If your business is going to move, I have some advice from my move to San Antonio. After all, being a digital business doesn’t exclude shopping locally. Moving is hard and also easy. Well, let’s stick with “hard” for now. There’s a lot of change which is freeing, but change means you need new doctors, yoga instructors, and hair colorists.
I moved to San Antonio, Texas from Dana Point, California on September 12, 2020. Yes, I moved during the pandemic. Why? Well, that requires quite a bit of back story, but suffice it to say I needed to leave the ghosts back in California.
“Change will do you good.” Sherryl Crow
I sold or donated everything that wouldn’t fit into my 2020 Civic and started my four-day road trip to Alamo City. It was the best decision I ever made.
One of the first things I did after finding my apartment while on vacation, is to follow local hashtags both on Twitter and Instagram. Of course, once I found a business that was interesting, I followed and listed it in my SATX list on Twitter. My specific neighborhood is Southtown so also following #SouthtownSATX is a good move. Do some digging. It takes work. But hey, I met a new friend on Instagram and we’ve had a few lunches.
It doesn’t end after you move, though. Keep up with those hashtags. We may work in the digital world, but we live in a local one. Following and using these hashtags is how the San Antonio Report reached out to me to write a story about my neighborhood.
Google Maps is Your Best Friend
Google Maps is your best friend after you move to a new city — heck, even during your relocation search. Make a new list of places you want to check out. Create a bucket list of restaurants to try, too. Read the reviews (and leave some for others). Rhonda Negard did this when she and her husband moved back to San Antonio after military retirement; we never have to wonder where we’re going for lunch. We look at the list.
I created another list for SATX Live Music on Google Maps as well as SATX Parks and SATX Museums. Once a month, I intend on visiting a museum here. I’ve been to the Witte and San Antonio Museum of Art, but I still need to hit the McNay. I also visited the Zoo and went Kayaking on the River. I enjoy doing things spontaneously — by myself. It’s hard to be spontaneous with other people. Keep your eyes open. See what other people do. Enjoy your new home.
Collaborate With Locals After You Move
I moved to San Antonio knowing a few people, one of whom is Rhonda Negard. So, we do lunches based on our list but we also go driving to find cool places. That’s how we both found Spechts Country Store. They have live music, an inside bar, and outside area even with games. It’s really neat.
My friend Scott Croom has also been invaluable with insider tips and advice. Whether you chat in private or send out a tweet or two, locals are happy to share tips. Kimberly, the bartender at Rosario’s is the one who turned me on to my new favorite pub, Francis Bogside and Roy Quismundo turned me on to Halcyon.
Join Local Meetups and Facebook Groups
I joined a few Meetups (odd during COVID) and finally went to a Trivia Night. It was fun. I also went to a couple of virtual WordPress Meetups as well. From the Facebook Groups (and asking questions) is how I found Roy Quismundo who got my business cards printed. I haven’t used the Nextdoor app, but I hear people complain there.
Don’t forget to go to city events, too!
Visit City Websites and State Parks
If you’ve moved to another city in the same state, that’s fine. Check out the local, state, and national parks. I’ve been to the San Pedro Springs Pool and Garner State Park as well as Padre Island National Seashore. So many more places to go, too!
Fall in love with where you live. Any relationship takes time and attention. You’ll learn to appreciate where you live even more. Do you see a theme of appreciation and gratitude? It’s a big reason why moves are successful.
Walk the Neighborhood Before and After You Move
When I was here on vacation last year, I looked up Mexican food downtown on Google Maps. Since I loved Ricardo’s in San Juan Capistrano, Google Maps recommended Rosario’s. I fell in love with their food, looked at apartments.com, and found my complex. Then I started driving around the neighborhood — not just listening to Google Maps tell me where to go.
Sure, my neighborhood is part of the San Antonio Housing Authority and used to be “the projects” known as Victoria Gardens. At the same time, there’s a great mix of homes, duplexes, and apartments. Some gentrification but also some historical homes — like the oldest wooden home in San Antonio.
Walking in my neighborhood helped me get a sense of the culture and friendliness of the people (that’s how I learned about the oldest home). Yes, it’s hot and humid in San Antonio; this is South Texas. Also, anything east of the continental divide will be humid. But look for the things you do like about your new home — the architecture, local flora and fauna, animals, sounds, culture.
Walking in my neighborhood makes me feel like Snow White. I am routinely passed by various butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. Chickens may come up to you and cats just chill out. Don’t compare your new city to the old one and look for flaws. You’ll never be happy that way.
Walking in my neighborhood is how I found my dentist, a mechanic for an oil change, a community garden, and new bars and restaurants. I became familiar enough with this area enough to find my counselor — which I walk to. But if you need a medical professional, don’t be afraid to drive, too. Rhonda gave me a great referral to my eye doctor.
No matter what you do, be open to possibilities and exploration. Your move is better if you move with optimism.
Small businesses — Are you using local hashtags, Google My Business, and asking for reviews?