Family with Small Business Drawn to Pittsville, Wisconsin
Pittsville Attractive to Small Wisconsin Businesses
Since moving to Pittsville in November 2017, married couple Mike Hobbs and Kim Baas have been asked many times why they chose to make Wisconsin’s centermost community their home.
“The simple answer is there was a house for sale that met our needs,” said Hobbs. “A lot of hours went into thinking about where we wanted to live, what things were essential, and what things would be nice to have.”
Kim had been self-employed since the birth of the couple’s first daughter in 2010. In the spring of 2015, they started their current business: Event City Design.
“We found ourselves living in a small apartment with four kids and a successful business and purchasing our first home became a priority,” said Hobbs.
The family looked at a number of other states, mostly for tax reasons, but ultimately decided to remain in Wisconsin.
“We created a checklist with a point system in order to rank properties we were looking at. We wanted a small community with a great school within walking distance, low crime, and easy access to 24-hour stores. We needed high speed internet since our business is an online store,” he said.
By the fall of 2017, they had given up looking. Their busiest time of year for the business was approaching and they needed to focus their attention on that.
“It was also creeping into our minds that maybe our perfect house just didn’t exist. We’d been house hunting for so long that it had become a bit of a hobby, though, so we took one last look…That’s when we found it,” said Hobbs.
The 5-bedroom home with room for the business and less than a half a mile from the school.
“Of course, the fear of moving to a small community is that you’ll be treated as outsiders, unwanted and ostracized,” he said. “It’s hard to find information online for small communities but we read online reviews for local businesses and watched Youtube videos. There is one video of the 4th of July parade that still stands out. We came to see the house, stopped at the local cafe, the gas station, and Baum’s Mercantile. We were convinced and bought the house.”
“That next spring, early morning, I was standing outside with my cup of coffee looking up at a still starry sky, listening to the Yellow River rushing through the rocks and I was overcome with how thankful I was that we found this place,” said Hobbs. “Since then, we’ve met so many wonderful people here. Some of them seem like they’ve been lifelong friends.”
The couple were able to buy a downtown building for the business and have become involved in a number of community groups. Though the family is happily settled, their hobby of looking at real estate hasn’t gone away.
“The thing that sticks out about Pittsville is that houses don’t come up for sale very often,” said Hobbs. “Fortunately, the city has invested in a few residential developments, offers a building incentive, and lot prices are remarkably cheap even compared to other cities in Wood County.”
Hobbs credits the building incentive as just one of many reasons to make Pittsville home for young families.
“I can create a list of amenities you wouldn’t think about finding in a small community such as; recreational opportunities, five business parks within a 20-minute drive, a calendar full of events/fairs but really the biggest reason for choosing Pittsville is the people,” he said. “This last fall we were at the Blue Bayou talking with a guy from Connecticut and laughing about how Pittsville is like moving to Mayberry from the Andy Griffith show.”
To learn more about opportunities in Pittsville, visit www.pittsvillewi.com.
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