Columbus, Ohio - led by its' welcoming community and Mayor Michael Coleman has been steadily growing! Validating it's progress today, Forbes has ranked Columbus, Ohio as the #1 Opportunity City in America!
(Related: YourInfoDaily.com, based in Ohio, hopes to raise $45,000 to continue to make an impact, further growth)
by: Erin Carlyle, Forbes Staff
Columbus, Ohio, was supposed to be just a temporary stop in 2006 on the way East for Josh and Niki Quinn, a place to save money and plan their new business. After years of living in Los Angeles, where they launched the wholesale wallets and accessories brand Maxine Dear, the couple had decided to open a retail shop, either in Philly or New York.
A few months into their Columbus camp-out, they decided to stay put. “As we started comparing Columbus and what it had to offer with the other cities, especially when cost got factored into it, we saw that we would be able to do something right away, and on a larger scale than we would in other cities on the East Coast,” says Josh Quinn.
In particular, the couple fell in love with the Short North neighborhood, with its High Street shopping corridor, cobblestone streets and historic homes. In 2007 the Quinns opened Tigertree, an apparel, gift and home furnishings shop. They started out in a Short North alleyway, and a year later moved onto a larger High Street location. Last year, the couple bought an 1890 home just blocks away from their shop, at a price Josh Quinn describes as “on the lower end” of the $250,000 to $400,000 range.
Quinn says they have no regrets about skipping the cooler East Coast cities for the Midwest. “I’ve never seen so much pride in a city. It’s kind of jarring, initially,” he says.
It’s not just the Short North neighborhood that makes Columbus a city of opportunity. A major factor is its very low cost of home ownership (the median sales price in the first quarter was $99,900). Amenities like Ohio State, a major university in the heart of downtown, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and a top-tier hospital make it a city where people can build a career as well as a rewarding life. Columbus lands the No. 1 spot on our inaugural list of Opportunity Cities, which we developed in collaboration with Sperling’s Best Places.
Unlike major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where professionals in the early to middle phases of their careers (ages 25 to 39) might feel overwhelmed or lost in the shuffle, most of these cities are small enough that enterprising people can really make their mark. But they’re still large enough to offer amenities—museums, parks, and in many cases vibrant downtowns–that make for a high quality of life. Most importantly, because these places offer affordable housing, residents enjoy the opportunity to spend their energy getting creative, starting a company, or simply enjoying time off, without the pressure-cooker professional environment and stressfully high housing costs that are the hallmark of many of the nation’s biggest job centers...
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