Roots: Born in Italy, Ellis was adopted into a Colorado family and moved all over the Northwest as a kid. Contrary to her frenzied professional life, her childhood was filled with "regular kid stuff," like music lessons, choir and friends. As an adult, she worked in a kaleidoscope of jobs, including hairdressing, cosmetics, commercial buying, clerical work, gift basketry and mothering two children.
Claim to Fame: After visiting Seattle's famous Pike's Market, Ellis decided Boise needed its own version of the open air Mecca of fresh meats, produce and flowers mixed with one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, clothing and other sundries. She researched and dreamed for years, and when the S-16 Corporation decided to develop a farmer's market in the 8th Street Marketplace, they recruited Ellis to organize what was to become one of Boise's favorite events. The first Capital City Public Market happened in the 8th Street Marketplace in 1994 under Ellis' supervision, and it was an instant success. Two years later, it moved to the corner of 8th and Main (yes, the giant hole in the ground) and now over a decade after its inception, the Market has taken over 8th Street from Bannock all the way to the middle of the Grove, with over 100 vendors every week, including fine artists, performance artists, jewelers, sculptors, craftsmen, organic farmers and ranchers and specialty companies selling everything from pickled vegetables to pies to elk sausage to kettle corn you can smell all the way to the foothills.
"It's a European-feeling, ethnic market, and we're trying to make it the heart of the community," Ellis said. "A lot of cities begin to look alike, but Boise doesn't want that. People want an arts community with specialty boutiques and restaurants. It's an incubator for small business in any form, and we have to do something to combat the strip mall mania happening out west."
Heroes: Bob Fisk-Ellis' former boss at K-Mart who taught her all about retail
Lynn Bagley-An industry role model/market organizer
Alice Waters-A restaurateur who taught Ellis the food-market dynamic
Mom and Dad-For giving her a home and a wonderful childhood
Future plans: To return to her birthplace and eat lots of pasta
Fave foods: Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream
Fun Facts: Ellis used to teach country western dance and currently has a hand in the Martini Mix-Off, the Father's Day Car Show, the Gene Harris Block Party and a developing event involving Boise State's music department called Jazz on the Grove
Parting shot: "It is what it is. You have to deal with what life gives you. You can sit and pout or get proactive and do something about it."