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Old 05-12-2009, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, CA
3 posts, read 6,828 times
Reputation: 13

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Hi all - newbie here!

I operate a virtual assistant business, catering to CEO types. I have a new client who has hired me to do a project for him - finding him the ideal small town to relocate to. He owns a media company and can operate from anywhere and travels a lot. He's in his late 40's, single, college aged kids. His requirements are pretty straightforward, but there's so much information out there, where to begin? I have a bunch of sources so far, but thought that a personal perspective would be great to add as well.

No States:
TX, AL, MS, FL, GA, LA, NC, SC, VA, MD, DE, DC, PA, OH, OK, KS, WV, AK HI, ND, SD, WY, MT, CT, IN, IL

No Cities: NYC

Example Towns:
Pella, IA, Prescott AZ, Bisbee, AZ, Oxford, MS, Glenwood Springs, CO

Requirements:
Above Mason-Dixon Line
Rich cultural center – music, arts, books
Liberal/alternative community - people with tattoos, piercings are just fine
Vibrant coffee house(s) with internet access nearby
Pacific NW, Upper Midwest, Northeast preferred but not mandatory
Within 2 hours driving of a top 30 city (Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, SF, Portland, etc.)
College town ok
Major airport nearby
Not a suburb or exurb of the big city
Ample water supply important
Home budget - $250K to buy or $1,600 to rent
Separate work area in home or storefront within walking/bike distance, no office park
Cable modem internet access

Does this place exist? I appreciate all suggestions, thanks!
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:03 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,444 times
Reputation: 1506
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamanthaK View Post
Does this place exist? I appreciate all suggestions, thanks!
The place exists, but the client will never find it via a shopping list, nor via sub-contracting out the search through your services. The reason is pretty simple; you cannot find perfection...you create it...either by changing your outlook on life and the town you live in, or by working within the community to form lasting bonds and changes. No community is perfect...it is simply perfect for you! Big difference.

I have a second home on the coast and my neighbor has perhaps the ideal setting. It faces the east, contains 180 acres and has both river and ocean frontage. I think you can count 7 islands from his kitchen. Inside the house has everything, from granite counter tops to an interior designed by interior designers. Despite this "perfection" in every conceivable way...its a very boring home. It is so perfect that it does not looked lived in, nor does it look able to be lived in. It is so awash with what a perfect home should be that it falls incredibly short.

The point here is, if a 180 acres chunk of land can fall so short despite being ideal, how can someone possibly think they could find nirvana through a shopping list for a community? I cannot fathom someone contracting out a search for something so profound as a community in which to live, and that woe to them if they have a family!

I suspect that in todays worlds of passing blame, this may be their way of blaming you when the inevitable community falls short in this aspect or that. Most likely it will be regarding the people in the community as this was the most important aspect they have overlooked on their shopping list. I mean please...can you really judge people upon tatoos or not? In any case, the luster on this or that in whatever community they chose will lose its luster and onward they go, hiring another contractor and blaming you on the first failure.

I would bet that if a study was ever done, the majority of the people that have long shopping lists for new communities would fare far worse then a family that simply threw a dart at a rural map and moved to the nearest town. Its simply commitement and expectations.

Good luck, but I think the end result for your client will be disappointing.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,338 posts, read 4,778,233 times
Reputation: 5675
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamanthaK View Post
Hi all - newbie here!

I operate a virtual assistant business, catering to CEO types. I have a new client who has hired me to do a project for him - finding him the ideal small town to relocate to. He owns a media company and can operate from anywhere and travels a lot. He's in his late 40's, single, college aged kids. His requirements are pretty straightforward, but there's so much information out there, where to begin? I have a bunch of sources so far, but thought that a personal perspective would be great to add as well.

No States:
TX, AL, MS, FL, GA, LA, NC, SC, VA, MD, DE, DC, PA, OH, OK, KS, WV, AK HI, ND, SD, WY, MT, CT, IN, IL

No Cities: NYC

Example Towns:
Pella, IA, Prescott AZ, Bisbee, AZ, Oxford, MS, Glenwood Springs, CO

Requirements:
Above Mason-Dixon Line
Rich cultural center – music, arts, books
Liberal/alternative community - people with tattoos, piercings are just fine
Vibrant coffee house(s) with internet access nearby
Pacific NW, Upper Midwest, Northeast preferred but not mandatory
Within 2 hours driving of a top 30 city (Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, SF, Portland, etc.)
College town ok
Major airport nearby
Not a suburb or exurb of the big city
Ample water supply important
Home budget - $250K to buy or $1,600 to rent
Separate work area in home or storefront within walking/bike distance, no office park
Cable modem internet access

Does this place exist? I appreciate all suggestions, thanks!
Say hello to your client's new home town, Iowa City, Iowa.

Above Mason-Dixon Line? Check
Rich Cultural Center? University of Iowa Campus
Liberal/Alternative Community? To the point of ridiculous. Obamaville.
Vibrant Coffee Houses? w/over 25M students, this is a given.
Upper Midwest? Check
Within 2 hours drive of major city? Chicago/St. Louis are close to this criteria. Maybe 2 1/2 hours drive.
College Town? Duh. Downtown is ALIVE. Tailgating B4 football games is second to none.
Major Airport Nearby? Cedar Rapids is only 25 mi. away. 175M population.
Not a suburb of a big city? Iowa City/Coralville stands on it's own. Total population is approx. 60,000 to 70,000. Everything revolves around the university.
Ample Water Supply? Coralville Dam only 5 mi. away. Iowa River runs through the town. Mississippi River is only 50 miles away.
Home Budget? Rent very nice condo's for $ 1200 or less. Nice one bedroom apartments around $ 600. Nice homes for $200M to $ 250M. 2-3 bedroom zero lots from $ 130M to $ 175M.
Work Area? Plenty of office places to rent within walking/biking. This is not a huge city geographically.
Cable Modem Internet Access? This isn't Wyoming.

