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Why I Moved to Chattanooga, TN (And Why You Should, Too)

Find out how the Fair Flies founder snagged a great opportunity in Tennessee's growing outdoor recreation economy.

By Val Beerbower on October 6, 2021

man holding fishing rod
Chattanooga, TN / Jeff Adkins

Chattanooga’s natural resources help reel in jobs that support the growing outdoor recreation economy. Fair Flies founder Jeff Coffey first arrived here as a guest but soon was hooked on the lifestyle and affordable costs. What lured him in?

“I had been invited to come and teach some tying techniques at a local fly shop on the North Shore,” Coffey says. “We were so warmly welcomed – even as we pulled into the parking lot. People treated us like old friends they were happy to see again. I have not had that experience (elsewhere) in America before.”

Fair Flies works with tyers, co-ops and nonprofits around the world to provide quality flies by buying them from organizations committed to providing fair working conditions and livable wages for everyone involved.

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Chattanooga, TN / Jeff Adkins

Relocating from Oregon to Tennessee

Coffey and his wife lived in Oregon for nearly 30 years, but when devastating wildfires forced them to pack up, they decided to relocate to Chattanooga, TN. The move had a positive impact on the couple, and Fair Flies was able to take advantage of the region’s affordability.

“Our overhead cost was reduced by roughly 60% from where we were,” Coffey says. “We have found overly qualified team members eager to join our business and our cause.”

“Now, we are part of a community of like-minded innovators and budding entrepreneurs. I feel we have finally found our kin.”

Jeff Coffey/Fair Flies

Of course it helps when your business is located in the heart of the bass tournament fishing universe and is the most biodiverse region north of the Amazon.

“My experience has been exactly as I had felt four years ago,” Coffey says. “We have been welcomed by neighbors that have become lifelong friends, and have already integrated into the business community that helped us to restart our company here in the INCubator (in the Hamilton County Business Development Center). Now, we are part of a community of like-minded innovators and budding entrepreneurs. I feel we have finally found our kin.”

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