From a labor and delivery nurse to small business owners, Kim Troutman, Moe Farhoud and Jada Sanders thought home was somewhere other than Lubbock. After moving away, they found the life they wanted to live was right where they left it.
“I decided to go to culinary school and moved to Austin with the intention of never going back to Lubbock,” Kim said. It was there that Kim met her now husband Chris, then a software developer who would later co-found the Austin Beer Guide magazine with an eye toward opening his own brewery someday with business partner Shawn Phillips, whose wife was also from Lubbock. However, according to Chris, “our families got pregnant and had kids at the same time, so we did the magazine instead of the brewery because it was easier to do at home.” And so, they settled into life in the Austin area.
After years in the publication world, the Troutmans decided to make the move to open a brewery, but by that point, property values in Austin had skyrocketed. According to Chris, what would have been a half-million dollar budget had gone to $2 million. Chris was initially discouraged until he saw the potential Lubbock had to offer. He continued citing the willingness of restaurants and stores to carry more craft beers and the rise of coffee and wine culture across the city.
“Those have always been precursors to the beer industry. It shows people are searching for more locally crafted premium products,” said Chris.
The “Hub City” is also more economical, not only offering them a competitive cost of business but an affordable cost of living as well. “We were going to have to move out of Austin to just be able to afford life and to be in a good school district,” Kim said. “We can find those things [in Lubbock] without making those sacrifices.”
The couples now operate Lubbock’s newest brewery in Tech Terrace with Good Line Beer Co.
Moe Farhoud, like many today, came to Lubbock to attend school at Texas Tech University. Originally hailing from Houston, he wasn’t expecting much from, what he thought, was a small Texas town.
“To be honest, when I applied to Tech, I thought Lubbock would just be a small town with a college and a couple of houses,” Farhoud said. Then a switch flipped and Farhoud started making friends, including the woman who would later become his wife. After graduation, he returned to Houston, but this time he realized the rush of the big city wasn’t for him.
“After 18 months, I decided I would take more of Lubbock’s kindness and less of Houston’s traffic,” Farhoud said. “I found that time is more valuable. You can spend that time with your family or doing things for yourself, or you can be stuck in big-city traffic.”
Just like the Troutmans, Farhoud found opening his own business to be a more feasible prospect by returning to Lubbock. He opened Clouds Hookah Sports Grill in November of 2019. “There is so much love and support for local businesses that I didn't think I’d find here,” Farhoud said. “In Houston, it’s so huge that you get lost as a small business. But you add so much value in Lubbock by standing out and offering something different.”
Farhoud is now focused on sharing the values and quality of life that welcomed him to Lubbock, by attracting new residents to the city—his Houston-based family.
Jada Sanders grew up in Lubbock and attended Lubbock Christian University where she earned a nursing degree in 2013. After being content working in Lubbock and starting a family with her husband Matthew, 2020 changed everything.
“In the middle of COVID we realized we could move anywhere, so in June 2021 we moved to Wylie,” Sanders said. “We thought that because we’d be closer to the Dallas metroplex, there would be more things to do, more opportunities for the kids and for our jobs. Life is short. We’ve always been here, so why not try something different?”
Though most family members and friends were in favor of her move to the Dallas area, some thought she was crazy.
“A lot of friends [and family] thought we wouldn’t make it long, but they didn’t think it would be just three months,” Sanders said. “It took a lot of courage to move away and to come back, but we don’t regret it.”
After moving away from Lubbock, Sanders experienced exactly what Farhoud came to realize about big-city life. She had so much more time in Lubbock. “Everything in the Dallas metroplex was so time-consuming,” Sanders said. “Also, here in Lubbock, you know your neighbors and people are just kinder.”
It’s easy to take the status quo for granted; the smiles, and the genuine care the locals of Lubbock show for one another. Sometimes you have to step outside of the forest to notice the trees you were surrounded by all along.
The Troutmans called Austin home for about a dozen years, Farhoud lasted almost two years in Houston, and the Sanders only made it three months before returning home to Lubbock. Even though they all had different chapters, each of them found their home to be in the “Hub City.”To learn more about life in Lubbock, visit lubbockeda.org