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Old 03-24-2014, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 236,978 times
Reputation: 177

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That is what I'm looking for Emmigrations. That helps me see a bit of that side and know what someone in your shoes would expect to see here.

Super Target - I'm all for an update to the Target. Even just the Fresh Grocery add-on would be fine with me for it. Looked at their website and Chattanooga has updated both their stores to include that. Only 4 Super Targets in the whole state, but most with the Fresh Grocery. Surprised to see Clarksville only has the regular one still. Jackson is the same. This may be due to a ratio of grocery stores in an area as a decision for Target to update existing stores. Not sure.

Trader Joes? Not likely to happen here. I think Asheville having one is due to the tourism/vacation home scene there, as a few other spot checks of similar size towns don't have one. Would be nice, but I don't think they go for areas this size usually. Costco and Whole Foods may be similar. I'd gladly help lobby for at least a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods if I thought they'd even be remotely interested in an area this size.

I have to agree with Kingsport having less of a restaurant scene. JC has been nice with a mix of both local places we are enjoying and some of our favorite chains. I think restaurants, in addition to opening closer to their customer base, also may be looking at a cheap labor standpoint as well...college students. Down here in JC, almost every waiter/waitress we have seems to be a student at ETSU. Not sure how Kingsport overcomes that. As for upscale dining? Well other than Asheville, I'm not sure towns this size anywhere have what could be considered upscale. I know Clarksville, TN doesn't really and I'm pretty sure Jackson is similar. Haven't been to Chattanooga in years to know...do they? Asheville, as I mentioned has a LOT of tourism and vacation homes for the wealthy. Yes, their economy in general is weak, but they are able to cater to a crowd of non-locals and that gives them an edge regular towns don't have with regard to amenities.

One of the things I'm seeing is the lack of marketing for events and the civil sector groups you mention. If I didn't actively have several websites I visit and papers I read, I'd miss a huge amount of information about these things. There are little concerts and events going on all the time, but the publicity sucks sometimes for them. Maybe some of these groups should increase advertising budgets or get some interns to help. There's an old school attitude that word of mouth is still fine around here, and often it is, but it makes it hard for newcomers to get involved unless they are really motivated to find it.

I actually like our airport here and would like to see it with more flights available. Perhaps one of the low cost fare providers. That's going to get a big political though, as so much of that is regulated so tightly. Small regional airports struggle all over the country and ours seems to be holding in there pretty well at the moment. Amtrak is similar with regard to train service. While I'm all for train service to be expanded nationally, that's a mess of a topic. I adore traveling by train and advocate for improvements, but since Amtrak is barely keeping its head above water with the routes it has, expansion isn't likely to happen without politicians pushing for it and funds getting allocated for it. (For some interesting reading, look up all about this.)

When we start looking at what isn't offered here, I'd think comparison to Jackson, Chattanooga and even at times, Clarksville isn't out of line for TN cities. Bowling Green, KY would be another one and maybe even Lexington. (Both Bowling Green and Lexington are college towns for the most part, but with some industry as well.) Do they offer things we don't here?

As for Tri-Cities being "bland", I'd think maybe more of an identity crisis. It seems there was enormous growth the past few decades without any real focus. Now that the growth has slowed, figuring out how to be a bigger city/metro is a challenge. Because there wasn't a focus as a tourist center or an educational area or high industry/manufacturing, there is such a mix that we don't really stand out like other places. Asheville embraced being hippie, foodie, touristy and that worked for them. Gatlinburg and Chattanooga have all the tourist stuff. Clarksville has Fort Campbell. We have little bits of some of this, but not the ONE thing.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:29 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Page2 View Post
The post said it was the Average Weekly Private Sector wage. Unfortunately that's the the way the BLS reports that component of wages. I never could find a median hourly wage, but the perfect isn't the enemy of the good and there's other data that rounds out the benchmark.

