Sitting Down with Jayme Verfaillie of Roller & Associates

We had the pleasure of speaking with Jayme Verfaillie from Roller & Associates, to discuss the inner workings of their business and why they trust Arctic for all of their cold storage needs.

Jayme, would you mind kicking things off and telling us a little bit about Roller & Associates?

Sure! We’ve been in business for over 60 years. I took over the business as President & CEO almost 2 and a half years ago. My partner retired in December of 2020. Roller has been a legacy business here in the Pacific Northwest for decades. We have strong relationships in the marketplace with the dealers, consultants and contract designers. I’m really thrilled to be at the helm of the ship and carrying the torch, as it were, and I couldn’t have a better team! 

You’ve enjoyed a tremendous start with Arctic, surpassing $1 million in sales for your first year. What would you attribute Roller’s success to?

You know, we clicked instantly. We went through a series of interviews, and there was just such great chemistry at the onset of the relationship. I think our success can be attributed to the fact that when you feel passionately about something, there’s just this incandescent spirit that breeds enthusiasm. We were excited, the dealers were excited, the designers were excited. We got to promote a line that’s fun to promote, and we’re working with such great folks, some of the best in the industry.

How do you see the walk-in market, specifically from a strategic approach, in terms of price quality, technical features, etc.? What would you say makes the sale go?

I think that we need to determine where we stand. That will set us apart. I mean this not just in terms of pricing, but flexibility, and not having a one-size-fits-all policy. I think that is what is going to set us apart, especially going into the new year and moving forward. We’re coming out of a very volatile market and I think flexibility is really paramount to success.

What makes for a successful representative in your opinion? What culture is needed to rep multiple lines, while remaining focused with momentum?

I think responsiveness is key, and relationships are crucial. You need to be an active listener. I think time management is also important, because you have to be able to divide your time and shift priority. You also need to work smarter. For example, you’re going on site to specify a walk-in, right? You walk into this carrying a diverse portfolio, you’re physically in the space, and in listening to the customers needs, you may also find opportunities that will offer up additional solutions for them…like how to maximize storage. We consider ourselves consultative, trusted advisors. So, you could go into the walk-in specifying the shelving and next thing you know, you’re in the bar and talking about a zero step workstation that will increase efficiency. Then you may find yourself in the kitchen, talking about dual temp refrigerators and warmers. There might be a merchandiser needed by the front door to display products that will allow the customer to maximize profit and impact their bottom line. The customer might share that they also want to switch the existing tabletop from porcelain to melamine or melamine to porcelain. Then it occurs to you that spring will be here before you know it and they say, “We need patio furniture.” In an ever-changing environment, I think that’s how you do it, successfully.

Our CMO John Berger says that you are his top challenger for the most optimistic personality around. How do you manage to keep your energy so high and so positive all the time?

There’s a few things I would say, number one, I think self care is critical to success. It’s imperative that you prioritize it in your daily life. Number two, I’m grateful for every day and the people I engage with. I love the changing seasons. I guess, put simply: I just enjoy life, so that is in and of itself a blessing. Then, last but not least, I am a clay artist and I think Sundays are sort of my time to rest, recharge, and rejuvenate. I’m dialed in to this business 24/7, so having that time and my art really provides a balance. It keeps me centered and it keeps me grounded. It brings me joy, so I get to take that joy with me into the marketplace. I also want to give a quick shout-out to Bruce Podgur, who’s been great to work with. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention him and the wonderful people at Arctic. They help me continue to be their champion. 

Jayme Verfaillie and Brian Murphy at NAFEM

You mentioned that the good chemistry between Roller and Arctic has helped launch how you’ve performed this year. Is there one thing you can pinpoint that really stands out?

I would say it’s predictability. I know some folks would say that being predictable is great only if you’re predictable for good things, and that is very true because that’s exactly what we get from Arctic. Predictability. I know what to expect every single time I ask for something, I know what the turnaround time is going to be. This is a very highly engineered product, so I know that the accuracy is going to be there. We’re not going to have to go through everything with a fine tooth comb because that’s already been done on the back end, which makes my job as a marketing agent that much easier. Being predictable translates into reliability and, ultimately, the “easy button”.

What exciting events are coming up in 2023 for Roller & Associates?

We’ve got quite a bit going on. We added Vitamix to our portfolio in June 2022, and with that addition to the line card, we onboarded a chef. Chef Mel and I have been in the field doing tastings and tutorials, and it’s been great. I think having that opportunity really does keep us customer facing and brings us all back into some semblance of normalcy. It’s also a way to stay engaged. I think those are some things that are on the horizon that are really exciting. We also have NAFEM and I think everybody’s thrilled to get together and see what’s new and connect with our partners in the industry.

If you could, please leave us with one or two sentences describing Roller & Associates. How would you sum up the company?

I’ll leave it with some alliteration: Accountability, advocacy, and allyship. That is 100% us.

Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Jayme!