What started as a phone call from a former co-worker, who was running Collars and Couplings in 2001, has turned into a rewarding career for General Manager Carol Plourde.
“Dan Whalen, one of the entrepreneurial founders of Collars, and I had worked together at the same Connecticut industrial supply house, previously,” noted Plourde. “I had been there for 16 years, handling a variety of responsibilities, from receptionist to accounting,” she continued.
Whalen needed help. So at Collars, he started Plourde in sales. She then took on purchasing responsibilities and eventually accounting functions. Soon she was running the operation while Whalen was traveling nationwide handling outside sales. Later, she was instrumental in recruiting two of her brothers-in-law to handle receiving, put away, and shipping, she explained. They still work for Collars.
As the company grew, Plourde offloaded some of her duties and now when customers phone, if they’re not speaking to her, then Alana, Jacquie, or Tony may be on the other end. All are highly capable, said Plourde. She noted that Jacquie had just successfully exhibited for Collars at the recent Las Vegas fastener show. “She knows our business and her outgoing personality is absolutely magnetic,” stated Plourde. “We’re lucky to have her.”
Plourde said what she enjoys most is dealing with customers. “We have lots of great buyers calling in from all over the country, which makes it fun – different styles and different senses of humor,” she noted. “Without a doubt, they appreciate us and our No Minimum policy,” she continued.
Plourde said she meets with major international vendors every couple of years to review offerings and learn about their latest manufacturing techniques.
A long-time telecommuter, she spends one day a week in Collars’ Agawam, MA office, working the remainder from her home in central CT. “Customers appreciate that I still take their orders during a blizzard, although we may not be able to ship until the next day,” she remarked.
At home, Plourde is married with a teenage son, and two, mixed breed rescued dogs, which came from a shelter in the South five years ago. She enjoys free time with her extended family, gathering several times per month for Sunday dinner.
“I’m fortunate,” she concluded. “I’m blessed with a happy, healthy family and a job that I adore. Plus, I’m very enthusiastic about our growth prospects.”