Relocating To Huntsville, Dispelling The Myths & Misconceptions About Huntsville

    DISPELLING THE MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HUNTSVILLE, AL
    Huntsville, Alabama is one of the fastest growing, most diverse regions in the country; experiencing unparalleled economic and population growth. The FBI is relocating some 1,800 employees here and many other companies have already opened offices in Huntsville, Madison, and the surrounding areas, including Facebook, Google, Blue Origin, Toyota, Mazda, and many others.

    With the 2nd largest research park in the country and one of the highest populations of engineers and scientists in the world, Huntsville is not the “stereotypical sleepy little southern town”.

    The question is, will the stereotype of the old south cause some people to hesitate in relocating to Huntsville? The FBI released an internal video for employees seeking to clear up the misconceptions anyone might have. Revolved Realty Madison’s Tim Knox and local entrepreneur Thom Rigsby offer their 2 cents on life in North Alabama.

    Tim Knox:

    Hey guys, welcome in. My name is Tim Knox. I’m the owner of Revolved Realty here in Madison. Along with my friend, co-conspirator, fellow entrepreneur, Thom Rigsby. How are you?

    Thom Rigsby:

    I’m good.

    Tim Knox:

    Is entrepreneur your official title now?

    Thom Rigsby:

    I don’t, well no.

    Tim Knox:

    No?

    Thom Rigsby:

    No.

    Tim Knox:

    What would be your official title?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Greatest business coach in Huntsville, now that you’re retired.

    Tim Knox:

    Well there you go. Hey, I’m glad you’re here because we want to talk a little bit about this video, that is a relocation marketing piece that was released by the FBI.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah.

    Tim Knox:

    And we know that, because right there it says my FBI Huntsville. And if you’re unaware, the FBI is moving, what, 1800, not agents but employees, here. I thought they were going to be like 1800 agents.

    Thom Rigsby:

    No.

    Tim Knox:

    It’s going to be just a couple of agents and a whole bunch of support people ,I think.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah.

    Tim Knox:

    Anyway, they are moving here. There were a number of other companies that are moving here and when you and I were watching this video, there was a little, a little air about it. Almost like they’re trying to clear up some misconceptions about Huntsville, Huntsville. So I thought, what we would do is, we would further clear up those misconceptions. So the folks that are thinking about relocating here will have a lot of information and will really have an insight into a life here in Huntsville.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I like it.

    Tim Knox:

    You like it?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah.

    Tim Knox:

    Let’s watch a little bit of the video.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Okay.

    Tim Knox:

    If you haven’t seen this, this is public. It’s on YouTube.

    Speaker 3:

    In one word.

    Cathy Miller:

    Huntsville in a word.

    Speaker 5:

    Phenomenal.

    Speaker 6:

    Unique, because you never know what it’s going to be like until you step out.

    Speaker 3:

    My family and friends reacted when I told them that I was coming to Huntsville, Alabama. They were like, ugh, Alabama. Things have turned out really well and there’s a lot to do here, get involved in. So it’s been a really great time.

    Speaker 6:

    Huntsville is truly a hidden gem and you can find yourself in many ways here.

    Speaker 5:

    Huntsville felt like home almost immediately to us. If you would ask my wife, she would tell you that we’re not leaving here. We’re actually trying to talk my father-in-law and to moving here also.

    Cathy Miller:

    There’s a lot to do in Huntsville, got open air malls. For kids, there’s lots of parks. We’ve got a lot of breweries and distilleries now, and there’s so many restaurants. There’s an art museum and lots of culture. Huntsville’s got a lot of live music and great bands. I can get into something every weekend if I wanted to, and during the week.

    Tim Knox:

    I’m going to pause it, right there.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Okay.

    Tim Knox:

    Let’s talk about what we’ve seen so far. Clearly it is a marketing piece.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yes.

    Tim Knox:

    Designed to let the folks … and understandably so. We want to transfer you to Huntsville, Alabama. Where?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Where?

    Tim Knox:

    So they put this together, and I think did a great job as far as the video goes. These are four FBI employees who were already here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right.

