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Why I Moved to Chattanooga


As more and more people are moving to our region, we caught up with locals Gabrielle Blades and Jessica Oliva-Calderin on what brought them to Chattanooga. 

Gabrielle Blades, Graphic Designer & Owner, Blades Creative

Trend: What information first put Chattanooga on your radar?

Blades: My family vacationed here when I was a child – We liked it here for the mountains and the weather. 

Trend: How did you research the area? (friends, family, online search, LinkedIn groups, media articles, etc.)

Blades: Same as above. We visited here a few times a year and found out more about it. Eventually my parents bought property for a vacation home that quickly became a permanent home. I personally knew I was going to move to Chattanooga by the age of 15 even before we moved.

Trend: What was the toughest part about saying yes to moving? 

Blades: I was excited to be somewhere that felt like home to me, but the lack of diversity is disappointing. 

Trend: Recently a Reddit user asked these questions centered on a post, “Should I move to Chattanooga?” How would you answer them?            

Blades: Yes! You should move here if you like to live a balanced life of work and play. It's so easy to get off of work with people you love and then be on the water or a hiking trail within minutes.

Trend: “I’ve looked at the boring stuff – cost of living, transportation … I just want to know if I could make friends there?”

Blades: This is an easy place to make friends. One reason I loved it here was how friendly and welcoming everyone was – stranger or close friend. 

Trend: “Do you laugh a lot” (in Chattanooga)?

Blades: I keep a slew of hilarious people around me, so yes, I laugh a lot! Humor and laughter are top priorities in my life. 

Trend: What’s the biggest hurdle to becoming acclimated in Chattanooga?

Blades: The small town nature of knowing basically everyone, but also I love that about it at the same time.

Trend: What’s your favorite past-time and does living in Chattanooga enhance your enjoyment of it?

Blades: Going to the creek! Yes, because there aren't many places where you can drive 10 minutes and be on a rock and sit in a stream. 


Jessica Oliva-Calderin, Managing Attorney Partner at Calderin & Oliva, PA

Trend: What information first put Chattanooga on your radar?

Oliva-Calderin: In terms of our business, we noticed a growth of international companies moving into the Chattanooga region. In terms of our personal interests, we liked the Chattanooga landscape and the opportunities available for outdoor sports and exploration.

Trend: How did you learn about Chattanooga?

Oliva-Calderin: We researched the area by meeting Chattanooga residents who we found were happy to share their positive experiences. We also searched online and found a growing social scene emerging in Chattanooga as a result of the city’s embrace of the hospitality industry.

Trend: What was the toughest part about saying yes to moving? 

Oliva-Calderin: Change can be tedious at first. We had to pack the items we had in our house and move to a smaller place in the Southside of Chattanooga. We were extremely happy to downsize however, and we have truly never looked back.

Trend: Should I move to Chattanooga? 

Oliva-Calderin: A resounding yes! The vibe in Chattanooga is very friendly and positive. There are so many opportunities for professional growth, while at the same time having the time to enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

Trend: Can I make friends here?

Oliva-Calderin: We made friends in Chattanooga before moving. We could just drop into a local coffee shop and strike up a fun conversation, or attend a function at the theater and meet people. Chattanoogans are not only friendly, they are a pretty cool bunch too.

Trend: Do you laugh a lot?

Oliva-Calderin: I do laugh a lot in Chattanooga, hanging out with friends and taking in all the fun that Chattanooga has to offer. 

Trend: Would you recommend moving to Chattanooga?

Oliva-Calderin: I would absolutely recommend Chattanooga to family and friends. The city is just the right size to provide fun, culture and allow one the opportunity to stand out.

Trend: What was the biggest draw to move to Chattanooga?

Oliva-Calderin: For me it was the weather. Having moved from Miami, I was not very used to the changing of the seasons. This was difficult for me initially, but now I look forward to the changing temperatures.

Trend: What are your favorite local activites?

Oliva-Calderin: My favorite is enjoying live music. Chattanooga has numerous outdoor concerts happening around the city all the time. Whether it be the West Village, Nightfall or Riverbend, not to mention the bands playing in different venues year-round, there is always a chance to catch amazing music in Chattanooga.

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