Get to Know: Christopher LaFlamme
States covered: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont
Retail manager, Leather Fashions 1993- 97. Sales and merchandising for high end leather and fashion company.
Out bound and in bound sales rep for Tuttle printing and engraving 1997-2002. Business-to-business sales for a printing and marketing company that catered primarily to law firms and law colleges.
Furniture and bedding store owner, LaFlamme’s Inc. 2002 to 2017. Owned and operated three to four (depending on years) furniture and bedding stores, including America’s Mattress stores. Managed sales teams, logistics, merchandising expansions and company development.
Adirondack College 1989 to 1991; Castleton University 1991 to 1993 BA and BS in music and Elementary Education
President’s list and Dean’s list for all four and a half years of college. Property Development award for Bennington County 2016. MSM of the year for North East 2018 and 2019.
Total years of experience with the independent channel/retail
27 in retail and 20 in the independent channel.
What motivates you to get up and go to work for the Independent retailer every day?
Being able to be creative on how I can meet the challenges and opportunities for Members. Having a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself but still given the freedom to feel like an independent professional.
Tell us about your role at NMG.
To personally attend to our Members, allowing them to choose from the many resources we provide and to strategically take advantage of the power of the “collective.”
Why did you want to come work at NMG?
After having my own stores for 17 years and being a Member of the group for eight of them, I couldn’t think of a better company and more fulfilling job.
Why do you think NMG is the best buying group for Independent retailers in today’s climate?
The rare combination of scale and affinity to serve the independent channel. Having this much leverage combined with the sincere desire to truly listen and identify with each Member.
What is the most important project you are working on right now, and why?
Helping Members re-open and prepare for the road ahead; equipping them with tools and resources they may need, depending on their individual goals and challenges.
What is your favorite memory from your time at NMG?
Walking up to a Member who was once a fierce yet friendly competitor and having him greet me enthusiastically saying: “I heard you were at NMG and was hoping we would get to have you as our rep. Glad to finally be on the same team.”
What do you like most about your job?
Knowing that what I do makes a difference. I can truly contribute to the success of others and serve an independent channel that I “lived for many years” and consider it a part of who I am.
What else do you want people to know about you and NMG?
Married for 28 Years. I have 3 daughters. I like to restore properties in distress, interior design and investing in real-estate. I enjoy music and playing guitar in public. I’m a boxing enthusiast but also enjoy fashion and the arts. I posses a respect and affection for creation and all that encompasses.