The secret’s out: Wilmington a top spot for people looking to relocate

Wilmington has long been a remote, work-from-home kind of location, because of the lifestyle it offers.=
Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 2:27 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Yorker Brian Kobus and his girlfriend have crash landed in Wilmington for a job opportunity. Not a bad gig — looking over a city, labeled #1 for inbound moves in all of the U.S.

A recent study done by United Van Lines places the Port City at the top spot, when it comes to inbound moves. North Carolina, as a whole, ranking number six in the top 10 states for inbound residents.

Natalie English, the the president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, says Wilmington has long been a remote, work-from-home kind of location, because of the lifestyle it offers. The pandemic is now magnifying the need to chart the trend and market it.

“There are some things rolling out in 2021 that will enhance our economic development opportunities,” says English. “Not only with our current partners in the recruitment business, but also our partners looking at entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Small business owner David Rishel is a prime example. He brings to Wilmington decades of restaurant experience in Ohio and New York City.

“As you know, COVID was rough on New York,” says Rishel. “Professionally, I found myself lost and floundering.”

Rishel moved to Wilmington, and with his business partner, opened up the Cheese Board in the City Market along Water Street.

“It’s been incredible,” says Rishel. “We’ve sold 12 hundred pounds of cheese in the last 54 days and already expanded our retail space. It’s been a terrific opportunity.”

For new visitors to the Port City, they’ll see new livings options as a handful of upscale apartment complexes have popped up. Flats on Front, Pier 33 Apartments and the Overlook at River Place.

“Oh, easily about 75 percent of my calls are from out of town,” says leasing consultant Susie Bratton. “Wilmington offers a lifestyle for so many people. We’ve got the history of downtown, we’ve got easy access to beaches. We’re finding people who may have vacationed here, are coming back to call this place home.”

“Throughout the pandemic in 2020, major metropolitan areas and hots pots, such as New York City (72%), Newark (72%) and Chicago (69%), experienced greater outbound migration, while lower-density cities like Wilmington, North Carolina (79%) and Boise, Idaho (75%) saw high levels of inbound moves,” according to the release provided by United Van Lines.

Brian, and his fiance’ came to town with all kinds of open ended options. A few months in, they’re hooked.

“Oh, we love it and we see a lot of out of towners like us who think it’s terrific” says Linda Grimm. “We’ve been here a few months now and have decided we’d like to stay and buy a house.”

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