In 2008 a Brookings Institution Paper postulated that Akron was a model example of how to recover from the flight of manufacturing that swept the United States in the second half of the twentieth century.
Since then, the city has in some ways struggled to live up to that name. The Great Recession brought Akron another set of challenges. Despite all this, Akron continues to make strides towards pivoting its economy towards future and revitalizing its communities.
Just as the founders of Akron’s rubber companies chose Akron for its unique economic advantages, there are plenty of financial reasons to love Akron today.
Here are five!
1. Location, Location, Location.
Akron is within 500 miles of 50% of the U.S. Population. This means lower shipping times and costs for business owners and consumers.
Akron is also adjacent to three metropolitan areas. This means in reality there is more economic opportunity for a resident of Akron than statistics may otherwise suggest. Can’t find your dream Job in Akron? Cleveland, Youngstown, and Canton are all within commuting distance.
Looking to get away from the city on the weekend, not spend a ton of cash, and enjoy the assortment of Ohio’s seasons? Akron is adjacent to the only national park in Ohio, making hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing and other budget-friendly adventures only a short car ride away.
2. Getting your Money’s Worth
According to the 2013 Cost of Living Index by The Greater Akron Chamber, Akron ranks below the national average in most consumer categories and well below the national average overall. Simply put, your dollar goes farther in Akron.
3. College that is Worth the Investment
Been to school recently? Tuition prices are sky high and the cost is increasing much faster than other good and services.
Although some of us may just enjoy school, most young people pay for school with the idea they will earn a return on that investment in the form of higher lifetime earnings.
Well, good news for Akronites here! The schools around here offer some of the best return-on-investment numbers of Ohio colleges and universities.
According to payscale.com:
The University of Akron ranks 13th of 71!
Kent State? 33rd!
Case Western in Cleveland? 1st place!
John Carroll? 17th!
If you’re going to spend thousands (lets be honest, probably borrow!), its good to know you can get a decent return on that money around Akron.
4. Future Industries
The economic history of Akron seems to repeat itself. In the 19th century, Akron was put on the map due to the easy and cheap transportation provided by the canal. By the middle of the century, a macro-economic change towards the use of steam power instead of water power threatened the vitality of Akron’s economy.
More recently, the engine of rubber manufacturing that powered the city up until the second half of the 20th century dried up due to macroeconomic factors and the city again faced an uphill economic battle.
Today, Akron is positioning itself to once again adapt to economic changes and prepare for the industries of the future.
We have some of the most promising business "clusters" for the jobs of the future; including the plastic and polymer, aerospace, biomedical, and automotive industries.
If history is any guide, Akron will adapt and thrive again!
5. We have the best credit union around!
Full disclosure, I’m a bit biased. But really though, does it get any better than a small and local financial institution that offers almost everything the big banks can, just better?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of our member-owners. Luckily for us, we take our orders from you: the member-owners, not stockholders, and that fact trickles down into everything we do.
Much of our business and new membership is driven by the word of mouth of our satisfied members. Next time you hear your fellow Akronite is unhappy with their financial institution, be sure to let them know we would love to have them!
Director of Member Development, Everyday Finance Contributor