Jason Ballard has found Austin, Texas, to be very hospitable to his retail store TreeHouse, a sustainable home-improvement store. The 25,000-square-foot facility stocks eco-friendly items such as bamboo flooring, and thermostats that allow users to turn down the heat when they are away. Since opening in south Austin in 2011, TreeHouse has grown to 50 employees and a reported $10 million in revenue. “If you’re in the home-remodeling or homebuilding business, a growing, thriving city is obviously really, really appealing,” said Ballard. “As a community, Austin is just very supportive of new and interesting things,” a key factor driving the city’s rich arts and music scene.
Plus, with large Silicon Valley tech firms such as Amazon, Google and Facebook running offices in the area and Whole Foods headquartered in the city, he adds, “There’s a ton of tech talent — and retail talent.”