As pointed out in previous posts both the Tri-Cities median and mean family household income declined in 2012 when compared to 2008. The latest median is $49,462, down $2,526 from 2008. The Mean is $64,318, down $1,520 from 2008.

The Median earnings for a male working full time is $40,311, down $863 from 2008.
The Median earnings for a female working full time is $31,050 down $1,363 from 2008. If you adjust those salaries for inflation the decrease is more.

But none of that changes the original conversation. This is a tough economy. It's treating some people better than others.

I agree that in many ways Kingsport is a micro-level rust belt city. But I'd submit that it has done a better job of managing the change than those examples. And even with what we consider a decline the real GDP for manufacturing and all industries continues to grow. That doesn't mean it's perfect, because some people are doing well in this economy and others are not doing so well. And, Kingsport isn't the end-all to the Tri-Cities. I've lived in several areas before and if it gets to the point where I can't tolerate or afford it here I'll leave.
I do not know where this data is coming from, but those numbers are clearly higher than what is stated here directly in these community survey data.
Kingsport - American FactFinder - Community Facts
Johnson City - American FactFinder - Community Facts

In Kingsport, Median Household Income is 41,111 and in Johnson City it is 38,504, which are the highest for cities in the region. Median income for all workers in Kingsport was only 28,228 while in Johnson city it was 21,938. Counting all workers rather than just the full time employed gives a more accurate picture of the labor market since so many workers in the region are unable to find full time jobs and instead are relegated to menial part time service jobs, which they may work several of at a time.

I know from experience how much lower incomes are here compared to other similar priced metros. I was forced to move back with my parents for a year between undergrad and grad school, and worked at a local restaurant chain (here left nameless). I brought in just under 6,000 dollars working 40 hours a week as a server, and maybe once a month made 100 dollars on a day where I would work a 10 or 12 hour saturday. Since moving to Louisville, KY in July of 2013 (which has shopping, dining, and major college sports, as well as close access to many outdoor activities) I regularly make 150 dollars working at the same restaurant chain, for shifts half as long. I made over 8000 in Louisville during the last 6 months of the year, even after going down to 15 hours a week because I am back in school. Tip giving directly correlates to how comfortable people are financially. Now I am making more money, working less hours, have access to more amenities, and have lower bills to boot (even milk at the grocery store is barely half the cost in Louisville as in Kingsport)
These are the same reasons that the region's highest achieving high schoolers do not come back after graduation. Out of my graduating class in 2007, exactly 0 of the top 10 in the class have come back since graduating college. While I haven't retained close contact with many of them, FB lets me confidently estimate probably less than 10 of the top 40 have chosen to make the tri-cities their post graduation home. The region is great if you have already had a successful career, but for the vast majority of young people, why would you choose to live in this region when you could make more money, have more opportunities and amenities, and the same or lower cost of living? It's a no brainer. I grew up loving Kingsport, but unless there is serious work done to raise amenities and raise average incomes, this region will continue to decline.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 236,978 times
Reputation: 177
While I'm not discounting a lot of your information here, I do want to point out that Louisville has a population of almost 6 times what the Tri-Cities does, so comparing the two isn't really apples to apples. Louisville is more comparable to Nashville in terms of size and amenities, not to mention economy.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,477 posts, read 21,364,064 times
Reputation: 34962
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenladybug817 View Post
While I'm not discounting a lot of your information here, I do want to point out that Louisville has a population of almost 6 times what the Tri-Cities does, so comparing the two isn't really apples to apples. Louisville is more comparable to Nashville in terms of size and amenities, not to mention economy.
His story is just anecdotal, but it's quite telling. Louisville is probably a bit cheaper to live in than Nashville. When I was considering Nashville, I was surprised at how high rents were in most parts of the metro in relation to salaries. In order for me to get something I could afford on my expected $35k-$40k salary, I would have had to go out to the fringes (Murfreesboro or out into a considerably less populated area). Granted, I wouldn't expect to make more in Louisville than in Nashville, but Louisville is probably a good deal cheaper. The milk comment is amusing - I moved to IA two years ago and food was much cheaper at a regular store in IA than at Food City. Food prices here in suburban Boston are really about the same as east TN.

