Kzoo Uncaged exists because of our love for Kalamazoo. One of our favorite questions to ask our interviewees is What do you love most about Kalamazoo? It’s a beautiful insight from Kalamazoo’s own on the wonderful place we call home. While we see trends in the answers to this question, everyone shares a little something different. Let’s take a look back at how each of our interviewees from 2013 expressed their love.
SO MANY THINGS! This is a place for young entrepreneurs to foster a community of positive change.
–Karen Matson, KVCC
Kalamazoo has a neat opportunity, and I don’t think it’s been fully realized yet.
–John Mueller, WMU
For one, it’s education city! There’s an incredible authentic commitment to education in Kalamazoo. It really has everything you could want from a big city, but you can still find parking.
–Ken Barr Jr., KVCC
I really like the name Kalamazoo. If our town was called like, Middlebury, or something like that, it wouldn’t be as awesome. I think Kalamazoo is a good spot where things are just becoming better.
–Kevin Romeo, Rhino Media
It’s diverse, it’s fun, it’s booming; the growth is amazing! I love bringing my family and friends here to have dinner or walk around downtown. There are just so many things to do, and I really enjoy sharing that time with my family.
–Derrick Jones, Townhouse Media
I think that I love that it’s so eclectic. You can walk down the street and see so many different types of people and everyone’s getting along and working together; you really don’t see that in most cities.
–Kelsey Chrystal, Kelsey’s Cakes
Kalamazoo as a community is like Twitter as a social network. The top tier of people in this community are still accessible – you have to make an effort, but they’re accessible. Kalamazoo is growing, and we’re in an interesting time because we’re at a place where our community demands leaders beyond who’s already been here, so people have the opportunity to make an impact.
–Carl Brown, Roguebotic
I love that it’s a friendly community. It’s dramatically different from other communities. It’s not so transient an environment, you know, we’re just friendlier here – maybe it has something to do with the name!
–Julie Stanley, Food Dance
It’s got diversity. We’ve got the college kids that bring the youth, but you’ve got established people with local companies and organizations as well. There are so many ig name companies that have deep roots here in little Kalamazoo.
–Michael Shutkas, ThermoFisher Scientific
I’ve been using the hashtag #lovethiscity a lot recently, and I really do. I like that there are amazing things that are happening, and I think one of the challenges is that we don’t always know about them, or don’t realize how awesome they really are. I love that we come together and collaborate, and that we have a lot of people working on the challenges we are facing in this community who are working hard to make a positive impact.
–Mayor Bobby Hopewell, City of Kalamzoo
I love the passion that people in our community have for making this community one of the best, if not the best, place to live in the world. When you look at the work that people are doing in the greater Kalamazoo area to strengthen our community, it’s just incredible.
–Sandy Barry-Loken, Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run
I love the people; absolutely love the people. After I turned 21 and started coming down here more, I realized that everyone here is doing something they love, something they’re passionate about. I think that’s what makes a community great, and that’s what’s driving our change.
–Ryan Goins, Startup Zoo
It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that I love the most; I’ve lived here my entire life, so there’s lots of things I love. If I had to narrow it own, I think that the passion that people have for this city is amazing, and there’s not a lot of other places that have that passion. I’ve been fortunate enough, even thought I haven’t lived anywhere else, to travel the world, and you don’t find a place like Kalamazoo very often.
–Susan Terranella-Hoffman, Cakes Boutique
The quality of life here is really great, and it took me moving away and living in some amazing places around the world to fully appreciate how awesome this community is.
–Noel Corwin, Gorilla Gourmet
Community. Community is number one; it’s our tagline, Because we’re neighbors; we’re all family. The way people support each other in this community is unbelievable. It’s small and perfect, and huge at the same time.
–Melissa Al-Azzawi, Handmade Kalamazoo
If you’ve ever seen me give a talk, I always start off by saying “I love Kalamazoo.” I grew up here, but what I really love is the ability to collaborate and work together.
–Chris Lampen-Crowell, Gazelle Sports
Kalamazoo is big enough for all of this cultural awesomeness, but small enough that I can go out to eat something nice and run into two or three friends. I have a place where I’m not stuck in traffic, and there are lots of great people I know – really smart talented people.
–Daniel Jefferies, Newmind Group
There are a zillion things to love about Kalamazoo. I think it’s a sense of community and connection that you feel. I really believe that there is a spirit of collective good and shared success in Kalamazoo, so that it’s not just about one person or one organization making it big; it’s about everyone.
–Ethan Alexander, Open Roads
2013 was an amazing, exciting year. We knew we loved Kalamazoo before starting this blog, and have only grown to love it more due to the compassion and generosity of the people in this community. Thank you to our brave 18 interviewees who graciously shared their time and stories. Thank you to the readers for your questions, comments, and feedback. This blog is about the people of this great community, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you so much for the love and support in making Kzoo Uncaged what it is today.
From us, to you, have a happy, healthy New Year.
Andy, Carrie, & Sydney