Martha Anne Ellis

Martha Anne Ellis

Title: retired former garden shop manager, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. “Now that I’m retired, I’ve gone back to my ‘roots’ and am volunteering in horticulture again.”

Born: 1943

Education: bachelor of arts in history from Old Dominion University

Career: garden shop manager, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1990-2018

Lives in: South Side in Richmond since 1971

Best business decision: “Hiring staff with a ‘good eye’ in choosing merchandise that was mission-related, in good taste, with a fair price point and creatively displayed. The staff also had to be able to work well with the 60-plus volunteers who are the backbone of the garden’s success.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Having no prior retail experience before taking on this endeavor as a volunteer, I wasn’t as quick to put slower moving items on sale, recoup the money and try another approach.”

First job after college: “Secretary to a law professor as his assistant and proofreader of his lectures and articles.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “Not having been of the computer age, staying current with technology was an area of challenge.”

Favorite book: “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee, “which reinforces one’s moral compass and commitment to respect the dignity of every human being.”

Favorite/least favorite class: “Most challenging classes probably were foreign languages. I was good with reading and writing in French and German, but the hard part was speaking them. Favorite classes were biology and botany in high school. Growing up, I was surrounded by plants. Having some horticulture knowledge is definitely helpful in being an effective garden shop buyer and manager.”

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