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Expat to Repat: Buffalo native moves back to city that 'isn’t going to stop anytime soon'

Like many Western New York natives, Laura Habberfield felt drawn back to her hometown after several years living away.

Habberfield initially moved away to Hoboken, N.J., in 2011 to pursue a job opportunity with Toys R Us. She was recruited for a position in the supply chain management training program after graduating from the University at Buffalo.

She spent the next five years living and working in New Jersey, and during that time completed her MBA.

But in May 2016, she was graduating. And with no kids or boyfriend keeping her tied to the New Jersey area, she made the decision to move back to Buffalo.

“I felt like I had finished in Hoboken,” said Habberfield.

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Name: Laura Habberfield

Age: 28

Current location: Buffalo (Elmwood Village)

Previous location: Hoboken, N.J.

Love most about Buffalo: Family, the community feel of the city, that everybody is making an effort to make it better

Miss most about New Jersey: The fast paced lifestyle, being so close to New York City

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She had always wanted to get back to Buffalo, planning to settle and raise a family here. And with all the changes the area has seen, there was even more of an appeal.

“There is so much that has transformed in the last 10 years,” said Habberfield. “It’s something you know isn’t going to stop anytime soon.”

Laura Habberfield moved back to Buffalo in 2016 to work with New Era Cap Company. (Photo courtesy of Laura Habberfield)

She says every time she came back to visit, there was always so much to do, so much to squeeze in with her family.

“Every single time there was something new they had to show me,” said Habberfield.

Between Larkinville, Canalside, the Outer Harbor, and new restaurants, she couldn’t fit everything into her visit. That’s when she knew it was time to come back.

“People don’t realize how much has been built up,” said Habberfield.

She also notes that there are so many events going on, it’s hard to even keep up.

With a timeline set, Habberfield managed to get a job with New Era Cap Company as the sales and operations planning manager.

Habberfield now lives in the Elmwood Village, having chosen the area for its walkability and affordability. She says Hoboken is the most walkable city in the country, and wanted a similar experience in Buffalo.

Laura Habberfield and friend, Molly McGuire, enjoying tailgating before a Buffalo Bills game. (Photo courtesy of Laura Habberfield)

She says the transition back has been fairly easy, because she already knew the city. Plus, her 10-minute commute to work as opposed to her one-hour commute in New Jersey is a major perk. But she has had to adjust to the pace and work-life balance, which is slower than the New York City pace to which she grew accustomed.

She still goes back to visit New Jersey a lot, having left behind a lot of close friends. But she is very confident with her decision, proud and excited of the changes happening in the Queen City. In fact, she says she spends a lot of time trying to convince friends to move to Buffalo.

“I always talk it up,” said Habberfield. “I think I spent my full five years in New Jersey trying to convince my friends [Buffalo] was only five degrees cooler.”

Whether or not her friends move here, she knows she is right where she needs to be.

“I definitely plan on staying here,” said Habberfield. “I’m excited to see where it goes from here and how it grows in the next 10 years.”

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