“Selling fish runs in the family,” says the assistant director of operations at Pure Food Fish. Her great-grandpa started the business in 1911.

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Carlee Hollenbeck

What do you do? I am the Boss Lady, as my crew calls me at Pure Food Fish Market down at Pike Place Market. I oversee the day-to-day operations of the business at the market and in our online shop (FreshSeafood.com), and make sure that everything runs smoothly seven days a week.

How did you get started in that field? Selling fish runs in the family. My great-grandpa started this business in 1911, and my grandpa took over in 1956. I have a cousin who has been working at the market for over 10 years and I first started learning the ropes at 16. After I graduated from UW, I asked my grandpa to give me a shot running the market and we haven’t looked back since.

What’s a typical day like? I am down at the market by 7:30 a.m. each day taking stock of what’s coming in and going out. We ship product from our market all over the United States, and as a small business, this means I get to interface with our customers from all over every day by phone or in person. I also work with our seasoned fishmongers to ensure our product is stocked on time and that it is the highest possible quality — a trademark for our business.

What surprises people about what you do? People are always shocked to learn that I run a fish market. This is a very male-dominated industry, so to see a female in a position of authority can really turn some heads.

What’s the best part of the job? Working alongside my grandpa and learning from him each day is truly the best part of my job. He is one of my best friends, and as he’s been in this business his whole life, I get to learn a lot and it will be a great honor in my life to take over the market and continue his legacy.

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