“Ellie is an amazing businesswoman. She’s smart, she’s feisty, and she’s passionate about her Carriage Towne News,” Karen Andreas, regional publisher for North of Boston Media Group, said. “She understands true community journalism at its core, and knows what local readers and advertisers want from their newspaper. That’s why she has been so successful.”
Alessio and her husband sold Carriage Towne Plaza in 1985, then their grocery store two years later. They bought the Church Street property just off the town plain where the paper is now based. Her husband, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, went to work at the paper and also served as selectman for a couple years before succumbing to the disease in 1991. Carriage Towne and her adopted community gave Alessio the strength to go on.
“The thing was, she was determined,” Kennedy said. “Electra knows what she wants and says what she wants. You always knew exactly where you stood with her and we all respected that. ... But she would actually give you the shirt off her back. She was there for many, many people in their hour of need.”
Alessio doesn’t hide her no-nonsense approach when it comes to business or the fact that she set high expectations for her and her staff, but not at the expense of having respect and empathy for those who worked for and with her. “I think I have the reputation of being fair,” she said. “You never have to wonder where I stand on an issue. I tell you what I think is right. “
In 2001, Alessio got an offer she couldn’t refuse. After being courted by the then Eagle-Tribune Publishing Co., which wanted to expand its coverage area into southern New Hampshire, she agreed to sell Carriage Towne.
The documents were signed on Sept. 11, 2001, just as terrorists were attacking the World Trade Center. There was one condition — that she remain on as publisher, which she has through the transition from The Eagle-Tribune to the paper’s now parent company, CNHI, Inc., almost a decade ago.