Fellow PACE member Phil Plante, of Ocean Bank, formerly People’s United Bank, in Plaistow, said Alessio has been nothing short of an inspiration to the region’s business community.
“Here’s a local woman who broke the glass ceiling ahead of everyone else,” he said.
But Alessio prefers to think of herself as “making time, not ahead of my time.”
Longtime employees said the fact that so many of them have stayed with Alessio for decades is a testament to not only her as a boss, but as a person.
Brenda Blake was Carriage Towne’s first advertising sales representatives and stayed for 26 years. She enjoyed the fact that Alessio trusted her and she could work independently, as long as the job got done.
Donna Roberts, the former owner of Plaistow Aquarium, was one of Carriage Towne News’ first advertisers in 1983. She joined the staff 18 years ago as an advertising sales representative, and today heads up the newspaper’s ad operations. She is teamed with Arek Czarnecki, who has returned to Carriage Towne as its second ad rep.
Elisha Blaisdell arrived a year after Roberts, walking through the Carriage Towne News doors to place a classified ad. She knew she belonged there and persuaded Alessio to hire her as the paper’s editorial assistant 17 years ago. She will now step into the role of editor, carrying on the proud tradition of her mentor.
Larry Kennedy was Carriage Towne’s first — and only — part-time photographer. He said seeing Alessio retire is like losing a best friend. But knowing the paper will continue is a testament to what she created.
Carriage Towne News’ impact is something Alessio’s sister, Corinne Lester, realized only after moving to Kingston. Living in Europe and the West Coast with a career in the art world, Lester for years envisioned Carriage Towne as a “little paper filled with advertising.” Then she saw how it connected people with their communities and one another.