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One visit was enough for newlyweds

Newlyweds Kathren and Aaron Rosales made a bold move in March. They relocated to Charlotte from Honolulu – without jobs. They had visited just once, two months before.

Their motivation: a relatively stronger economy. As mortgage brokers, they'd survived two rounds of layoffs before their company – a branch of beleaguered Countrywide Financial – shut down.

“When we got here, the economy nationwide really started to crumble,” said Kathren, who had lived in Hawaii for about 20 years. “Charlotte felt a little protected.”

Aaron said: “There is a lot more potential here – for businesses.”

Thirty-something Aaron found a job in sales pretty quickly. Kathren, who's in her early 40s, finished her undergraduate degree online. She's still looking for work and hopes to move back into human resources, a previous profession. Together, they are working on an online business – translating credit reports for Spanish speakers.

In January, the couple, who have been married one year, visited Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte. Kathren has a friend in Raleigh who talked up North Carolina. They made the most contacts here and found folks at the Charlotte Chamber to be kind and helpful.

“We had gotten a lot of feedback (here) and felt like there would be a lot of opportunities for myself going back to work and for my husband starting his own business,” Kathren said.

They are renting an apartment in the University City area until Kathren finds work and they decide where they'd like to buy a house. Aaron said Charlotte is their home for the long term. They like the people and the weather.

“It's beautiful. Beautiful trees, mountains, lakes. We always make an effort in our spare time to go hiking. And we just went to the beach and it was fantastic,” Kathren said. “I actually got my surfboard out and did some surfing. The water was warm. I was like, `Hey, this is just like Hawaii. You just can't see the bottom.'”