I’m a 26 year old martial arts instructor from Toronto. Guilherme, my husband, is a mattress store owner from San Diego. We just decided to move our businesses and start our life together in Fort Worth, Texas. Here's why.
Fort Worth wasn’t always our plan. Since we started dating in 2019, the plan was for G to move to Toronto. We figured it would be easier to move a mattress store than a martial arts club. But then the pandemic hit, and due to the stringent Toronto lockdowns, I was not able to work at all, while the mattress industry was doing better than ever. But continuing to think that the pandemics end was just a "14-day to stop the spread" lockdown away, we decided to make the move to Toronto and leave G's booming store in the hands of his brother. We sold most of G's stuff on Offer Up, loaded up our three bulldogs in our Ford F-150, and drove from San Diego to Toronto with the intention of staying there.
The road trip was a wild adventure. I believe that cleaning up dog poop in the car while setting up a tent on a dark and stormy Austin night, really bonded us as a couple (stay tuned for a blog about the many lessons we learned on our cross country road trip). When we got to Toronto, we spent the month focused on finding a house to rent and a retail location for G’s mattress store. We thought this shouldn’t take more than a month in a pandemic where businesses are bailing out of their leases like flies, right? Boy were we wrong. Everything in Toronto seemed to be more difficult than it had to be.
When looking for a house, landlords demanded proof of over $115k salary for a $2000/ month shoebox with a rotting basement and paid parking. After weeks of seeing overpriced houses, we settled on renting a duplex with cramped ceilings and no back yard, an hour outside of Toronto for $1800 per month, in an area where drug deals go down on bicycles at 1 pm. We were disappointed, but at this point desperate to find a place since we already had to extend our expensive $3,300/m basement apartment air-bnb.
The mattress store search was no better. Forty minutes outside of Toronto we found a 2000 sq/ft store on a side road for the price of $4200 per month, plus 13% tax and utilities. In addition, they demanded we pay 6 months up front, as well as ensure the lease personally, because they were weary of renting during Corona. Disappointed at the high price, the higher cost of G’s products, the lower cost we could sell them at (in CAD), higher taxes - but desperate to get started, we went through a month of negotiations just to be declined.
Meanwhile, lockdowns kept getting pushed back month after month, being coupled with new measures that we felt were total infringements on our freedom. At the time, it was illegal to have anyone from outside of your home visit you, inside or outside, socially distant and masked or not. Neighbours were reporting each other to the police, who would shut down these 'illegal gatherings' and fine you some $800 or more for having the audacity to visit your own parents. All business was shut down except for major retailers like Walmart. It was impossible to tell when I could get back to work with the ever-extending goal posts. With time and money running out, I cried once in the car as we drove around looking for ‘For Lease’ signs in sketchy areas, feeling defeated about it all. G, the last man to give up or lose enthusiasm, told me that it was all going to work out, he knew it. This is all part of the journey.
I lived in Toronto all my life, so I didn’t have much to compare it to, but I quickly learned that Toronto was not a great place to be if you want to build a business and live an abundant, free life. Here's why.
- Ridiculously high housing prices- a 3 bedroom in Toronto is valued at over 1 million dollars (parking and backyard sometimes not included 😂 )
- Car insurance is the highest in North America. I paid over $4000 per year for my Chevy Cruze with a clean driving record. Makes sense when you realize that insurance companies are the biggest government lobbyists in Canada.
- Gas, food prices, products are all more expensive than various US cities due to high taxes and tariffs and lower population.
- There's taxes on taxes on taxes, with the Trudeau Liberals adding a Carbon tax that makes heat, gas, and imports much more expensive.
- Ontario has had the longest and most severe lockdowns during Covid in North America, and shows no interest in maintaining our rights or freedoms.
The Light Bulb Moment
One day, out of nowhere, G looked at me in our tiny kitchen and said, ‘what if I just go to Dallas’? I thought he was kidding at first, it was so random. He said it didn’t matter what city, but Texas seemed like the place for us. As any girlfriend would, I started googling ‘Living in Dallas’, and I realized that G had had a stroke of genius. Here's why:
- No state tax - heck yeah
- Affordable housing prices compared to San Diego and Toronto. A three bedroom goes for 200-400k instead of >1 million. This made home buying automatically doable for us, and more than that, one day we can actually have land and animals like we always dreamed of.
- The government and people value freedom and fight for it.
- Texas is the 9th largest economy in the world and one of the top job producing states in the USA.
- Great school boards, high quality of life, and overall low costs for daily needs.
- Texas is one of the top states that people are moving to, with over 500,000 people relocating there in 2020. For business, this is perfect, because guess what everyone needs when they move to a new state? A mattress! Yee-haw!
We literally decided at that table to leave for Dallas by next week- as crazy as it sounded to all of my friends and family. Not without our hurdles though- we drove all the way to the border just to realize the USA implemented a new rule that Canadians must arrive by plane. We drove back to Toronto and booked a flight the next day just to realize at the airport that I needed a negative covid test to board the plane. We stayed in a Motel 6 for another 5 days while I waited for my test results, with people across from us doing drugs and partying all night until the paramedics came. But finally, I got to fly to Chicago where I met G. He arrived by truck with the whole bulldog pack.
What an adventure. From San Diego to Toronto to Fort Worth, Texas. But it was all, totally worth it. When we got to DFW, we happened to drive through North Fort Worth in Roanoke, and we loved it so much that we decided to stay here. It was utterly green, in a lime, lush green that I’d never seen. The homes and stores were stunning, the streets were squeaky clean, and even though the population was so big, there was so much space. Cows, horses, goats, donkeys, all grazed in beautiful pastures between beautiful communities. Jaw dropped the whole drive, with happy tears and a heart full of gratitude, we knew we made the right choice.
Thank God We're In Texas!
Within two days of searching G rented a spacious 4 bedroom house in Haslet with a 2 car garage for $2000 through First Key Homes. We found an entire living room and kitchen set that another couple was giving away for only $300 on Facebook marketplace. We joined a Brazilian Jiu jitsu gym and started meeting friends, and started selling mattresses right away out of a storage while our store was being built.
I’ve never felt something so harmonious before, where messy and moving pieces just seemed to shift perfectly into place. Three months later and we absolutely love our lives here, and would not trade it for anything at all, hands down. Meanwhile Toronto is still on lockdown with no end in sight, and I’m so thankful that I made the decision to not sit around and wait for the government to give me my life back. The dogs love it here too, and seem happier than ever to have so much space. So that’s the story of our journey from San Diego to Toronto to Fort Worth, Texas. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you are also moving to Fort Worth, we’d love to connect with you on Instagram and follow your journey too! (@mattressrepublic.co - say hello!)
MOVING TO TEXAS?
Since you’ll be needing a good sleep after the exciting drive, visit us so we can set you up with an amazing mattress and hear your story. We are giving a free delivery on every mattress purchase for those who visit us from reading our blog posts, it’s our “Thank God We’re in Fort Worth” promo, and it’s for everyone. Just let us know at check out, can't wait to meet you!
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Stay tuned for more posts about our Fort Worth journey!