites in their positions of power, you will surely speed up your own demise sooner than later by keeping employee morale at an all-time-low.

    And guess what... you can't control what people say about you in today's social media driven environment no matter how hard you try!


  8. Amazing Transformation: a Good Company Becomes Great

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT

    I have been working at The Vermont Country Store

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Incredible dedication to employees and customers. Bonuses higher than anywhere in the industry- for all employees, not just top management. Now that the next generation of owners has taken over and made significant investments in people and technology, the business is taking on new life and becoming a world class company. One of the most authentic brands in America just waiting to be discovered by millions of new customers.

    Cons

    Location makes it hard to find top talent in key positions. Could still use more help with technology. Would be nice to have more seasonal employee events and company outings- helps team spirit!

    Advice to Management

    Keep investing in great people and systems- the efforts so far are paying off in a huge way. Love that the sons are more involved and running the show. Ignore the few nasty posts on this site from bitter former employees- we all know who they are and why they had to go!


  9. Helpful (1)

    Great employer - great family!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT

    I have been working at The Vermont Country Store

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great opportunities for growth through cross function teams.
    Bonus program is very generous and not many companies offer it to all employees anymore.
    Work/life balance has kept me at VCS.

    Cons

    Not a lot of room for upward mobility at the leadership level


  10. Helpful (2)

    Micromanagement and favoritism

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Clerk in North Clarendon, VT
    Former Employee - Clerk in North Clarendon, VT

    I worked at The Vermont Country Store

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible schedules, that's about it

    Cons

    Absolutely no chance of promotion based on the merits of your performance. After working for several years, I lost several responsibilities, instead of gaining as expected. Micromanagement is ridiculous. They'll admonish you to save the company money by using the proper size box to pack an order, yet sometimes you'll stand around for several minutes with no work. They treat you like children. In the busy season, they use regular folks to be 'supervisors' (a money-saving ploy), but these people know no more than regular clerks. You may be told to do one thing by one person and another thing by another person. The people who are year-round managers - Oh my God - ego city. They are also the type to stand there and watch you do something wrong, then get mad because you've done something wrong. Instead, they may try saying "you're doing that wrong."
    They have eliminated all bonuses, saving themselves thousands upon thousands of dollars every year. These bonuses in the past gave them a great reputation as a wonderful place to work. They no longer enjoy this reputation. They've also made it so that if you work the phones, you now have to sell sell sell to the customers. They brag in daily meetings how much $$ in sales this brings in, and how they've had record munber of sales overall, yet again, all bonuses have been eliminated. I agree with the prior comment about the culture - it's all about money now, not the people who work there. When I started, their little 'buzz' phrase was "We want to be the employer of choice." Funny, haven't heard that for awhile.
    Having Bill Shouldice enter as CEO in 2005 was their number one biggest mistake. The Ortons need to open their eyes and realize this. Every year they have an employee survey - that you have to do by computer (and put your name so you're easily identified)!! Obviously, they are not interested in keeping their employees happy any more.

    Advice to Management

    Rethink your choice of CEO. LOOK at what he has done to employee satisfaction!! You cannot continue to deny this! I doubt if it has even saved you very much money in the end. If so, is it worth it now that pretty much everyone hates to work there? You WILL reach the end of available work force.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Reader beware

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester Center, VT

    I worked at The Vermont Country Store

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The business is located in a beautiful part of the country. Like all comapnies, it has some very nice people sprinkled around the various departments.

    Cons

    This comapny is the poster child for a disfunctional "family business". All the jokes made about family businesses apply to VCS; i.e. rude/iracible owner, out to lunch family members, they are in it for the money - not the love of the business, have only "yes men" as managers, micro-manage the smallest detail, all employees are taught they are to jump when the family sneezes and the owner is never wrong.

    The worst IT systems I have encountered in my catalog business career. Getting information you can use is quite hard and very time consuming.

    The middle managers do not stick up for their employees. It is every person for themselves.

    The hours can be crazy. Why live in such a beautiful place if you are not able to enjoy it. The company claims they have an appreciation/understanding of work/home life balance, that is a joke.

    They do not want anybody who will not conform to the companies rigid mold. If you are an intelligent, creative, free thinker; run in the opposite direction. The people that servive at VCS are the ones that just conform completely.

    Advice to Management

    Hire someone who knows how to run a catalog and who has experience doing just that. Tell the family to get in or out. Stop interferring from the edges.



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