    Tim Knox:

    And they’re talking a little bit about the surprise. Is that the air you get that is there is a little surprise to it? A happy surprise.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah, definitely. And I had a very similar reaction to you.

    Tim Knox:

    To me? Oh. Okay.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I had a similar reaction as you.

    Tim Knox:

    Okay.

    Thom Rigsby:

    When I watched this for the first time. Born here, raised here, left twice, came back twice.

    Tim Knox:

    Born and raised, and never left.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well there you go.

    Tim Knox:

    There you go.

    Thom Rigsby:

    It would be easy to take this as a, “Hey, we’re going to convince you to come down to bumpkin-ville.”

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    But the reality is now, I mean I’ve lived all over the place. All around the world. You have a perception of everywhere.

    Tim Knox:

    Sure.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Just like right now. I mean, as we record this, it’s February. I don’t want to be up North because it’s cold.

    Tim Knox:

    Right.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, it snowed here yesterday.

    Tim Knox:

    It did for a few minutes, yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    So, you know, your perceptions can greatly influence your experience.

    Tim Knox:

    Yes. Let’s talk about those perceptions because when people, excuse me, immediately hear about the South … There are those perceptions of, it’s still the old South, you know this and. That we have those same kinds of perceptions here. Like when, when I say New York City.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right.

    Tim Knox:

    I think of rude, dirty.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right, right, exactly.

    Tim Knox:

    I’ve been to New York City five times and never made it past the airport. So I really don’t have anything to base that on.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right.

    Tim Knox:

    Other than my misconception, and I think that’s what they’re doing here. They’re saying, “Look, here’s this wonderful bustling, one of the voted over and over, one of the best places in the country to live. We’ve got the second highest concentration of engineers and scientists. It’s really not that bad.”

    Thom Rigsby:

    But the best smaller airport, don’t forget.

    Tim Knox:

    We have the smallest, most expensive airport.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, yeah.

    Tim Knox:

    There is that. But it’s getting better, even. So I think that … and kudos to them for, for clearing up these misconceptions, because a lot of people think, “Huntsville, Alabama?” The thing that they need to realize is Huntsville is not your typical Alabama town.

    Thom Rigsby:

    No, no, it’s not. And it’s, excuse me, it’s not even typical of the South in general.

    Tim Knox:

    I hear people compare us. Once they’ve been here more to Silicon Valley than anywhere else in the country.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I get a lot of comparisons to Austin.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Which is an interesting place too because there are so many people that have moved from Silicon Valley to the Silicon Prairie. And so, we have a lot of diversity of origin and background here too.

    Tim Knox:

    We do.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Lots of people that have moved in. In fact, I introduce myself frequently as an anomaly because I was born here.

    Tim Knox:

    Well, I always call myself a native. And the rest of you guys are immigrants, because I did grow up here and I can remember when, Huntsville wasn’t the Mecca of technology that it is now. And I can remember when my little hometown of Madison, which is the suburb, we had like 35 kids in my senior class. Now granted that was 40 years ago. Yeah. But if you’re going to a Madison school now, there are 35 kids in a bathroom.

    Tim Knox:

    And so, it really has grown and the reason it’s grown is the economy. I mean, you can trace this all the way back to the fifties when Von Braun was brought here to start the rocket program.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, one of the great things that we know is that for every employee that a new business brings, the FBI is bringing 1800 or so. We know that that creates three, I think it’s 3.1 additional job opportunities from the convenience store where you get gas to the restaurant, to the grocery store to where you buy your house.

    Thom Rigsby:

    All of those things are necessary to kind of fill in and complete that community. And so when we talk about new businesses, new jobs, or relocating businesses, it’s more than … the total impact is much greater than just those numbers.

    Tim Knox:

    Well, I think one of the reasons, and you touched on this, that that Huntsville is so unique is the diverse population. Because you don’t have, I wouldn’t guess, I mean what percentage are actually born and raised here?

    Thom Rigsby:

    We have a hockey team in town.

    Tim Knox:

    In Alabama.

    Thom Rigsby:

    When I was in high school. Not at my high school. We only had 62 people in my class. But UAH had a hockey team that were playing, the Notre Dames and Indianas and the Illinois, and that’s a direct result of NASA, the army, the contractors and the people that, that attracted.

    Tim Knox:

    Right.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Bringing that interest and making it real here.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. Well you, it, it really kind of started with, with BRAC, the base realignment deal back, 25, 30 years ago. You know, to give you a little history of Huntsville, I mean you can go on and look at, you know how we went from this little sleepy cotton town and during world war II we became a munitions city when the Redstone arsenal located here. During the cold war, Huntsville was on the target for Russia, because of the arsenal. But then when Von Braun came here, it all went into the space. The Apollo was here, the shuttle, the space station. And that’s when all these engineers and scientists and all those guys … and that’s when the diversity really started.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right.

    Tim Knox:

    And so I think that’s one thing for, for folks to understand as they’re looking to move here is we are a very transient column.

    Tim Knox:

    You know, immigrants coming from other parts of our country and it really has resulted in a very diverse place to live. I want to talk a little bit about that. Let’s talk about life in North Alabama.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Okay.

    Tim Knox:

    Lifestyle, living here. Couple of things. I’m in the real estate business. Of course, you know at the pace that this area is growing, real estate is just crazy. Just nuts. We can’t build houses fast enough.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I think I saw yesterday that there’s under 600 houses in inventory.

    Tim Knox:

    The last time I looked there was under 900. There may be under six. We’re at a 20 year low in housing, which means the builders are building like crazy. We are, I think we’re actually on the upswing as far as new home construction. But the point is the housing market here, as hot as it is, the houses you can buy here compared to what you’re going to spend in the other parts of the country.

    Tim Knox:

    If you’re coming from D.C. Or Virginia and you sell a house, you’ve got a little three bedroom, two bath, 1500 square foot house, you sell for a million dollars down here, you can buy like five or six of those. You know, you can get … that house there, here would be in the threes. So that’s, that’s very positive. The housing market.

    Tim Knox:

    The cost of living here is still one of the lowest in the country even though we’ve got one of the highest median incomes, because of all the engineers and that sort of thing. So that’s something too, to realize because as people are moving here, and I talk to them all the time in my business, they are always constantly amazed, surprised in a good way, as to what they can buy with their housing dollar here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah. Well, and it does, it goes a long … your purchasing dollar goes a long way.

    Thom Rigsby:

    There’s a lot to be said for quality of life and that’s kind of a catch phrase, that people talk about, but things like an average 18 minute commute. That’s a pretty big deal because I know when I lived in Dallas, it was 17 miles. I drove it every day, right? 17 miles from my driveway to my, $350 a month parking spot in the garage.

    Tim Knox:

    Wow.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right. 17 miles. At least an hour each way, at least. So an average 18 minute commute, that’s a pretty big deal.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    But the way that the pricing structures work and, and just the … I mean, property tax. Property tax here is nothing. Compare. I mean, what we pay on 13 acres is less than we paid on a quarter acre lot a month and we pay that a year. So it’s just a, it’s a different baseline, really.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. Let’s talk about the schools because that’s one of the things that really attracts a lot of people moving to Madison, which is the main suburb of Huntsville, but also Owens Crossroads. Meridianville, Hazel Green. Madison has one of the top school systems in the state. And I mean, the year that my youngest daughter Sierra graduated, they had like 70% of the graduating class was going to college. It’s incredible. But now you’re seeing the same quality of school system in Owens Crossroads. Hazel Green, even Hartselle.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right.

    Tim Knox:

    So the schools in North Alabama are not only tops in the state, they’re in the top percentage in the country.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well this higher than average density of well-educated engineers for example, is demanding a higher level of education.

    Tim Knox:

    Education trickles down, it does.

    Thom Rigsby:

    And we were joking about it. You had 30 some, I had 62 people in my graduating class. Between us, we might have had a hundred.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah. That was kind of stone age, time frame.

    Tim Knox:

    It was a few years ago. Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    My youngest daughter graduated from the same high school that I went to. And she had, two or 300 I don’t know what Bob Jones, or …

    Tim Knox:

    Bob Jones, I think the year that my youngest daughter graduated, and this was six years ago, had something like 800.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah.

    Tim Knox:

    It’s crazy. But they split it off into multiple schools now.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Our oldest daughter graduated from high school in Dallas. Her graduating class had 2,600. So you know, when you look at that youngest daughter, when she was enrolling in school here, she sent me a text and said, “Dad, there’s only like 700 kids total in this school.”

    Tim Knox:

    There’s nobody here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah, and you know, that affords you some pretty great opportunities, education wise. Where the teachers and the staff have an opportunity to work with kids a lot closer than they would at a bigger school.

    Tim Knox:

    Let’s talk about the higher education. Because here in Huntsville we’ve got UAH, university of Alabama, Huntsville, one of the top engineering schools in the country. We’ve got south of here, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, one of the top business schools, one of the top legal law schools, also have a little football team. Yeah, you might be aware of.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah, might’ve heard of them once or twice.

    Tim Knox:

    We’ve got Auburn who also has a football team, but one of the top veterinary schools in the country. And so the opportunities from, I mean from kindergarten all the way through college are just amazing here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, and I’ll point out, yes, we have UAH, we’ve got Alabama A and M.

    Tim Knox:

    We do have Alabama A and M.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Another university-

    Tim Knox:

    We have junior colleges.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Athens State is less than 30 minutes away. Calhoun, Drake are some junior colleges, Oakwood College. So there’s a ton of opportunity. And when you start looking at where we’re located geographically … yeah, there’s Alabama and Auburn. Nashville is an hour-

    Tim Knox:

    An hour and a half.

    Thom Rigsby:

    And hour and a half away. And Vandy is there, you know, University of Mississippi is not far away.

    Tim Knox:

    You have the Birmingham schools. Which we don’t really care about.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah, we’re talking about Huntsville.

    Tim Knox:

    But so yeah. So I mean the point being is there’s … from the cost of living to the lifestyle, to the housing, to the education. Let’s talk about the job market. Because you touched on this, we’re both entrepreneurs, and one thing we always talk about is as this city grows, what kind of opportunities does that present? Not just to engineers and scientists and FBI analysts, but to other employees and to entrepreneurs? Because this is your wheelhouse. Talk a little bit about the business and the startup environment here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, when you have 1800 jobs move into a market, those people come with their family and they’re excited.

    Tim Knox:

    They like to eat.

    Thom Rigsby:

    They like to eat, they like to find things to do. Some of those of family members have their own business. They bring that with them.

    Tim Knox:

    True.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I had a chance yesterday to talk to a young lady who moved here from New York.

    Tim Knox:

    New York City?

    Thom Rigsby:

    And brought her business here with her. So, that really exists everywhere. But I think one of the things that we have here is an ecosystem that’s very open to helping promote and grow your idea into something tangible that you can succeed with.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. There, there are like BizTech, a lot of little incubator type things. And I think one thing that’s important to note is the number of companies that were born here that are now major conglomerates, Hudson Alpha, ADTRAN, any number of defense contractors that that started here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Or Intergraph that’s now …

    Tim Knox:

    Intergraph is Hexagon now. Yep.

    Thom Rigsby:

    We have a company here that just a couple of months ago made a hundred plus new millionaires when they sold.

    Tim Knox:

    I wasn’t one of them.

    Thom Rigsby:

    No, but neither was I. But there were, that’s happened a lot and it’s almost like this little sleeper town where all of this is going on, and we’re so busy just going about the work.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. This really is one of those-

    Thom Rigsby:

    We don’t do a good job of promoting ourselves.

    Tim Knox:

    This really is one of those towns where you can be behind an old farmer looking guy at Walmart who’s driving a 40 year old pickup truck, but has $1 million in the bank.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well a lot of farmers are.

    Tim Knox:

    A lot of land deals go on here. So from an entrepreneurial standpoint, as the city grows, and the economy, and the population grows, there’s a lot more opportunity for entrepreneurs to start businesses.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yes. And, and one other thing I’ll add is that the city here has done a great job with their gig city initiative to get fiber everywhere. And so the, to entry into an internet based business, or remote worker type of arrangement is super low. I mean we’ve got great connectivity.

