People who live in one community for an extensive period of time often hear the phrase, “There’s nothing for me here,” from teens and young adults trying to decide what to do with their lives. Parents, whose children are now adults, know and accept the fact that kids grow up and move on, often to another part of the state or country.
More than 63 percent of adults in the United States move to a new community at least once in their lives, while only 37 percent never leave their hometowns, according to a report by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. The same report states about 40 percent of the people surveyed cited job or business opportunities as a major reason to stay and 44 percent cited the same as a reason to relocate.
Here are four reasons people raised in the Abingtons chose to stick around to do business here, as well as a little background on each.
1. Proximity to other areas from which to draw business.
Normand R. Bourcier, of Clarks Summit, owner of Euromoto, La Plume, is happy with the location of his small used car lot on Routes 6 and 11 because of the large volume of highway traffic. One reason this is important is the Abingtons’ proximity to a number of other areas, such as Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Moscow and Binghamton, from which to potentially draw business.
“It’s a place that a lot of people pass through,” he said.
To him, the Abingtons is more than that.
Born in the small New England town of Worcestor, Massachusetts in 1966, Bourcier moved with his family to Northeastern Pennsylvania at age 6 and never left.
He is a third generation American from a French Canadian family. Both his parents taught at area universities and, after young Bourcier graduated from Abington Heights, his father told him to either “go to college or start paying rent.” So, he went to The University of Scranton and, after graduating, got a job at a local sportswear company.
In November 1994, he reached what he describes as the “lowest point” of his life when he lost his job due to the closing of the plant and his mother due to chronic leukemia. He and his future wife still desired to stay in the area, however, and he worked two other jobs to make that happen before getting into import auto sales and opening Euromoto in 1999.
Bourcier started the business restoring and selling MGs to generate working capital and evolved into selling mostly Subarus, due to their local desirability, even at high mileages. He said the brand is one of the most popular in the region.
2. A small town atmosphere where people support local businesses.
Chas Sandercock, owner of Summit Frameworks and Fine Art in Clarks Green, said the Abingtons is a great place for small business owners because people have a small-town mindset in which they prefer to support local businesses over larger retailers and chains.
“I think that the Abingtons is still a growing area, and there are opportunities here,” he said. “You look at a place like Duffy’s (Coffee House) that recently moved and expanded. If you can find your niche, it’s a good market in this area.”
Sandercock found his own niche back in 1980 when he started off small scale with a framing business on one side of the building at 111 N. Abington Road, later taking over the full space in 1995.
He grew up in Scranton and has always lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania with the exception of a brief time away for college. He has lived in Waverly for the past 19 years, and loves the area for its natural beauty, laid-back atmosphere, bounty of outdoor activities and thriving art scene.
“If you can earn a living in NEPA, I think it’s a really nice place to live,” he said.
At Summit Frameworks and Fine Art, Sandercock specializes in custom picture framing, the sale of local artwork and repair jobs, such as broken glass and “little things that would be a pain to get done if (he) wasn’t here.”
3. Less stress equals a better quality of life.
For James J. Gilotti, certified elder law attorney at Oliver Price & Rhodes, living and working in the Abingtons means less stress and a better life for him and his family.
“Living in a big city or very close to a big city would bring with it having to deal with a lot of traffic and congestion on a regular basis,” he said. “Those things are stressful. We don’t have them here. But, we do have a lot of amenities that you would not get living in a rural area, like plenty of good restaurants, entertainment, cultural events. So, there’s a good quality of life living in this area, especially in the Abingtons.”
He said Lackawanna County is a “nice place to practice law” with a more friendly atmosphere than many metropolitan areas. He explained there is a tradition of good collegial relationships among area lawyers as opposed to the stereotypical tension-creating adversarial relationships one might expect elsewhere.
To him, Northeastern Pennsylvania is also home. He and his wife both grew up in Carbondale and choosing to live in Clarks Summit after they were married allowed their son to see his grandparents every week, which enhanced their family life and kept the local ties strong.
4. Relationships between businesses and the community generate strong ties.
After growing up in Clarks Summit and graduating from Abington Heights High School, Hilary Steinberg went to Ithaca College for her Bachelor of Science in communications, then moved to Los Angeles where she worked for 14 1/2 years in the entertainment industry. There, she primarily worked as a talent agent, but also produced a couple short films.
She referred to this part of her life in a positive light, saying, “I learned a lot and I did everything I always wanted to do.”
But, she said there came a point when she wanted to do something “more valuable” with her life. That’s what brought her back to her hometown, a place to which she felt she had something more to give.
She is now owner and instructor at Jaya Yoga, 320 S. State St. in Clarks Summit, a yoga, pilates and specialty fitness studio. The facility has a hot yoga room, showers and a scent bar.
“After spending 14 1/2 years in L.A., where everyone is out for themselves, this area is about symbiotic relationships,” she said.
She explained many business owners are here to benefit the community, and in turn, the community offers its support. The same is true between business owners: they help each other out, celebrate with each other and work together for the good of the community. That, she said, is the key to business success in this area.
“There is just a really special and unique community in Clarks Summit and the Abingtons,” she said.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal