Calling All You Boomerangs
By Joe Baur
The idea of moving to LA or Chicago crosses the mind of every young professional at some point in their lives. Aaron Marks, 28-year old account director at Payscape Advisors, was no different.
Originally from the suburbs of Northeast Ohio, Marks made a “temporary” move back to Cleveland from New York City in order to save money with his girlfriend, Rebecca Pelfrey, 26, before making the leap to a much larger, presumably more sophisticated city. While here, Marks wanted to “show off” his city to his girlfriend.
But there was just one problem. He didn’t know where to start. “Growing up in the Cleveland suburbs, you take what this city offers for granted.”
Marks’ return forced him to explore the heart of his home region for the very first time. “What happened in the process was not expected,” he recalls. “I fell in love with a Cleveland I never knew existed.” Before long, Marks and Pelfrey found themselves inundated with the architecture, food and culture they were searching for without the exorbitant cost of living of NYC, LA or Chicago. Needless to say, it didn’t take any arm-twisting to convince his girlfriend to settle on a home in Ohio City.
“I can walk to the West Side Market, go shopping at Room Service, grab flowers at Urban Orchid and have a great meal at Crop all in one day,” he says, listing off the reasons they’ve decided to call this west side neighborhood home. “Plus it is a genuine community. We even have neighborhood dinners and movie nights. We are happy to say we ended up in Cleveland!”
Elizabeth Hijar, Boomerang Program Consultant at Global Cleveland, hopes to keep the boomerang momentum going with a happy hour event this Thu 5/24 from 5:30 – 8:30pm at Market Garden Brewery. “Global Cleveland organized this happy hour event in partnership with Ohio City Inc. to build a team of ambassadors who can serve as advisors to other potential boomerangs and newcomers,” explains Hijar. “And to spread the message that Cleveland wants former Clevelanders to return home.” The group plans to showcase Ohio City in particular as “a thriving neighborhood that is attracting many newcomers and boomerangs.”
Global Cleveland will also present a short program where people can learn more about Ohio City and what they’re doing to attract those who have left Northeast Ohio for supposed greener pastures. Keeping in the boomerang spirit, authors Justin Glanville and Julia Kuo will be on hand signing copies of their book New To Cleveland.
At the end of the evening, Hijar hopes attendees walk away with a better sense of one of Cleveland’s most attractive neighborhoods. “We also hope they leave energized about what is happening in Cleveland and that they share that energy with friends and family who might [be] considering boomeranging back to Cleveland.”
While Marks is just one example, data suggests there are hundreds who have left New York City to return home to the Forest City. “One of our target markets is New York City,” Hijar explains. “Our data shows that from 1996 to 2008, Cleveland had +1017 net positive migration with New York. That means more New Yorkers moved to Cleveland than vice versa in that time period.” Global Cleveland expects many of those were boomerangs.
“Cleveland rocks,” says Hijar, echoing the Ian Hunter mantra. “Go tell your friends who left that it’s time to come home.”
Tap Into Ohio City will be held Thu 5/24 from 5:30 – 8:30pm @ Market Garden Brewery, 1947 West 25th Street, Cleveland. http://GlobalClevelandInitiative.com.