    Tim Knox:

    Except for here in this office.

    Thom Rigsby:

    In your office there’s a Faraday cage or something. But, just that effort and then putting in the infrastructure.

    Tim Knox:

    I think that’s the reason Google is here. Facebook is here, Blue Origin, which is Jeff Bezos company. And I really think that took off, when they laid that Google fiber.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, they’re all on the main line.

    Tim Knox:

    They’re all on main, so that’s very cool. So a lot of opportunities there. One of the things that I hear, and this has been a complaint here for years, is there’s nothing to do here. There’s no nightlife. You know, that’s what the youngsters say. That has changed dramatically over the last few years. Talk about that.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, it has the video talks about, one of my favorites, all the little brewpubs.

    Tim Knox:

    Let’s check out, finish watching the video.

    Video:

    When I came to Huntsville. I thought there would be a pause in the comedy, but learning that there was a comedy club here that attracts high quality acts … I got here in February and I was on stage in April.

    I’m originally from the Northeast, born and raised in New York City. I have two sons. We just like to do things together. Visit with friends, visit with family. Just, real everyday life.

    I’m 23 originally from Columbus, Ohio. I’m a really outdoorsy person, so I like to go hiking.

    Been married for 25 years and I have two children. My favorite thing to do in Huntsville is fish.

    Tim Knox:

    A lot of outdoor activities here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I have to tell you, if I knew what I was doing my whole childhood, was called hiking. I’d be a hiker, too.

    Tim Knox:

    You thought you were just walking around in the woods.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I was out for a walk. Turn it over rocks and chasing snakes and stuff.

    Tim Knox:

    One thing I want to note on here, you notice the diversity of the four people that are on this video. So a black woman, a black guy, a white guy, and then someone who, to me looks middle Eastern, maybe?

    Thom Rigsby:

    It could be.

    Tim Knox:

    So, and I think they did that on purpose. The FBI has got some pretty smart people. They’re marketing showing them that, there is that. But that really is very representative of the population here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah. I mean, I grew up here. We mentioned that already. To me it’s never, I’ve never experienced, any great degree of conflict.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    It’s, if you show up, you do your work. You be a good neighbor. Everybody can be happy.

    Tim Knox:

    Well, I mean that’s one of the things we talked about before, was the, stereotype of the South.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Sure.

    Tim Knox:

    Backward, racists, you know, we don’t wear shoes. We ain’t got teeth. And we date our cousins. Well never more than once. That really … now there are pockets. But it’s not like that here. The population, because it is so transient is very, very diverse and rarely … That’s another thing. The crime here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    What crime?

    Tim Knox:

    Well, every now and then you’ll hear about something. But it is not a heavy crime laden area.

    Thom Rigsby:

    No. I mean, anybody that’s lived in a major metro area understands that they don’t report all the crime on the evening news because, it’s only 30 minutes.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right? And then some of them, they run into an hour now they just don’t have time. They don’t report it here because it doesn’t happen very often.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    It does-

    Tim Knox:

    Well there’s crime everywhere.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Sure.

    Tim Knox:

    But you know, we do not have the crime rate that you would see in a lot of cities of comparable size.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Right. And again, I think this is the result of intentional focus on developing areas where it’s comfortable and safe and, and attracts the kind of crowd that wants to be there and have a good time.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. And I think that the city of Huntsville has done a really good job of making sure that everyone who lives here has the quality of life. You know, you don’t have the rundown, the slums, that sort of thing you’ll have in the larger city. And again, I think a lot of that has to do with just, the political leaders, the economy and the population. Let’s talk a little bit about sports. Because I know you’re a sports guy. We just are getting a minor league baseball team and because of the name, it has gotten more publicity than anything ever in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I really liked the Thunder Sharks, for a name.

    Tim Knox:

    But they chose …

    Thom Rigsby:

    They went with trash pandas.

    Tim Knox:

    Trash pandas. What is a trash panda?

