More Than You Know. Closer Than You Think.
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Meet Meg Hopkins
Meg Hopkins, a Penn Yan native, grew up playing lacrosse, which in Penn Yan is a big deal. The sport provided Meg the opportunity to attend the University of Vermont in Burlington and, she says, really launched her to where she is today.
“After college graduation and a summer road trip around the US, I moved to Nashville, TN in the beginning of 2016,” she said. “Here is where I jump-started my career in marketing obtaining a position with the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce and Office of Economic Development. After one year, I was managing the Marketing Department on my own.”
Even though Meg was loving her career, something was still missing. After spending the weekend at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival with her partner, Eddie Rivera, they decided they both needed to travel. So, in July 2019, they sold everything they owned in Nashville and bought one-way tickets to Koh Samui Island in Thailand.
“At the beginning of February 2020, Eddie and I found ourselves in Split, Croatia. As we all know now, this is when the pandemic started to really hit Europe.” She added, “Thankfully, Eddie, being a retired Army Veteran, already had a plan to get us back to the United States.”
With just their backpacks and the clothes on their backs, they landed back in the States in the middle of February 2020. They stayed in Florida for about two months and then decided to come back up to the Finger Lakes and stay with Meg’s family.
This move would prove to be longer term than they originally thought. “Being a native to the Finger Lakes and with a worldwide pandemic going on, Eddie and I decided to lay low and head back to Penn Yan safely in April 2020,” she said. “It was one of the best decisions that we made!”
Ultimately, they decided to stay in the Finger Lakes and purchase their home in Geneva.
For Meg, having grown up in the Finger Lakes her whole life, she was nervous about the opportunities available. Upon returning to the States, she reached out to Nashville, TN business owner, and asked if he was looking to hire someone remotely. “Thankfully he was!”
Nevertheless, Meg was nervous that if she didn’t find something remote, or based out of a larger city, that she wouldn’t have had another opportunity like it in Upstate New York. However, after being back for 3 years, she sees that that is not the case. She shared, “There are tons of opportunities for young professionals.”
Meg found that the small-town feel that she grew up with remains the same, adding, “Having had so many new experiences and traveled extensively, I can tell you that that feeling is unmatched by most. Growing up I always thought of it as a hindrance – a hindrance to my growth, a hindrance to becoming me – but now I see it as a positive.”
She now describes the small-town feel as warm and welcoming and finds that it has evolved much in the last ten years. “The growth that we’re seeing is intentional and that’s truly important to this area,” Meg said. “Having worked for an Office of Economic Development in the richest county of Tennessee, I’ve seen how growth can be overwhelming to its locals. However, here in the Finger Lakes, we’re seeing the kind of growth that works for all of its citizens, not just some. Small businesses are coming back and thriving. Larger companies are calling this place home and revamping their work culture to fit what’s most important to the people they hire.”
At first though, she said it was difficult coming back to the States, let alone the Finger Lakes area. But, after seeing what she describes as some amazing places, she was able to look at the Finger Lakes with a new sense of appreciation. “This place is absolutely beautiful, and it made coming back here much easier. Plus,” she said, “the intentional growth I mentioned above, also helped. I was worried that I would move back here with my partner, and there would be nothing for us to do. Today, we’re thankful for the businesses that have reinvented themselves here in the Finger Lakes and the new businesses that have opened their doors based on the passions the owners have.”
Today, Meg owns Simple Marketing LLC, based out of Geneva.
“When we first bought our home here in Geneva and I really started to explore, I noticed how most small businesses and organizations don’t have the access nor the resources to fully promote themselves. At the time I was working remotely for a small digital marketing firm based in Nashville and I was astonished and some of the invoices we sent out.” It was then that she realized she could make her skills accessible to local businesses and organizations that really need them. So, in April 2021, she took a leap and started taking on small clients, helping with all things digital marketing from website design to social media management. By May 2021, she knew that she could do this on her own.
Some of the advantages that Meg has found to living in the area as opposed to a larger city is the connectivity, which she says is unlike anything she has ever witnessed. “I have yet to market myself or my business. All my clients I work with have been sent to me through word-of-mouth. It always amazes me when I get an email or a text from someone that says, ‘So and so recommended your services.'”
She added, “You get the feeling that everyone wants to see everyone succeed. That everyone works hard to uplift others. I am beyond thankful for the small community of people that I have met that continue to uplift me and my business. It never goes unnoticed and makes you want to do the same for everyone else. “
Some of the ways that Meg and Eddie like to spend their time include taking their dog on long walks, walking to downtown Geneva, and having lunch or walking to the waterfront. At night, they typically spend time on Linden Street at their favorite bar/restaurant, Microclimate. “The owners of Microclimate are amazing, and we love experiencing what they have to offer.”
For anyone looking to relocate to that area Meg says, “Give it a chance. Even though the towns in the Finger Lakes are small, the people, businesses, and organizations make up for it. I’ve seen the growth here and it truly is unmatched. The atmosphere still encourages you to slow down while also providing you with constant opportunities to do something fun and different.”
She also added, “The biggest thing that you’re going to get when you relocate here is the community. Prepare to start connecting with people you normally wouldn’t. Prepare to start connecting with people in ways you normally wouldn’t. The sense of community and collaboration that you get here is open to everyone if you just accept it!”
Thank you, Meg, for sharing your story with us! Read more SoFLX stories to learn about life, work, and play in the Southern Finger Lakes.