Forbes Magazine’s 2016 list of Best Cities for Young Professionals ranks Cincinnati a very respectable #15 in the nation, even among hot-spot regions like San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Denver. As a young professional, this is exciting confirmation of what I already knew. But as Cincinnatian’s know, each neighborhood here is its own organism and some areas are more attractive to young professionals than others.
When I was nearing graduation from Xavier University, many of my peers were clamoring for job offers in the popular and trendy Over-The-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood. OTR is charming with lots of character and is within easy walking distance of a multitude of unique restaurants, clubs, and bars that draw crowds of young professionals at lunchtime and after work. Other XU grads opted for jobs in the central business district at one of Cincinnati’s 10 Fortune 500 companies. I was an outlier (I prefer to think trendsetter) when I accepted a position in the suburbs, namely Anderson Township.
My decision to work in Anderson proved to be an excellent choice. On the surface, there are obvious positive attributes — beautiful parks, close proximity to highways, and a pleasing mix of city and rural life, to name a few. Once I started working here, though, I learned Anderson has even more to offer those who dig below the surface.
It was clear as soon as I attended my first networking event, that Anderson is a close knit community. The Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce is highly effective at bringing business owners and employees together for social gatherings, entertainment, community service opportunities and other events. It has allowed me, for example, to go into the classroom and teach financial concepts in local elementary schools. The relationships I am forming result in friendships, business opportunities, social connection and an important sense of community. At this point, it’s rare to go out to lunch without running into someone I know!
Anderson offers a plethora of eateries and bars– perfect for business lunches, happy hours and/or a night out. Those numbers are increasing too, as more entertainment comes to the township, like the Ovation Cinema Grill, which opens early 2017, and the newly opened Bar Louie. Shopping options are growing too, as the Shoppes of Anderson Towne Center expands its retail stores. The suburbs tend to have a reputation for being boring, without much to do – not the case here!
A Millennial’s Take
I still enjoy a trip to OTR, and a 12-minute drive gets me there, but Anderson is no slouch either. For someone who grew up in a town of 13,000, the small-town feel of Anderson is important and makes it seem like home. When you pair that feeling with growing entertainment, dining, shopping and social opportunities, it’s an ideal place for a young professional, like me, to start a career. Affordable rent and home prices, highly ranked public schools and a tight-knit, supportive business community just might make it an ideal place to stay for the long-term.