SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Thousands are doing it. They’ve moving in to Michigan.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments reports that over 63,000 people moved into the tri-county area in 2009, the last year statistics were available. While it wasn’t enough to offset the population loss, it’s clear that without those moving here from other states and other countries, Michigan would be a much emptier place.

CEO Nathaniel McClure moved his video game maker Scientifically Proven to Farmington Hills from Los Angeles two years ago. “I think I hit a goldmine up here,” he told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil. “I think it’s great.”

McClure said it was the film tax incentives that drew him. But he and his wife love it here.

“I love every one of the seasons,” McClure said. “I’m a proud Lions season ticket holder…and the people are nice. They’re just welcoming.”

McClure said he saw an opportunity to expand his business in Michigan and it’s been a great personal move for him as well. He has three children, ranging from 15 to a young baby. McClure said he and his wife were doing “very well” in LA, but “it was the parts we couldn’t directly control. We couldn’t control the school systems. We couldn’t control the traffic. We couldn’t control the cost of living.”

McClure brought several employees with him to Michigan, but has since hired 15 locals. “My employees can make a decent leaving and live in a beautiful home and have great schools and in Los Angeles, for the most part, that’s hard to come by,” McClure said.

Samer Abdallah left the Bloomfield Hills area years ago for the glamour of south Florida. He and his two partners, who are also from metro Detroit, recently moved back to start the Torino Espresso Bar in Ferndale. It opened this summer as a coffee shop that sells alcohol.

“We just believed that this business, there isn’t anything really like it around,” Abdallah said. “that we could be successful in this industry, and there was a niche to be filled with Torino.”

Abdallah said it’s much more affordable here. “The initial investment in a large city could have been ten times what we paid for everything, or at least five times the amount.”

Abdallah admits he sometime misses the glamour and the beach of Florida, but said he moved here as a business decision.

As for the 36-year-old McClure: “Do I care if I’m two miles from Hollywood Boulevard? Not at this point in my life,” he said. “You know, when I was 20, sure that was fun. But at this point, I want a nice home and a nice school district and a good viable business.” He’s found that here.


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