No? Me neither. But that was before we moved here! I am happy to call this quaint town our home now! Before March 2016, my husband and I have never heard of it but instantly fell in love when we made our fateful Hazel Street turn last Memorial Weekend. We were actually on our way to Chico to check some real estate listings when John mentioned that I’d probably want to see this “cute yet has-been-empty-for-a-long-time” vintage building in the historic downtown of this unknown city. A few phone calls, a dozen emails, some coffee conversations, and five weeks later, we found ourselves bidding Los Angeles goodbye. We were so incredulous that a charming town still exists in California that we made that quick move!
On the surface, Gridley looks basic. Boring, for some. Driving around downtown painted a clear picture that the town once had a vibrant business community. Definitely a far cry from what it is today! It is as though a mass exodus of entrepreneurs happened. Almost every corner is pockmarked with a “For Rent” sign. Most of the buildings could use some love and care. We were told that along with commercial shops, there were cafes and restaurants that ribboned the historic Hazel Street. They used to be there. Keyword “used to.” Back in the old days. What a sad phrase!
However, there is always a different way to view things. A closer look at this city that is sandwiched by larger communities such as Yuba City and Chico will reveal that it offers a unique blend of relaxed comfort and growth opportunities for small businesses. And quite frankly, if I want to be selfish, my dream for Gridley is for human greed to not re-discover it! But, because I love this city, let me share with you why we moved here when it was clear that this town has nothing to offer except fresh air (one of the best in the US, according to City Data), as-far-as-you-can-see orchards and farms (almond, walnuts, kiwi, peaches, pomegranates, watermelon, nectarines, apples, pistachios), charming lakes and rivers, very humble and peace-loving police officers and firemen, friendly locals, quiet (almost-dead) downtown, and before I forget–affordable commercial spaces for small businesses. NOTHING, right? (Insert sarcasm emoji here).
We don’t have good restaurants here. No good coffee shops either. Just some faux places that pretend they make drinkable coffee. No malls, which is great. So why did we pack our bags and made this our home?
Its nothingness is what makes it beautiful.
It is what inspired our decision to move. We can focus on our goals. We are not in the thick of things anymore, unlike when we were in LA. We have a chance to grow the business while at the same time being a major part of the Gridley community’s re-building efforts. We’re a Highway 99 city so trucking and other logistics won’t be a problem. We’re 45 minutes away from Sacramento and about 3 hours away from San Francisco. Internet connection for business is reasonable. Water, Electric and Gas companies are reliable. No clogged traffic to deal with around here. Best of all, we have very supportive folks at the Town Hall. So if you’re like us and you have huge business dreams but you’re on a limited budget, this place is just the perfect area for you to get started.
Come and help us stimulate the business atmosphere in Gridley. Or probably encourage your children to venture into the entrepreneurial world while they’re young. If you’re opening a coffee shop, please serve drinkable black coffee.