This summer we received news that Zoe was not getting into the desired highs school she was hoping for. This for many Chicago Mothers is a huge dilemma, when their child is not accepted into the right school and they have the choice of moving to the suburbs or paying for private school. My husband and I searched all over the suburbs, but the property taxes were not attractive to us in a state that runs their budget beyond poorly. The other alternative, private school, we were not excited at the fact of paying for tuition when we are self-employed and responsible for others.
It was then we began searching for alternatives. My husband and I had lived in the city for most of our lives (myself 20 years and my husband longer) and our daughter was born and raised there. We deliberately wanted her to be surrounded with cultural diversity and have a great understanding of the complexity of our world.
We loved our city and her school, and with that we built our businesses. All to feel rejected when it came time to choose a high school.
Chicago has definitely changed, the crime has run rampant, and considering myself a true Chicagoan have lived in a variety of diverse neighborhoods from fringe to upscale. I no longer felt safe. It did not help that recently my daughter and I were shouted at and tailed home by a man who had shown that his intentions were up to no good after simply renting a Red Box movie down the street. It took my husband running outside and threatening him to ward him off. He was not expecting my husband to be there.
There were several other incidents in our neighborhood that helped usher our decision to look for alternatives. After all, if it was just my husband and I, we would not care as much. Big cities have crime and problems that ebb and flow. But, our daughter who is now a independent teen, was the one I worried about.
Although, I won't give up on Chicago. I am keeping my business there, and LOVE my city, even though it is going through a rough patch. It was then I was searching for alternatives. After all, I was an entrepreneur that can push for creativity and work from anywhere?
It was then we decided to move to our lake house that we had been renting out to people on AirBnB. A beautiful 100 year old Craftsman farmhouse. Nearby, the public high school was excellent with a great education that we could offer our daughter. Needless to say, I am lucky enough to have a staff that I can rely on while working remotely.
Besides, I was myself in a rut. My business is humming along, but not growing. As many entrepreneurs can relate, I was working more IN the business rather than ON the business. I needed a chance to step away, regroup and refocus. My husband being self-employed had projects that he could work on remotely. Why not give it a try? After all we were two hours from Chicago? I could come in weekly to check on the store, while really focusing my efforts on GROWING the business.
I can't say much about what is to come with Le Thrift Consignment, although it is all positive as I harness creativity to make it a more successful company for my customers, consignors and employees (I don't want my competitors to know the next move). Besides, thinking outside the box had always been what has made Le Thrift successful to go up against others that are richly funded by venture capitalists.
Then reality hit me as my friend was visiting a few weeks ago. I was really moving to the country. The real country. Late at night as we were sitting by the lake, we saw in the shadows something that resembled our dog. Although, it was long and lanky. It trotted directly towards us in the shadows of the trees, away from the light. As it came closer, my friend and I realized it was a large, adult female fox who was just as startled as us when we came into contact. It was then the reality of this city girl was really making a change in life.
Although, this is just a launching pad for where we are going next. We decided as a family that we were up for an adventure and trying out new things. As long as our daughter has a good education, we are going to move again. This experience now is a test to make sure that my staff and I smooth out the details before jumping again to another city.
While most children would fear this type of life, our daughter who is aspiring to be a travel writer, is jumping into it. She is excited about meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and lifestyles.
Moving forward Chicago will always be considered our home base. It is truly one of the most magnificent cities in the world. It is my really my hope that the politicians that run the city and the state can put us back on track. The people of Chicago deserve better.