One of the things I enjoy about my business is the opportunity to work with academics and their families as they are being recruited by our local universities. The recruits are often thought-leaders in their fields and are doing interesting research.
As I was having lunch yesterday (Crushed Red – it was really delicious) with my friend, Joyce, I was reminded of helping her family with their move from Rhode Island 6 years ago. Her husband was recruited for a senior position at one of the medical schools. As a pediatric nutritionist, Joyce was also excited about the career opportunities for her here in St. Louis. Through the years we continue to get together regularly - Joyce often whips up a very appetizing lunch or dinner at her home and when it is my turn, we go out to eat! When the family moved to St. Louis, their 4 children were between 8 and 15 years old. Now, two are off at college with the two at home preparing to launch.
As we were reminiscing, I asked Joyce what her impression of St. Louis was before she moved here. She responded that, as her family was considering the move, they didn’t have an impression of St. Louis one way or another – positive or negative. I often hear the same thing from other out-of-towners who are considering St. Louis and this always leads me to think that, as a community, we could do a better job promoting what St. Louis has to offer.
Now that she has become a Saint Louisan, Joyce can’t say enough good things about the community and location. Although there are not as many regional destinations as there are in New England, she is pleased with how accessible the St. Louis airport is and how easy it is to fly since we are in the middle of the country.
Regarding the community, she said something that resonated with me: “schools represent what is good in a community.” Schools were the primary factor in Joyce’s home search. Although they were open-minded and we covered every option, they narrowed their home search to the Clayton and Ladue school districts. Secondary considerations were proximity to work and, with their active and athletic family lifestyle, proximity to Forest Park and other locations with great running and biking trails. Both the Ladue area and Clayton fit the bill, but she especially loved the “vitality of Wydown Boulevard” and so we zeroed in to tap that energy. As a family, they have been very happy with their decision. Clayton’s schools have provided excellent education and peer groups that share their motivation and values. Joyce is also very happy with the extracurricular activities available including the music instruction available within and outside of the school system.
My experience is that families moving here from out-of-town are often surprised by the resources available to them. Whether their interests are swimming, music, sports, or chess club, there are outstanding resources across our region. And of course, we can’t forget the zoo. In the years I have spent helping families move to St. Louis from elsewhere, I can’t remember any that have said “we don’t like it here, we’re moving.” Once people move to St. Louis, it is often difficult to recruit them away.
I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to meet Joyce and glad to count her and her family as fellow Saint Louisans.
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About this Column: The market data is puller from the Mid America Regional Information System. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.