The Tri-Cities CSA (from Hancock County TN to Washington County VA has about a half million people in it. I'd honestly include more southwest VA counties and lop off Hancock from the CSA, but you probably get about the same number of people.

While it's no Nashville or even Knoxville, the Tri-Cities are not tiny. It should be able to get more than it does, but municipal governments just compete and do not cooperate.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
14,495 posts, read 24,589,657 times
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Emigrations, you have quite excellent detailed info.

I am no longer there, but Tri City airport is way over priced, the Asheville airport is MUCH better, and only a 45 minute drive south of Johnson City. Tri Cities is a REGIONAL airport, so it uses this to justify insane price gouging. In the ten years we lived in JC we used it once to go to Hawaii. Never again.
Info for those who want to know.

Knoxville is quite a drive, its not just an hour. The Mall at JC is a throwback to the 70's. Other than Earthfare there isn't much in the way of innovative /ethnic food. Angkor Bistro is a new Cambodian/Thai place I hear is good.

Not as familiar with Knoxville, but for retail, I'm sure the shopping and restaurants are much better than Tri Cities. Hiknapster is the Knoxville expert

For anyone wanting a smaller city with amenities, Knoxville is probably a much better fit. If you are retiring with a lot of grandkids, maybe you won't get bored in Johnson City. The Tri isn't really a city, hence the reason they combine Bristol, JC and Kingsport as a group, to "promote" an area that doesn't really work.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
168 posts, read 224,534 times
Reputation: 196
I have a few comments on this post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I'd like to see some concerts, even if they're relatively small or indie acts. There are barely any concerts here. Asheville does a really good job having a diverse music scene for a small town.
I grew up with stories from my parents of tremendous rock concerts at Freedom Hall - Bachmann Turner Overdrive, Marshall Tucker, Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Rush, ELO, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, etc. My reaction is, "What world did they live in?" Concerts in the Tri-Cities have been nonexistent for a full generation. See: Freedom Hall – Then And Now | Meaning, Media and Music

Quote:
I'd like to see a wider variety of shopping, particularly grocery stores. A Super Target would be a good start. How about a Whole Foods, Costco, or Trader Joe's? The Earthfare in JC is small compared to their other stores. You have some lower budget grocers (Priceless), but I'd say the vast majority of food is sold by Food City and Walmart. The Krogers are substandard and Ingles are few and far between.
Why Target has not updated their Johnson City store is beyond me. It's likely that the fallout from the Target data breach will limit the number of new store construction and store renovations for a time.

Whole Foods seems an unlikely candidate given their prices. The area could not support Whole Foods, EarthFare, and The Fresh Market. Trader Joe's is a FANTASTIC store; again, however, the area likely would not support it. Food City stores leave much to be desired. The University Kroger is acceptable and is rumored to see a facelift soon. The N. Roan Kroger...not so much. Ingle's is by far the premiere grocer in the area. Rumor has it they were interested in the former Kroger property on S. Roan, but the deal fell through. Of the complaints I hear from local professionals and those new to the area, grocery selection and pricing tops the list.

It boils down to this: native Tri-Citians are more than happy to support Food City as-is; others are far from impressed.

Quote:
Our restaurant scene isn't terrible, but we're covered up in chain restaurants. JC has some good local options, but Kingsport and Bristol are behind the curve. Also, if you wanted a high--end restaurant for a special occasion, where would you go in the Tri-Cities? Again, Asheville has a terrific restaurant scene for a town its size and isn't much larger than the Tri-Cities.
First and foremost, Asheville's restaurants are renowned nationally. It is a well-known culinary Mecca. There simply is no competing with it in this area. Johnson City suffers from unfortunate placement in that regard.

