Mr. Ellis began his entrepreneurial career at the age of 23, as Founder, President and CEO of Movies To Go, Inc., a video store chain he founded and grew to 30 stores in 6 years. In 1987, Movies To Go was the largest privately held, independently owned, video chain in the country when it was acquired by the 14 corporate store chain, Blockbuster Entertainment.
Joining Blockbuster's Board of Directors, Mr. Ellis served as Senior Vice-President of Development, spearheading its aggressive growth, which resulted in the development of over 1,700 store locations in less than two-and-a-half years, averaging two and a half store openings per day. Mr. Ellis also lived in London, where he established Blockbuster in the European market.
In 1990, Jim founded Ellis Diversified, Inc. (EDI), a real estate development and investment firm. Principally developing and or investing in multi-story high-rises (Sunrise Harbor, Wilton Station, 350 Las Olas Place, The Tides at Bridgeside Square, The Whitney (fkaone20fourth), The Rise (fka 2nd Street Residences),1st Avenue Residences, 488 Residences at Riverwalk, Eclipse, etc.), while also developing many multiple award-winning estate homes in Lake Tahoe, Fort Lauderdale,and the Bahamas. To date, Mr. Ellis has identified, selected, financed andor developed over 10,000,000 square feet of retail, residential and commercial real estate.
Mr. Ellis also gives his talent, time, and resources to charitable causes in the communities he works and lives in. He serves as President of Friends of Birch State Park, Inc., President of the Flagler Village Improvement Association, Inc., as Chair of Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, Vice Chair ofthe Downtown Development Authority (DDA), on the Board of the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS), and is a member of the Beach Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Ellis’ work has been recognized by numerous awards, including City of Ft Lauderdale Citizen of the Year, and Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame Honoree.
For more information or to reach Mr. Ellis please contact Ellis Diversified at (954) 563-0550
Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment? Getting organizations self sufficient/self funding and or profitable.
What do you enjoy the most about your work? Finishing what I started.
Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input? Yes, Gordan MacDonald
You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met? Steve Jobs
What program with your organization do you get the most excited about? See below
How did you determine which charitable organizations you would support? If my time, knowledge and money can make a significant difference I’ll take a look at it.
Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year?
Birch State Park Awards, Riverwalk Tribute, MODS gala.
What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization? Connections, time, knowledge and money.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Happiness is relative, there’s no such thing as “perfect” happiness since we’re built to strive forward…..
What is the most important thing you have learned through the years? In charities, cooperation and patience.
If you found a treasure chest – and you could keep it, what would you want to be in it? A genie in a bottle.
What charitable organizations are you involved with at this time? Birch State Park, Riverwalk, Downtown Development Authority, Flagler Village Improvement Association, Chamber of Commerce Beach Council, Museum of Discovery and Science
Is there a non-profit event you really look forward to attending each year? Birch State Park Awards, Riverwalk Tribute, MODS.
What’s been the key to the success and growth of ----------? My personal journey….
How do you stay so motivated and committed? I like what I do.
When does someone know when it’s time to move on? When they’ve accomplished their goals.
What is your greatest strength? My work habits.
What is your greatest weakness? My work habits!!
What are you most disciplined about? Relationships, Exercising, Work and Charities.
What is something you have learned from a pet? Life moves at its own pace.
If you were going to be on a Space Shuttle for about a year, what one item would you have to take with you? My iPhone
What is your favorite snack? Tex Mex Mix
What is your favorite Ice Cream flavor? Chocolate Chip
What do you have to say to all the young women/men out there ready to take on the future? Do what you like to do, develop talents you know you have, and relax.
How do we get our young people more interested in charitable giving and community volunteering? Have young volunteer groups
How do you want to be remembered by future generations? Someone who accomplishes their goals