Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leaving LA for Madison: One CEO's story

Attracting businesses to Wisconsin may be more simple than the conventional wisdom would lead us to believe. I came across this blog post by the CEO of Oompa Toys, a leading online toy store that specializes in European and other high-end, specialty toys.

Milanie Cleere explains her family's and her business' move to Madison from Los Angeles: "In short, we left in search of a better quality of life for our work-a-holic selves and our young children."

She lists several things she misses about California, but concludes:

But the things I miss in Los Angeles are offset by an exponential number of things in our new, adopted home town. Basic things, so basic that now that we have them, we wonder how we did without. Good public schools for the kids, clean air, safe neighborhoods, awesome, friendly people. A fantastic, modern and accessible medical system, very little traffic, kid-friendly everything. That almost mythical Mid-Western work ethic in the Oompa warehouse. Living (and this is going to sound earth-mamma-ish), but living in an area surrounded by lush, rolling green hills and farms. This place feels right, it feels healthy. This place is good for the soul. So, at least for now, goodbye Los Angeles. I’ll visit often, but Madison, WI is now home.

Seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it?

Oompa Toys is not a manufacturer and is not a member of the "knowledge economy," but it is a growing business that's relocation created new jobs in Wisconsin. Because of its focus on quality, its growth can be expected to continue with each mass toy recall.

This is a success story for our state and I'm glad Ms. Cleere is sharing the story on her company's website.

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