Johnson City does have a great local restaurant scene. On the short list: Jack's City Grill, Cootie Brown's, 112, El Charolais, Freiberg's, Scratch, The Firehouse, Miso, Tomy Thai, Alta Cucina, Babylon, The Paragon, The Battery...

It's an insult to the city's restaurant scene that Cheddar's (#4), Chick-Fil-A (#12), Marble Slab (#16)*, and Starbucks (#20) make the top 20 list on TripAdvisor. Pal's (#13) also makes the list, which is a bit perplexing. It's fine, and it's a local favorite; but, it's fast food, and certainly not a "can't-miss-it, gotta-have-it" stop for a visitor.

*My fiancée and I love Marble Slab. Marble Slab is not a restaurant. Marble Slab is dessert. Sadly, Johnson City's Marble Slab location is closing at the end of the month, leaving the city without a real ice cream stop.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Kingsport
184 posts, read 214,977 times
Reputation: 149
[quote=winstongm;34014647]I do not know where this data is coming from, but those numbers are clearly higher than what is stated here directly in these community survey data.
Kingsport - American FactFinder - Community Facts
Johnson City - American FactFinder - Community Facts

In Kingsport, Median Household Income is 41,111 and in Johnson City it is 38,504, which are the highest for cities in the region. Median income for all workers in Kingsport was only 28,228 while in Johnson city it was 21,938. Counting all workers rather than just the full time employed gives a more accurate picture of the labor market since so many workers in the region are unable to find full time jobs and instead are relegated to menial part time service jobs, which they may work several of at a time.

Sorry for not citing the source. The data is from the 2012 American Community Survey - 5 year study. To the best of my knowledge, that's the latest census data available. You can access the site from the Census main page, data sets, american community survey, advanced data.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 236,978 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmattjohns View Post
I have a few comments on this post.


I grew up with stories from my parents of tremendous rock concerts at Freedom Hall - Bachmann Turner Overdrive, Marshall Tucker, Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Rush, ELO, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, etc. My reaction is, "What world did they live in?" Concerts in the Tri-Cities have been nonexistent for a full generation. See: Freedom Hall – Then And Now | Meaning, Media and Music

Why Target has not updated their Johnson City store is beyond me. It's likely that the fallout from the Target data breach will limit the number of new store construction and store renovations for a time.

Whole Foods seems an unlikely candidate given their prices. The area could not support Whole Foods, EarthFare, and The Fresh Market. Trader Joe's is a FANTASTIC store; again, however, the area likely would not support it. Food City stores leave much to be desired. The University Kroger is acceptable and is rumored to see a facelift soon. The N. Roan Kroger...not so much. Ingle's is by far the premiere grocer in the area. Rumor has it they were interested in the former Kroger property on S. Roan, but the deal fell through. Of the complaints I hear from local professionals and those new to the area, grocery selection and pricing tops the list.

It boils down to this: native Tri-Citians are more than happy to support Food City as-is; others are far from impressed.

First and foremost, Asheville's restaurants are renowned nationally. It is a well-known culinary Mecca. There simply is no competing with it in this area. Johnson City suffers from unfortunate placement in that regard.

Johnson City does have a great local restaurant scene. On the short list: Jack's City Grill, Cootie Brown's, 112, El Charolais, Freiberg's, Scratch, The Firehouse, Miso, Tomy Thai, Alta Cucina, Babylon, The Paragon, The Battery...

It's an insult to the city's restaurant scene that Cheddar's (#4), Chick-Fil-A (#12), Marble Slab (#16)*, and Starbucks (#20) make the top 20 list on TripAdvisor. Pal's (#13) also makes the list, which is a bit perplexing. It's fine, and it's a local favorite; but, it's fast food, and certainly not a "can't-miss-it, gotta-have-it" stop for a visitor.

