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Thomas Chamber courts retirees

March 2, 2006

Thomasville -- Good location, favorable climate, low taxes, and abundant amenities are magnetic to seniors.

It was a wedding, a year ago that brought Joe and Terry Emerson to Thomasville. They liked it so much, they stayed.

Joe said, "The wedding was on Saturday, we made an offer on this house on Monday, signed a contract on Tuesday, and went back and told our six daughters we're moving to south Georgia."

The couple from Poughkeepsie, New York retired here in September. "It was a beautiful place, the people were so welcoming, you couldn't ask for anything better I mean it's like a slice of heaven," Terry said.

The chamber of commerce is trying to get others to follow the Emerson's lead. "People don't normally say in the north they're going to retire to south Georgia," says Don Sims of the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce. "We have to get the word out there that our climates similar, our prices are a good deal lower and people are just friendlier."

In fact, the areas is getting a lot of attention and some of it nationally, They're mentioned in USA Today, in last month's Georgia Trends magazine and in America's 100 Best Places to Retire .

"Our tremendous medical community, our quality of life, and our affordability," are just some of the attractive features, Joe says.

"Terry said she worked and worked and worked because she had to and I struggled in New York on my fixed retirement income but we're not struggling down here and she works now because she wants to," said Joe.

Joe was paying six thousand dollars just in New York taxes, but here that bill is eleven hundred dollars, making the time he gets to spend on his hobby-- refinishing cars-- priceless.

Joe said, "We are living a dream, It is fabulous, absolutely fabulous, and that is no exaggeration." The Emerson's consider this their little piece of heaven.

More than 78 million baby boomers are expected to retire over the next two decades. Right now, Florida ranks first as a retiree destination.

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