This article was written by Marissa Dechant and published by The Derrick. & The News-Herald in July of 2017. Photo by Richard Sayer. Find the original article here.
Late last month, Gavin and Kimberly Fish and their five children packed up their belongings and left Sacramento, California for what Gavin had found to be the best town to live: Franklin.
After months of research, the small town checked off every priority on an extensive spreadsheet Gavin had made, which ranked each state for cost of living, real estate, education and even climate.
“We came and visited Pittsburgh last August. Once we visited here, we didn’t give any other state a chance,” said Kimberly.
The couple visited Franklin earlier in the year, and Gavin returned in April to make an offer on a home with only photos and video to share with his family back in Sacramento.
The family arrived in Franklin on July 1, and took up residence in a Victorian home on Elk Street.
The move had been prompted by the nature of Gavin’s work as a marketing consultant for high-end audio equipment, Kimberly said. While Gavin has clients from across the globe, he can do much of his work from home.
“We’ve very adventurous anyway, so if Gavin’s job took us somewhere, we’d be happy. It fell on us that he could do what he wanted anywhere,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly, a California native, had worked as a part-time fitness instructor for about 20 years and also works to keep up with the couple’s five children: Grace, 16; Jackson, 15; Josie, 13; Fred, 3; and Caroline, 2.
Quality public education was an important factor for the family, as was cost of living. Gavin and Kimberly said a house like the one they now own would cost several million dollars in Sacramento.
Other historical features of the house, like the intricate wooden and glass foyer doors and stained glass windows, would be hard to come by in California homes, Gavin said.
Gavin, who was born in Utah and moved to California as a child, said Pennsylvania had ranked No. 6 on his original list.
Other states high up had included included Wyoming, Florida and Nevada.
But, after a conversation with his aunt who had lived in Cranberry Township near Pittsburgh, Gavin’s mind was set on Pennsylvania.
“I asked if she could go back to live anywhere, where it would be, and she said she’d go back to western Pennsylvania,” Gavin said.
Although the family has only been in town several weeks, they have already joined a local church and the Franklin YMCA.
Kimberly said the family enjoys the music in Bandstand Park, story time at the library and evening walks.
Gavin and Kimberly said they have noticed the friendliness of people in town, who often stop them to chat.
“It’s very comforting because it makes me feel like we’re friends,” Kimberly said.
When asked what their favorite part of the move has been, the older kids all agreed: fireflies.
The insects are mainly found in temperate and tropical climates and rarely appear in California.
The move did come with mixed feelings for some of the family members, though.
“It’s been kind of rough. I’m used to bigger cities,” said Grace.
The eldest sibling said she misses her friends and the large dances put on at her church in Sacramento.
However, Kimberly said she hopes everyone will feel more settled once school starts in September.
Gavin said the family is ready to make the effort to create a beautiful home.
“This is the last house. This is where we are,” he said.
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