*My fiancée and I love Marble Slab. Marble Slab is not a restaurant. Marble Slab is dessert. Sadly, Johnson City's Marble Slab location is closing at the end of the month, leaving the city without a real ice cream stop.
Large music group concerts like those in the link you sent are highly unlikely to happen and not because they wouldn't do them at Freedom Hall. The music industry changed. Big name acts are not going to come to a place of this size. They want HUGE stadiums and domes to pack to the gills. That's all about the almighty dollar there and we don't have the space they want. I bet any big name group that came through here would sell out quickly, but isn't worth it for a tour schedule that only has 30 dates or similar. Knoxville doesn't even get a fair shake for a lot of them. And again, comparing us to Asheville isn't a real comparison. They developed into this destination like place and can support a completely different level of amenities than a typical area their size. We should really compare the Tri-Cities to places like Bowling Green KY perhaps. College town with some industry.

Trip Advisor and Yelp both crack me up with the listings. This is not what I would consider a high-tech community. Many companies seem to struggle with basic websites, much less promoting themselves on social media/review sites. However, this seems to be the case with a lot of mid-sized towns all over.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 236,978 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamofmonterey View Post
Emigrations, you have quite excellent detailed info.

I am no longer there, but Tri City airport is way over priced, the Asheville airport is MUCH better, and only a 45 minute drive south of Johnson City. Tri Cities is a REGIONAL airport, so it uses this to justify insane price gouging. In the ten years we lived in JC we used it once to go to Hawaii. Never again.
Info for those who want to know.

Knoxville is quite a drive, its not just an hour. The Mall at JC is a throwback to the 70's. Other than Earthfare there isn't much in the way of innovative /ethnic food. Angkor Bistro is a new Cambodian/Thai place I hear is good.

Not as familiar with Knoxville, but for retail, I'm sure the shopping and restaurants are much better than Tri Cities. Hiknapster is the Knoxville expert

For anyone wanting a smaller city with amenities, Knoxville is probably a much better fit. If you are retiring with a lot of grandkids, maybe you won't get bored in Johnson City. The Tri isn't really a city, hence the reason they combine Bristol, JC and Kingsport as a group, to "promote" an area that doesn't really work.
I'm an airplane price junkie. We lived in Arizona briefly and had to fly 6 children back to the midwest regularly for custody reasons. I learned comparison shopping out of pure necessity. (We once drove 5 hours to El Paso TX because they happened to have a deal on flights to Nashville and even adding in the cost of gas, saved us over $500.)

Since my husband and I are flying up to NYC for a wedding this fall, I did a quick price check. For the weekend in question, November 14-16, these were the prices on Kayak. (I'd search more, but I'm being lazy.)
Tri-Cities to Newark $354 pp
Asheville to Newark $300 pp (Had a couple less expensive, but they returned to SC???)
Charlotte to Newark $281 pp

Not enough of a difference to call it price gouging. Yes, TRI is regional. There is the whole supply and demand thing going on, so the prices in a lower volume airport, that typically services regional "puddle jumpers" with fewer seats is going to have a higher price than an airport that is a hub of a major airline. (Charlotte). As I've mentioned, comparing us to Asheville is silly. They have a higher volume and that by the laws of economics brings the price down.

The JC mall a throwback to the 70s? It's not big, but I wouldn't go that far in describing it. I personally was a bit surprised at a mall its size had the stores it did. I found it to be relatively modern looking and not half bad.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,477 posts, read 21,364,064 times
Reputation: 34962
I wouldn't expect the Tri-Cities to draw Lady Gaga or Beyonce, but we get next to no concerts from nonlocal bands. Like I said, we're not tiny - we're an area of about a half million. When I lived in Des Moines (about 600k metro), there were more rock and metal concerts than I could go to. I've been to a few concerts in Greenville, SC - again, neither are huge. I remember seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra in JC several years back and that's the last concert of note I recall there. We don't have decent bars/clubs like Mothlight or Orange Peel in Asheville to see an act. There's really no local concert scene at all other than purely local bands. Some of the acts in this list are still going on, but no one comes here anymore. It's sad how that aspect has declined.
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