Best Places to Work - Corporate Imaging Concepts

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Big growth and employee autonomy fuel this Illinois distributor firm.

Best Places to Work

Brian Abrams, above, may have started his career in law and as a CPA, but he desperately needed to do something else. “It was soul-crushing,” his wife, Patty, says. “He really needed to do something he loved, and this was it.”

“This” is Corporate Imaging Concepts, a distributor firm in Illinois that Abrams began in 1996 and which has grown its sales nearly 50% through the first half of 2015. With the growth, Abrams has been able to maintain the type of company culture that he’s always strived for: an office of respect and dignity that works hard to reward and retain its employees. He says the staff’s retention rate is extremely high, with salespeople averaging tenures of more than 10 years, and his first employee is still on the payroll today. “It’s not about making money – we know we’ll do that if we treat people right and give them the leeway to succeed,” Abrams says. “We give people full autonomy to run their own businesses, and I think they like that.”

Count Adam Harris, one of CIC’s salespeople, among the employees who definitely appreciate the culture. “I like the personalities of people here – we’re a good mix and we all work hard to ensure we get the job done well,” says Harris, who has worked at CIC for 15 years. “It’s just a joy to be here every day. Our demeanor and passion for what we do is great.”