Ground Crew

A sense of humor and a generous approach keep this team on top

by Virginia Lindauer Simmon

all_seasons_1015Rosemary Lalime founded All Seasons Realty in Newport in 1983. In 2009, Russell Ingalls (left) and Steve Poulin joined her to create RE/MAX All Seasons Realty.

All three partners are active in community endeavors. Notably, Poulin is president of the Orleans County Board of Realtors, Ingalls recently gave a presentation to the RE/MAX national conference on innovation in marketing, and Lalime has served on the Community National Bank board since 1985...

One day in 2010, Rosemary Lalime — then the owner of Coldwell Banker All Seasons Realty in Newport — was chatting with Russell Ingalls. He had recently launched an independent real estate firm with his friend Steve Poulin.

Lalime, who had been in the business for 30 years, offered him a piece of advice: “I said, ‘You know, the best thing I ever did was franchise. It helped with the organization of my office; helped with sales. If I was looking today, I would look at a franchise.’ He went down to Boston and opened a RE/MAX office called RE/MAX Kingdom, and he always tells me it was my fault.” She laughs.

Offering assistance to colleagues is something Ingalls and Poulin respect about Lalime. “To be honest,” says Ingalls, laughing, “we started talking to Rosemary because we had heard she was looking to retire, so bolder than bold, I came down and talked to somebody who had been in the business for 112 years! She said she was not quite ready, but did give me that great advice.”

Now six years have passed, and last year Lalime, Ingalls, and Poulin joined forces as RE/MAX All Seasons Realty with offices in Newport and Lyndonville. Lalime, reinvigorated by the partnership, has no intention of retiring.

Ingalls chuckles as he says it took several meetings to suss things out. Over the course of discussions, Lalime progressed from asking if there might be a part-time role to saying she wouldn’t be opposed to being a broker in an office, to suggesting she might like a “somewhat bigger role,” to asking if they wanted a partner and who would be the broker in charge.

“Steve said, ‘Well, you don’t want to be,’ and she said, ‘But I’ve been in charge for over 30 years.’ We said, ‘Well, congratulations, boss.’ I said, ‘I’ll go run the Lyndonville office as a broker.’” Poulin handles the finances.

This kind of ribbing is evident in most of their conversations. They share a deep love of the Northeast Kingdom, which has been home to Lalime, an Albany, N.Y., native, since 1969. Ingalls’s family has been in Vermont since the 1700s, and Poulin is a North Troy native whose grandfather started Poulin Grain in the 1930s.

Things are going well for All Seasons, with 17 independent contractors and an office staff working for the company. An expansion is underway into previously rented space that will add three offices to the Newport space.

All Seasons has a lively commercial business across Vermont that is pretty evenly split among the partners, says Ingalls. “That being said, we’ll walk away from something we don’t think we could represent fairly.”

Recent EB-5 projects have brought business in, Ingalls says, mentioning a 32-acre parcel adjoining Jay Peak he sold because of EB-5 money. All Seasons is also working on an apartment complex on the site of the old hospital in Newport being done by REM Development.

“I’m talking to three investors, and the reason is because of the EB-5 money. They’ve spent a billion-plus in two counties — Orleans and a touch down in Caledonia — in a population center with about 50,000 people. And it’s brick-and-mortar stuff that isn’t going away.”

All three partners are active in community endeavors. Notably, Poulin is president of the Orleans County Board of Realtors, Ingalls recently gave a presentation to the RE/MAX national conference on innovation in marketing, and Lalime has served on the Community National Bank board since 1985, “the oldest ranking member,” says Steve Marsh, the bank’s president and CEO.

“Rosemary is the outside director that serves as vice president,” Marsh says. “This lady is extremely bright, asks great questions, but has been extremely supportive of everything we’ve done over the years.”

Lalime came to Vermont to study education at The University of Vermont. After graduating in 1968, she earned her master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Michigan. Returning to Vermont in 1969, she married David Lalime, a Derby Line native she had met at UVM.

David had another year to go at UVM, and she taught at Union Memorial School in Colchester. In 1971, when he entered law school in Boston, Lalime did speech therapy in the Boston schools.