    Thom Rigsby:

    It’s a raccoon.

    Tim Knox:

    Trash panda just sounds sexier, right?

    Thom Rigsby:

    It looks like a little panda bear and it gets in the trashcan if you don’t put the lid on the trashcan.

    Tim Knox:

    So we’ve got that. They’re building a stadium.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I don’t know, 40, 50 some days away from a season openers. We’re recording this.

    Tim Knox:

    We also have hockey, you mentioned earlier. Is it the Havoc?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Havoc. We still got college hockey and we have minor league hockey.

    Tim Knox:

    And we’ve had, in the past we’ve had arena football here. There really is a lot to do. Youth sports here is huge. High school football-

    Thom Rigsby:

    Semi pro basketball, just wrapping up their season.

    Tim Knox:

    Is that right?

    Thom Rigsby:

    The War Dogs.

    Tim Knox:

    Jeez. So there’s a lot of sporting events here. Of course, there’s a lot of music venues, concerts. Let’s go back to what you were talking about earlier. One of the things that’s really changed the nightlife here. Craft beer. I know you’re a fan.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yes.

    Tim Knox:

    And now there are craft beer restaurants and pubs, and a lot of the renovation down, Stone Middle School. What’s the one up from that? Martin Stove. they’re basically taking all these old manufacturing companies and turning them into really hip, cool nightlife venues.

    Thom Rigsby:

    It was a really, it was a part of town that had a really great opportunity to be let go and.

    Tim Knox:

    It almost was.

    Thom Rigsby:

    And it almost was. And it started with Stone where the original Stone, I guess second Stone Middle School burned down. They built it back and then moved the kids out. Seems like two years later. So this really nice brand new building was sitting there unused for a decade. And the city looked at that and said we need to do something with this. And so the gym, what was the gym is now a big brewery.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Giant kettles in there.

    Tim Knox:

    What was his name? Brandon? The young entrepreneur who cashed out big in his early twenties here and bought all of that and remodeled it?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, no. He bought West Huntsville Elementary School.

    Tim Knox:

    West Huntsville, okay.

    Thom Rigsby:

    And then turned that into a coworking space.

    Tim Knox:

    Very cool.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Brandon Cruz. So, that whole little strip from Stovehouse all the way up Clinton Avenue, there’s several little breweries in there. There’s a couple of distilleries that have popped up.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah, there’s another place here called Lowe Mill, which was an old cotton gin or something. I mean it was …

    Thom Rigsby:

    A textile mill.

    Tim Knox:

    Textile Mill and they’ve converted it, kind of, to artistic space. There’s a whiskey brewery in there.

    Thom Rigsby:

    There is.

    Tim Knox:

    We lock our alcohol here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Regardless of what you might-

    Tim Knox:

    Regardless of what you might’ve heard. So, a lot of stuff happening there. So there is a lot of nightlife here now you’ve got, they talked about on the video, the outdoor shopping Bridge Street. There’s Town Madison, which is coming, which is going to be this huge shopping, retail, entertainment venue. So a lot of stuff going on like that.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Mid city is coming. Mid city is there, right? We’ve got, there’s a Top Golf, REI Outfitters, Dave and Busters.

    Tim Knox:

    Have you done the rock climbing wall thing there?

    Thom Rigsby:

    No.

    Tim Knox:

    I go by every now and then and just look at it. It looks hard.

    Thom Rigsby:

    But they’re building, this is the exciting thing, a 7,500 seat amphitheater, which, that will be the biggest one in the state. It will hold more people than the arena at the civic center.

    Tim Knox:

    Oh, Wow.

    Thom Rigsby:

    And they’re doing that. They’re building the infrastructure, public, private partnership to build this infrastructure to attract the acts necessary to draw that kind of …

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. Well, they’re saying that within the next three to five years, Huntsville is going to be the largest city in the state.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I believe that.

    Tim Knox:

    Bigger than Birmingham, bigger than Montgomery. Of course, again, the cost of living is low. The median income is one of the highest in the country. You know, we have the second largest research park in the country behind Silicon Valley.

