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August 27, 2008

Why would you come back to Wichita!?!

Heather Bohrer

by YPW Member Ryan

Like many of you, I was moved to Wichita by my employer. You may be curious as to what this Midwest town has to offer and why anybody would choose to live here. It’s flat, there are a lot of churches and “there’s nothing to do” (b.s. btw- that’s a different topic all together, get out more.)
Like the Johnny Cash song “I’ve been everywhere,” I too, have been everywhere. My travels in the past year have taken me from Colorado to the Atlantic, from Canada to Florida. I’ve seen a lot of the country, and it was an amazing time. (If you are ever looking for a career change, look into mobile marketing. It’s truly a blast!) I’m originally from Colorado, a state with more to offer me than Kansas simply based on the activities I love doing.
I remember a time I was traveling through New Jersey when the realization hit me that in this amazing society, every town is EXACTLY the same. There are the preverbal big-box stores, the fast-food chains, and the same restaurants everywhere. It’s great if you are a major connoisseur of Buffalo Wild Wings like I am, but not-so-great if you like to try new things.
Then I started to think of my daily schedule. I get up, work out, go to work, visit with friends, read, relax and pass out. I do this five days per week. The other two are reserved for chores, church and spending time with my friends and family. It would be no different anywhere else in the country. Call me boring, but that’s my rut.
When I gave it some serious thought, I came to the realization that I could start a company anywhere in the US. I have enough contacts in Tampa, New York City, Denver, Chicago, Las Vegas and of course here. Each of these towns has pretty much the same thing to offer me, but why Wichita?
Here’s why:
1. It’s cheap
My sister and her husband live in Los Angeles. Know how much they pay in rent? $1,500 for 700 square feet! Um, yeah, when I owned a house in Wichita, 1,000 square feet, $650 mortgage, and that was a great little house. Wichita is inexpensive compared to the rest of the country. The median price for a home is $110,700 according to the National Association of Realtors. The national average is $223,500. That’s more than double!
2. It’s easy to get around
The average commute in Wichita is only 18 minutes according to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Nationwide it’s 25.1 minutes. Okay, so that’s only two more songs on the radio, but that’s something. There’s more to getting around than just getting to work in the morning. I love the way Wichita is laid out. I used to be a West-sider and now I’m an East. Now, I’m not choosing sides, they are both amazing. Everything is so close! I can get to anything within ten minutes, with a parking spot. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had to look for a spot. Ever. In Chicago, forget it.
3. It’s open to young people
Before I traveled for a living, I was in YPW and honestly, it’s one of the main reasons I’m back. Sure a few things have changed in a year’s time, but the organization as a whole is a great place to network with people. When I worked for my first company here, I hung out with my coworkers. When I moved to a non-profit, YPW became my place to meet people that support me. Now, YPW is my network, my coworkers. If I need something either personally or professionally, I can call on one of my fellow YP’s and usually get it or get in touch with the person who has it. Pretty amazing stuff!
4. Growth is available
There are eleven colleges in Wichita. ELEVEN. That a lot of places to continue learning! On top of that, there are a ton of initiatives in place to grow via the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Young Professionals of Wichita and several other organizations. I always want to keep learning. The more I learn, the better I can be.
5. It’s got a lot to offer
It really doesn’t matter where you live in the city, with the short commute, you are just a few minutes from great food and fun. Wichita has some amazing restaurants spread throughout the city, not to mention great attractions to visit. I personally like Old Town the best. It has a great atmosphere with old brick buildings and music, but it also has some amazing restaurants. My personal favorite right now is Sabor. Try the queso with corn. AMAZING!
While Wichita may not have spectacular mountain or beach views, there is something to be said about a great Kansas sunset. Go to El Dorado and sit at the reservoir. Beautiful, peaceful and only a half-hour drive max.
Wichita is really a great place to be. I have several friends that have been moved to this city and probably won’t leave. As we grow up, start families and change our Facebook status, Wichita will still be a great place for us. I believe that organizations like YPW are just beginning to offer great programs to its members. Wichita also has an amazingly bright future with even more to do with a new downtown arena and a new riverfront area, not to mention all the great attractions and new restaurants in the works. It’s up to you to view the city you live in as a great place to be. I know I started out thinking it was a bad place to be, but in reality it’s almost perfect. I wish you the best of luck in Wichita and I hope to see you out and about at one of our great attractions!
Ryan is a member of YPW and owns The R Companies. Check out his blog,

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