Back in Newport in 1974, David found work with attorney Andrew Pepin, with whom he eventually became a partner, and Lalime did speech therapy for the Newport schools until they began having children. “I decided maybe this speech therapy job of traveling around to 10 schools a week wasn’t going to work.”

In 1977, intrigued by real estate from buying their first house, she went to Montpelier to study for the real estate exam. David was worried that the agents who were his clients might see a conflict, but eventually agreed. “When I called him to say I passed my test, there was a real estate agent in his office named John Campbell. My husband said, ‘Oh, my wife just passed the test,’ and he said, ‘Well, you send her up to see me.’” She joined Campbell’s office.

She earned her broker’s license in 1978. With three daughters at home, she worked real estate part time and ran a nursery school language development program at home.

By 1983, when Campbell left the business, Lalime was working full time. She launched All Seasons Realty, operating from Campbell’s building. David was killed in a tragic hunting accident in 1984, and she moved her operation to the building on U.S. 5 they owned and where he had practiced. A number of people who had been with Campbell’s firm joined her.

She started a Barton office in 1989, joined Coldwell Banker in 2004, and opened another office in Lyndonville in 2005. Barton was closed last year.

Ingalls has deep roots in Vermont but was born in Japan, where his father was serving in the military. They returned to Vermont when he was in eighth grade. He graduated from high school in Barton in 1983, unsure of his next step. He had worked on a farm during high school, and when the owner of the farm was severely injured, he agreed to run the farm with the owner’s wife, which he did until 1985.

Summer of 1986, he worked construction in Burlington, then for friends at a fertilizer company until ’89, when he returned to Irasburg to join his father’s dairy supply business. With the continuing decline of farming, Ingalls decided to go into car sales in 1991. “I spent 19 and a half years in the car business,” he says, but he dabbled in other endeavors — he started, sold, and bought back a restaurant and bought and sold rental properties. He also got divorced.

Ingalls took four months off to catch his breath. “I wrote a couple of business plans, wrote a novel and got it published. My friend Steve Poulin was selling his equipment dealership and said, ‘What are you going to do?’ I said I’d like to get into real estate.’”

Poulin had graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1967 and spent two years at St. Michael’s College as a history major. He laughs recalling why he left. “I knew I was going to go back into the family business.” His father had expanded into building materials and changed the name of the business to Poulin Grain & Lumber. Poulin joined the company full time in 1969.

In 1975, he and his brother Peter bought the building materials portion and formed Poulin Lumber. Ten years later, wanting to dedicate full time to his avocation, which was racing stock cars and building them, he sold out to Peter and moved to Waterbury and opened a shop to build race cars for himself and other competitors.

In 1987, when he married Valerie Cote, they moved to Stowe and ran a race car shop there until his brothers approached him about a partnership in a farm implement store. Derby Equipment opened in 1991. Seventeen years later, Derby Equipment was sold, and the next year, Poulin and Ingalls launched their real estate firm.

Lalime, Ingalls, and Poulin have a generous approach to the business that attracts the admiration of clients like Missy and Charles (Woody) Woods, the owners of Bear Mountain Farm in Morgan.

“I just think she’s totally remarkable,” says Missy of Lalime. “We’ve known her since 1983.” The Woodses had sold their Shelburne home and a camp on Norton Pond in 1979 when they moved from Vermont to Florida, where Woody was offered a full-time professorship at the University of Florida.

“We got to Florida on July 3 and it was 110!” says Missy. Realizing they’d made a mistake selling the camp, Woody wrote to a real estate agent about finding another one. “Somehow Rosemary picked up this request, and on a cold November day in 1983, we got a call from her saying she had a camp for us to see.”

Woody asked Lalime to also let them know if a farm at the end of a town road came up for sale and was a good buy. A few years later, she called to say she had found Bear Mountain. They returned to Vermont in 2000 and have become fast friends with Lalime.

Lalime and her partners are also fast friends. She has, says Ingalls, moved from “a person who was really burned out when we joined her, and breathed the life back into herself, knowing we were going to be there as a team. She’s got more juice than all of us.” •