The Villages is miles ahead of any retirement community anywhere.
Story: Joe Angione
I just watched a YouTube video on the 10 bests places to retire in Florida. The Villages ranked 4th. But the three that beat The Villages – Spring Hill was one – weren’t communities, but rather areas or towns where retirees have gravitated. They had nothing as comprehensive as the lifestyle and amenities found here in The Villages.
From time to time there are complaints about something The Villages management does to improve its bottom line. Some people are rather cavalier about how they go about expressing their displeasure – like the way they ignored the pleas of nearby homeowners when they leveled the Hacienda Hills restaurant and pool complex. The locals complained bitterly. But what The Villages did here isn’t unlike what every community does to keep itself profitable. It wasn’t carrying its weight in revenues. The Villages is first a business, and profitability is what that’s all about.
The YouTube video mention the 450 top-quality retail establishments and restaurants serving Villagers… the more than 250 medical practices here to keep us healthy, longer… the dozens of daily recreation and entertainment opportunities that excite and energize us… the more than 50 championship and executive golf courses that have attracted people from all over America. YouTube didn’t reveal that The Villages lifestyle has brought over 130,000 to live here, not only to escape the cold of the North, but to enjoy the most active living possible anywhere.
When my wife and I moved here 23 years ago, there were only 12,000 villagers. But positive word of mouth traveled so fast that Village construction firms couldn’t build homes fast enough. In fact, most of the advertising money spent by The Villages management to sell homes was probably wasted. Most Villagers can claim that their glowing comments about life here really did the selling, not the ads.
Some say The Villages is getting crowded, but so is most of the U.S. anywhere that conditions remain livable. It’s amazing that some retirement organization hasn’t duplicated The Villages’ format somewhere else in Florida. But no one has, at least not yet.
A few point to Sun City Center near Ruskin, Florida, but it’s much smaller and pales in comparison to The Villages’ attractions and diverse, on-the-go living. We must admit, and proudly so, that The Villages is a “playland” for seniors unequalled across the nation.