Anthony Bartlett whose parents are both transplants founded St. Louis Transplants in 2010. Anthony Bartlett is a St. Louis native who returned back in 2002 after moving to Washington DC to attend Georgetown University. Anthony is a St. Louis enthusiast with a passion for connecting people. This is “What’s On His Mind.”
The St. Louis Welcome Mat
The past few months have been a wonderful whirlwind here in St. Louis for the cause of welcoming new arrivals and embracing their perspectives. Talent mobility is seemingly at the top of every agenda, and the powers that be seem to have really heard our message: if we want to attract and retain talent in our great city, it starts with individuals on the most personal of levels. It’s time to ask not where one went to high school, but rather, what are you looking for and how can we help you?
The best part of this wonderful new movement is that it is truly within the power of each us to make a real and profound difference. We may not have the power to affect tax initiatives, zoning laws, or gate fees at the airport, but each one of us can help our newest neighbors assimilate with ease.
For example, when a transplant walks in that proverbial door alone, locals can be reticent to accept them and start a meaningful conversation. But when you, St. Louis native, walk them in the door yourself -- with a blessing of sorts -- you might be shocked to learn that your local place of worship, bar, school or club can become incredibly welcoming to outsiders.
Our mission at St. Louis Transplants has been to connect transplants to local peer-hosts and to each other; making sure everyone has not only the roadmap to St. Louis, but friends and natives with whom to enjoy it. Funny as it may seem, the difference, quite simply, is you.
Tour De Frontenac/Ladue
Having grown up in Frontenac, I have a soft spot in my heart when our non-native members at St. Louis Transplants tell me it’s where they landed. But all too often, I hear them say that while they love the schools, the trees and the manicured beauty, they feel isolated here; that their neighbors have generally been disinterested in making a real personal connection beyond superfluous introductions.
Tough as it may be to hear, that feeling (although present) is less-so in South City, Central West End, even Wildwood.
Although the homes can be far apart and the locals have had a strong presence here for generations, no one should feel unwelcome. To the contrary, Frontenac has all the tools for new arrivals to fall in love and stay in love.
It’s just that much of its magic so often flies under the radar, and many locals have been known to prefer it that way. While I believe St. Louisans protective nature can add a certain charm, we need far more native sons and daughters willing to share with new faces.
For instance, we had two members of St. Louis Transplants going through our Acclimate Integration Program. She was a replant from New York and he a banker from Bermuda (of all places).
We took a drive down Geyer Road and stopped by the old Meeting House. I told them to picture it lit up with candles on a snowy Christmas Eve. Then I split them up, and showed her the walking route around Portland Place and showed him Woody’s in Le Chateau – preppy English gent that he was.
Then on to Frontenac Cleaners where I introduced them to my gals who can brighten anyone’s day, all before circling back for a spot of lunch at Grassi’s West among the little league photos – which they may have found most endearing of all. Fast forward past the gems they had already discovered like the Women’s Exchange, Plaza Frontenac and Our Lady of Pillar, to the end of our evening (and my personal favorite), where I got to watch their expressions as three cuts of the “Last Word in Prime Rib” (Kreis’) arrived at the table.
Like warm apple strudel la mode at dessert (a must btw), the two had “melted” for Frontenac by the end of our little journey.
I recount this story in particular because both people on our special tour had been living in Frontenac already for nearly 3 years combined. If I only had a nickel for every time heard the words: “Wow, I had no idea.”
So many great organizations are doing wonderful work selling our world class amenities, schools, family-friendly activities and the like. But remember it’s the little things can make a profound impact too, especially when they can be personalized through a new friend and host.
The simple act of sharing what you already know and love about our neighborhood can turn places that transplants “drive by” into the very reason they stay and thrive. Add a dinner party or two with friends and family and non-natives will begin calling Frontenac and Ladue more than just a pretty place to live with a good school district.
They will start calling it home.
For more information about becoming a local peer-host, please contact at this website.