    Tim Knox:

    We’ve got one of the highest concentration of engineers, and that simply means most of the people here can’t drive. But you’re going to have a … there’s a downside to everything. So that’s kind of what we wanted to talk about is just, this, what do I want to call it? We want to dispel the rumors, the myths, the history that if you come to Alabama, it’s a terrible thing. Because really there are very few places in the country according to a lot of surveys that are better to live and work.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, I think for me, we talked about this the other day, one of the things watching this video and look … you market to your audience, right? You and I understand that. And so the people in this video are people who can connect and resonate with the audience that they made the video for. But you and I have additional perspective that we both wanted to share. And I think that, it’s one thing to hear from people who have moved in and their view and their expectation and something else to hear from people who have lived here all or most of our lives.

    Tim Knox:

    And now they’re going, “Hey guys, it ain’t that bad.”

    Video:

    Your $500,000 $600,000 home in D.C. is the same house, double the square footage for about two to $300,000 less at times.

    My commute to and from work, which was typically 45 minutes to an hour each way in Miami, and you move here and your commute goes to 20 minutes. I call it more at home time.

    There’s excitement in the city and the fact that we do have great people that work for us that are going to come here and make it even better to live in the city.

    Really have an open mind. If you take a risk to come here, I guarantee you that you will have a good time, because there’s so much here to offer.

    I just want you to give Huntsville a chance. I want you to come down here. I want you to see it.

    Thom Rigsby:

    So, one last thing I wanted to get in is, one of the big differences, having lived in really big cities all over the world, small cities everywhere … one of the things that’s different here is the pace of life, right? And some of that comes from having an hour plus commute each way, right? So if you’re going to be at work eight or nine hours, now, all of a sudden it’s 10 or 11 hours and you’ve got to cram a lot more life into those final four or five, six hours of the day. Well, if you don’t have all of that, then you don’t have to be as stressed. You don’t have to be as rushed. You can actually begin your day from a place of quiet rather than hitting the floor, hitting the feet in crisis.

    Tim Knox:

    Yep. Well, and I hear this from so many people. The people are so friendly here. And we are, we’re a friendly bunch of folks down here in Alabama.

    Thom Rigsby:

    I remember my uncle, my aunt got married the first time her husband came over. He commented on how many, how people would just wave to you.

    Tim Knox:

    I wave at everybody.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Passing you on the road.

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yeah. And it’s like, “Oh, it’s like they knew me or something.”

    Tim Knox:

    Yeah. So I mean, the moral to all of this is, and we’ll put a link to the video so they can watch it. Is, this is a great place to live, a great place to work. Our climate here might be a little hot in the summertime, but we do have air conditioning, so there is that. But the diversity of people, the economy, the housing market, we didn’t even talk about the religious aspect.

    Tim Knox:

    There’s churches everywhere, every denomination, every nationality. I mean there’s a lot of Jesus going on here. A lot of Jesus-

    Thom Rigsby:

    Well, whoever your religious figure is, there’s one of those going on here.

    Tim Knox:

    Whoever it is you worship, I guarantee you they have a branch here in Huntsville. So Thom, you are an entrepreneur. You work with a lot of business owners. If folks are thinking about relocating here and they want to talk to you about the business economy and get your slant on that?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Sure.

    Tim Knox:

    How did they get ahold of you?

    Thom Rigsby:

    Easiest way to do it is just go to the website, Thomrigsby.com and right in the middle of the page is a big orange button that says, start here.

    Tim Knox:

    Easy button.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Easy button.

    Tim Knox:

    Is that a T-H-O-M or T-O-M?

    Thom Rigsby:

    It’s T-H-O-M, but T-O-M works, too.

    Tim Knox:

    All right, and if I can do anything for you, my, my business is real estate. We do buy and sell here. We work with a lot of folks relocating. Give me a call. 256-679-0704 you can look us up at revolved.com. All right. I’m excited about all these wonderful folks moving here.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Me too.

    Tim Knox:

    And buying houses.

    Thom Rigsby:

    Yes.

    Tim Knox:

    And starting a business.

    Thom Rigsby:

    That’s right.