Dylan Pollack and Rebecca Brooks wanted to play outside and launch a business. For them, that added up to living in Chattanooga.
"We looked at a lot of different variables," Brooks says. "We were traveling to a lot of outdoor towns, but Chattanooga is closer to where our families live, and the winters aren't as harsh here so we can play year 'round."
The two were running an outdoor outfitter at the foot of Mt. Ranier in Washington for four years before they decided to make a move. The considered New York, Colorado and Oregon before they settled on Chattanooga.
"There's so much going on here, there's so much to do," Brooks says. "That's really fun."
They've launched a personal finance business to help fellow outdoor enthusiasts plan their budgets to prioritize play, and moved into an apartment on the Southside while they think about where to set up more permanently.
"With starting the business, we've been going to a lot of networking events," Brooks says. "Everybody is just as friendly as we thought they'd be."
But the view of the chicken processing plant from their apartment in Bluebird Row was not something Brooks and Pollack were counting on.
"I'm staring at it right now," Brooks says during a phone call from the apartment. "It's crazy. The smell is putrid."
To make matters just a little worse, they're both vegetarians. It makes sense that the old economy of the industrial South Side is bumping up against its new identity as an entertainment and residential district, Brooks says.
And, ultimately, they plan to settle into a place that will offer them better views — and smells.
"We're super happy to be here," Brooks says. "We're really enjoying it and looking forward to becoming locals."
Dylan Pollack and Rebecca Brooks
* Arrived: September 2019 from Mt. Ranier, Washington
* The draw: A warm climate with access to climbing, biking and kayaking
* Here for it: “The cost of living is good. A lot of outdoor towns are pretty pricey.”
* Less than perfect: “The chicken factory. I had done so much research, and nothing came up about that.”