Last edited by jmgg; 05-13-2009 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, CA
3 posts, read 6,828 times
Reputation: 13
jmgg, what a great post, thank you! This is going to the top of the list for sure. Sounds vibrant, convenient and fun. I really appreciate it.

BrokenTap, while I appreciate your responding, I think you've got the wrong idea. My client simply wants me to provide him with data based on his criteria. I mentioned the tattoos and piercings because he said, "it gives me comfort to see people with tattoos and piercings, as it lets me know I'm hopefully in an open minded and creative place where people can be whoever they want to be". He will take the data I provide and make the final decision. This is only the beginning. Once I have identified a number of towns that fit the criteria, I will then take it to the next step, talking to the Chamber of Commerce, real estate professionals and others in each of these towns. He will narrow down again and visit these towns and ultimately decide for himself based on his tour of the final contenders. It's not a decision he's taking lightly, and he has contracted me to crunch the data and procure as much information as possible. He is doing this because as a business owner, he is pressed for time.

Just wanted you to understand that it's not as simple as Provide List - Pick Town. He's not looking for "perfect", he's simply looking for his own version of perfect for him. The ideal town for him based on an initial set of criteria, and I've come here to a place where people are obviously helpful and knowledgeable, to benefit from their knowledge. Hopefully I can return the favor by providing my own one of these days.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Lead/Deadwood, SD
948 posts, read 2,395,368 times
Reputation: 855
Mankato MN voted in 2008 as one of the best small cities for young people. I think you mean ideal small city, not town though, I suppose it is all relative.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,711 posts, read 45,808,859 times
Reputation: 13568
Depending on what you want to call a "major" airport, any of several small towns along I-82 would work: Rosslyn, Ellensburg, Selah - it's impossible to choose for this guy, depends on how much he values being 1.5 rather than 2 hours from, say, Seattle, compared to how "funky" the town needs to be. You list MS as a "no go" state, yet list Oxford, MS as an example of what's desired. What's up with that?

You at least need to ask the guy for "weighting factors" on his want list. For example, what does ample water supply mean, how does this play off against cost?

What about climate? Your "green zone" covers some very different climates, some I would find desirable, others unacceptable -
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:14 PM
 
2,652 posts, read 7,859,551 times
Reputation: 1884
I second Iowa City! It's everything listed. Can't wait to move back to Iowa and be tailgating before the games.

jmgg, is the Magic Schoolbus still there? I loved that place. Nothing like paying a $5 cover charge to watch live music and drink all the beer you can. Especially in 10 degree Iowa winters. Some of the best times of my life...
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, CA
3 posts, read 6,828 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Depending on what you want to call a "major" airport, any of several small towns along I-82 would work: Rosslyn, Ellensburg, Selah - it's impossible to choose for this guy, depends on how much he values being 1.5 rather than 2 hours from, say, Seattle, compared to how "funky" the town needs to be. You list MS as a "no go" state, yet list Oxford, MS as an example of what's desired. What's up with that?

You at least need to ask the guy for "weighting factors" on his want list. For example, what does ample water supply mean, how does this play off against cost?

What about climate? Your "green zone" covers some very different climates, some I would find desirable, others unacceptable -
Thank you Mitch!

Oxford MS is there as a model city that he likes, not as a possibility. He just wanted me to have a look at it for illustration purposes regarding the general vibe.

As to water, he feels that the water shortage here in LA is enough reason to leave, so he wants to ensure that supply levels in the town he chooses are ample.

I won't be making the ultimate choice - it's just my job to provide him with a list of towns that meet the mark, the research itself and he will decide from there.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:25 AM
 
Location: South Dakota
733 posts, read 4,243,891 times
Reputation: 716
Once again, what's this character classify as a small town? Iowa City has a population of over 67,000. That's a city, not a small town.

Now, this may offend some folks - but if he really wants a small town - how the heck does some character who is too busy to find his own place to live ever think he's going to fit into a real small town? I suspect he'll be the rich a**hole in the stinking big house on the edge of town who plays rural but wants every current convenience of LA living. Is he going to join the Kiwanis and go to a local church? Cook burgers and dogs at the ballpark on Saturdays? Serve on the park board or community development committee? Volunteer at the local library? If so, he'll find a small town he likes.

Finding the ideal small town isn't about your requirements, it's about what you are going to do to become part of the community and make it into a better place.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,338 posts, read 4,778,233 times
Reputation: 5675
Quote:
Originally Posted by windtimber View Post
Once again, what's this character classify as a small town? Iowa City has a population of over 67,000. That's a city, not a small town.

Now, this may offend some folks - but if he really wants a small town - how the heck does some character who is too busy to find his own place to live ever think he's going to fit into a real small town? I suspect he'll be the rich a**hole in the stinking big house on the edge of town who plays rural but wants every current convenience of LA living. Is he going to join the Kiwanis and go to a local church? Cook burgers and dogs at the ballpark on Saturdays? Serve on the park board or community development committee? Volunteer at the local library? If so, he'll find a small town he likes.

Finding the ideal small town isn't about your requirements, it's about what you are going to do to become part of the community and make it into a better place.
To us in the midwest, 67,000 is a big city. To people from California, it's a quant little town. It's all relative based on where you've grown up. With this guy's requirements, this is about as small of a town that I believe he would be happy in. Catch the part about needing a liberal thinking area where tatoos are a symbol of cool as well as the need for a vibrant coffee house scene. Believe me, he wants a place of the size and amenities of Iowa City.
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