Up until the 1960's, Rochester's economy was dynamic and growing, and the area's major employers of the day often needed to build their management teams with outside talent. Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and several other firms were industrial giants, and some offered prospective executives handsome relocation packages.
But Rochester's relocation business isn't what it used to be. As the region's economy changed, the flow of employee relocations has reduced to a trickle. Job losses, taxes, and even cold weather have taken their toll on the allure of Upstate New York over the last 30 years.
Many people, however, still move to the Rochester area, often to be closer to family and friends. This region also attracts thousands of higher-education students to its cluster of colleges and universities. So whether you're a Rochester newbie or you're returning after being away for several years, what do you need to know? How do you find a place to live and settle in?
Mark Siwiec, a real estate agent with Nothnagle Realtors, says it all comes down to three factors: neighborhoods, schools, and property values. Frequently, Siwiec's first task is being what he calls an ambassador for Rochester, because so much of his work involves educating newcomers about the benefits of living here.
Siwiec says he spends about 20 minutes on the phone with clients to help him understand their needs and expectations. Then he develops a tour for people who are unfamiliar with the area that highlights their interests, he says. His tours regularly include visits to Wegmans' Pittsford store, Schoen Place, the Little Theatre, 2 Vine restaurant, and the Eastman School of Music's Kilbourn Hall.
"If they have children, I always take them to the Strong [National Museum of Play], he says. Rochesterians "live and eat like kings," Siwiec argues. "We take it all for granted. We have a culinary sophistication that you don't have in many parts of the country."
Whether you're just moving to a different community in Monroe County or you're relocating from another state, here's some additional information to help you get established:
Emergency ambulance, fire, and police: 911
Greater Rochester Visitors Association: (585) 546-6810; the office provides maps and information on events, tourist sites, and activities in the area.
Department of Motor Vehicles: (585) 753-1604
Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation: (800) 743-2110
Frontier internet: (877) 674-0852
Frontier residential telephone: (585) 777-4663
Time Warner cable television, telephone, internet: (585) 756-5000
Monroe County Clerk: (585) 753-1600
Monroe County Water Authority: (585) 442-2000
Monroe County waste and recycling: Cascade Recovery US (585) 527-8110; Waste Management (800) 333-6590
City of Rochester: information, 311 or (585) 428-5990