weather icon Clear

Manager of The Market has smorgasbord of experience

Ellyn Chantos believes she’s qualified to run The Market, Downtown Project’s new grocery near Container Park in downtown Las Vegas.

She knows food from working at all four Whole Foods stores in the Las Vegas Valley and a family-run market in Cleveland.

She knows customer service from working for Cheesecake Factory in Los Angeles and Rock Bottom Restaurants in Colorado.

And she knows her craft beer from working for Goose Island in Chicago and Gordon Biersch in Columbus, Ohio.

And if anyone acts childish in The Market, she can handle that, too. She’s a former kindergarten teacher.

Chantos, 48, general manager of The Market, threw her resume into the Zappos/Downtown Project ring two years ago. At the time, Chantos had no idea that Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project — Hsieh’s $350 million initiative to redevelop the East Fremont corridor and invest in small businesses, tech and arts — was going to open a new 6,000-square-foot grocery store, with a 30-seat cafe area at 611 E. Fremont St.

Chantos was born in Danville, Ill., two hours south of Chicago, and studied elementary education at the nearby University of Illinois.

The Market is busy for lunch serving local businesspeople and residents, with tourists sprinkled in through the day, which begins at 7 a.m. daily.

Chantos has lived in Las Vegas since 2007, moving here from Providence, R.I. — one of 11 states she has called home.

Question: How did your experience at Whole Foods prepare you for this job?

Answer: Everything I needed to learn about groceries I certainly learned from working there. I also worked for a family-run market in Cleveland, so between those two I learned everything I could. So much of my experience was also in restaurants, so I am prepared for the customer service side.

And one year teaching kindergarten didn’t hurt either.

Question: One of the impressions people had about The Market was that it was going to be upscale and expensive grocery. How do you respond to that?

Answer: When people want to leave comments, I tell them you can talk to me. And the feedback from the first 2½ weeks is overwhelmingly positive regarding price and selection. We priced ourselves intentionally so it would be affordable to all.

Question: How did you know what to offer at the store?

Answer: Anyone who answered the question, ‘What do you want?’ I listened to. I used what was popular. I know the prepared foods side of the story would be busy. I came from that department. We follow trends and give people what they want.

(A customer then came up to Chantos and said, “I am a customer and want to give you some feedback. I liked this croissant and it was $1.75 and it’s $3 in Atlanta. Chantos laughs and says, “I didn’t plan that.”)

Question: Who’s coming through your front door?

Answer: The lunch crowd is busy. It’s local businesses and residents. Local residents also are shopping in the early evening and the tourists are sprinkled in from open to close.

Question: How did you get involved in Downtown Project and The Market?

Answer: I reached out to someone who worked for Zappos and hoped the resume would reach the right hand. And two years later it found Doug McPhail, director of retail for Downtown Project. I had no idea there were even going to open a market.

Question: Why did you move to Las Vegas?

Answer: I lived in Colorado and I lived in Los Angeles and I wanted to come West.

Question: How come you left this place if you liked the West?

Answer: This is the 11th state I have lived in since college. I would move because someone asked me for the job. In Los Angeles, I worked with Cheesecaske Factory and I traveled to Atlanta to work with Eatzi’s Market and Bakery.

Question: How did you get to Colorado?

Answer: I was riding a ski lift in Copper Mountain (in the Rockies) and a guy riding with me told me he was moving out of Boulder and that his apartment was open. And I said, ‘OK, I’ll take it,’ and I moved there two weeks later. I started with Rock Bottom (Restaurants) and got involved in the restaurant business.

Question: You also have worked in the beer industry?

Answer: I worked with Goose Island when they were just one location in Chicago and they were eventually bought out by Anheuser-Busch. My other brewer experience was with Gordon Biersch in Columbus, Ohio. I was the general manager there. I’m superpassionate about craft beers and it shows in the selection in the store. There’s a taste for everyone.

Question: What’s your favorite beer?

Answer: I am an IPA drinker. Ninkasi is up there. I also like Wolf Among Weeds. It’s female brewed and owned in Los Angeles.

Question: You have lived all over the country. How do you like living in Las Vegas?

Answer: I absolutely love it here. There’s something for everyone. I like the attitude of the people and I like the weather. I have also been known to play poker once in a while, so that doesn’t hurt. And with what’s going on now in downtown, it’s perfect.

Question: What part of Las Vegas do you live in?

Answer: I live in Summerlin. We found a condo on Craig’s List from Rhode Island and didn’t even see it. I took my chances.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada’s real estate industry blamed wrong enemy when bubble burst

State lawmakers approved a bill in 2015 — a decade after Las Vegas’ wild building spree — that raised barriers to pursuing lawsuits alleging shoddyconstruction. A measure now working its way through the Democratic-controlled Legislature would wipe out or change provisions of that law.

CEOs get $800K pay raise, leaving workers further behind

Pay for CEOs at S&P 500 companies rose to a median of $12 million last year, including salary, stock and other compensation, according to data analyzed by Equilar.