It’s been a familiar life path for many Cleveland young professionals: Graduate college and jet off to another major city for a job. But after a few years building a successful career, those boomerang kids are returning and putting down more stable roots around their hometowns. And many are landing in Rocky River — the West Side lakefront suburb that appeals to hipsters, prepsters and every kind of millennial in between.
Kate Fortney Horne’s journey follows a similar trajectory. The Westlake native moved to Chicago out of college and eventually came back home five years later. But instead of investing in a home in River, she invested in a business: Lovely Paperie & Gifts on Detroit Road.
Snatching up the storefront in 2014, the small-business owner soon began to see how the community rallied around her boutique featuring hand-selected gifts, cards and accessories.
“I see my old teachers, friends that I grew up with,” says the 30-year-old. “Clients have just become friends because they’re so supportive of the business.”
So when Kate married her husband, Chris, in 2015, the couple knew they wanted to start a family here, not only for its shops and restaurants (Sweet Melissa and Pure Enchantment are faves), but also for its great schools (No. 3 in our rankings). With a median home sale price of $210,000, homes are within reach — if you are willing to work for it.
“If you want something, you have to be ready to look at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night, because the house will be gone,” she says of the competitive housing market. “When we found our home, I think we were the fifth offer in 48 hours.”
Since buying their Tudor on Erie Road, the couple welcomed a son, Hudson, and are enjoying the neighborhood’s block parties and trick-or-treating. The domestic bliss is contagious.
“All my friends are migrating to the area too,” Kate says. “Over the last two years I have a dozen friends that have got homes in Rocky River, because this is where people want to be.”
2016 Total Home Sales: 479
2016 Median Home Sale Price: $210,000
Education Ranking: 3
Safety Ranking: 41