Welcome to Louisville, its a great place to live, work, and play. That's the message being touted by New2Lou , a social organization designed for transplants to Louisville who are looking for people to connect with, new places to try, and how to get involved in the community. I had the privilege to sit down with the owners, Stacey Servo and her business partner, and husband, Amador Delatorre III, this past week over coffee to discuss their growing company.
From the get go I could see how these two West Coast transplants to our fair city could start and facilitate a social meet up organization. They were both charming, personable, and easy to talk to, which I'm sure comes in handy during their second Wednesday socials. Hosted each month at a different bar or restaurant, these face to face get togethers allow not only newcomers to Louisville, but also locals, to mingle and meet. Locals you say? Yes, locals are welcome as well. Stacey and Amador made it a point to let me know that locals who are looking to meet and foster new connections are encouraged to attend, and can help provide inside information about places to go and things to do around town to the newcomers who attend. Its easy to feel out of place at parties or other gatherings where you're not quite sure where, or how, you fit in. New2Lou aims to alleviate those awkward feelings by providing an easy-going atmosphere where everyone feels in the same boat and is there for the same reason - to get to know new people. You don't have to feel like you're going to creep someone out by walking up, introducing yourself, and asking them about where they're from or what brought them to Louisville - that's what everyone is there to do. Stacey and Amador help foster this conversation by providing everyone with name tags that also list where they're from; so it's easy to know from the beginning if someone is from L.A., Vermont, or even Louisville originally, and can give you immediate talking points.
Looking to get back into real estate, Amador was given the notion to look at Louisville by his parents, and when he and Stacey started looking at hard numbers such as housing prices, diversity of economy, location within the country, things started looking a little more convincing to the skeptical couple. They admit though, that despite the attractive numbers, things really didn't click for them until they got on a plane and came to visit their potential new home. In Amador's own words, once they got here and started looking around they said "screw the numbers, this is just a cool town!". The two had the flexibility to transfer with their companies at the time and the move was made.
The initial idea for the New2Lou business model was sort of sprung on Stacey and Amador through their real estate dealings. They had been buying and leasing condos to corporate tenants who were bringing in contractors to live and work in Louisville on a year to two year basis when one tenet in particular presented them with a challenge. Louisville was a great place to live, but this person was having trouble getting to know people and asked Stacey and Amador if they could facilitate some introductions. Through an organized gathering of some of their close friends and other mutual acquaintances to assist their client the idea for New2Lou was born.
The thing that I took away from Stacey and Amador was a real passion and desire to share Louisville with newcomers, and to help them see what they saw that convinced them to relocate here. They truly want people involved with New2Lou to feel apart of something and build the positive connections in the city that will make them want to stay here. We hear all the time about Louisville's best and brightest moving on to bigger cities where they feel there is more opportunity, etc; so it is promising that two transplants to Louisville are trying to show others that this is the type of city where you can find opportunity and build close knit friendships.
Currently brainstorming ways to monetize the business, Stacey and Amador will be celebrating New2Lou's two year anniversary  this Wednesday, December 14th from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Downtown BBC location. I think it says a lot that, for the last two years, they have poured their own money into New2Lou, making no profit. It has truly been a labor of love and they will be unveiling their logo at the anniversary party and will also be starting a website  soon. Currently you can connect with New2Lou via their Facebook  and Twitter  pages, and you can join their Meetup.com  group where they currently have one of the largest groups in Louisville. They hope that in the future they can take the concept and spread it to other cities. I was astounded to hear that, even though there are similar organizations in other cities, none of them take it to that next level like New2Lou and actually organize and facilitate face-to-face meet ups. They also feel that their property management company - Green Horizon Management , where they assist with housing and relocation services, and New2Lou work hand-in-hand. They're not just assisting people in moving to Louisville, but also helping them get acclimated to the city and making it feel like a home.
As a life-long resident of Louisville I am glad to have Stacey and Amador as part of our community and feel that, even as transplants here, they exemplify everything Louisville, and buying local, is all about. They promote local businesses and are part of that "Keep Louisville Weird " culture that makes us so unique. Please support this local business, go out to a meeting and introduce yourself. After a few moments of speaking with Stacey and Amador you will feel that you've known them for hours, and I feel certain that these two will have no trouble introducing you to many handfuls of people that you will have something in common with. I hope to count them among my growing group of friends as well, and hope to get together with them again very soon.