Even after Lauren Craig moved away from Moore County after High School to go to North Carolina State University, and then relocated to Winston-Salem after graduation, she always wondered if one day she would come back to the area to settle down.
“There’s just something special about this place that drew us back,” Lauren says.
Lauren grew up in Southern Pines and graduated from Pinecrest High School. She studied Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources at NC State, then moved to Winston-Salem and worked first as an HR Generalist for an engineering firm, then in the Wake Forest University School of Business for over three years. Lauren and her husband, Charlotte native Lance Craig, married in 2011.
Then, a little over two years ago, Lauren and Lance decided to move back to the Moore County area.
“The one concrete thing that got us back was that my husband accepted a job here,” Lauren explains. “But there were a lot of other factors drawing us back to the area.”
“My parents still live here, so it's always been home. Ever since my husband and I started dating, we would always come back to visit my family here.”
Returning to Moore County
It wasn’t just family ties that drew them back to the area. The general quality of life in the Pinehurst area is ideal for Lauren and Lance.
“Location plays a huge role in that,” Lauren explains. “You're close enough to get back up to NC State for football games and we’re close to our friends all over NC. We’re close to the beach, and also to Western NC.”
Other than the location, Lauren says Pinehurst is also a great place to try unique local restaurants and businesses. The couple likes to keep things local and find great places that help the area thrive.
Lauren also knew, based on her own personal experiences, that Moore County was a great place they could one day raise their own family.
“The people here made it feel like I was raised by the community, not just my parents. This is a unique characteristic of this area that I didn't realize you couldn’t find everywhere,” says Lauren.
Lauren says Pinehurst is a great place to grow up, with even more activities now than there were when she was a kid. Lauren was involved in a dance company, and took piano lessons. Her brother was an avid golfer. She says she appreciates that they were able to experience a lot of different art and cultural events in the area.
At the time they moved from Winston Salem, Lauren was able to keep working for Wake Forest, remotely, for seven months before accepting a job as the Village Clerk for Pinehurst. Lauren worked from home about four days a week, and commuted to Winston Salem as-needed.
“I think with my generation it's almost on the forefront - we find ways to do things remotely. Technology has played a role in that. When my husband got the job back here, it raised the question of 'now what for my career.' I knew that what I was doing at the time for the WFU School of Business, even though it hadn't been done before, could be done remotely. I approached it by saying - here's my proposal, here's how I think this could work remotely.”
“Everything was linked to my office,” says Lauren. “My office phone routed to my cell phone. I was just as accessible at home as I would be in Winston Salem. And I still had the ability to travel in when possible to be physically present for what I was doing.”
“It was worth it,” Lauren recalls. “We know now that getting out of the office environment helps productivity and creativity. And it’s very easy to do.”
Moore Young Professionals
One thing Lauren noticed when she moved back to Pinehurst was that, even though there were young professionals living in the area, there wasn’t any kind of organized group getting them together. Lauren and a childhood friend decided to create Moore Young Professionals to get people living and working in the Moore County area connected with each other.
“We’ve gotten the group together now for about a year and half,” says Lauren. “We meet once a month, and the goal is really to create a community for young professionals in the area. Along with monthly socials, we also have book club meetings, and plans in the future to do networking events.”
Lauren says they wanted to make the area as welcoming as possible to young families and professionals who were moving back after college, or looking to relocate here from another area. It was a goal she had moving back.
The Moore Young Professionals Facebook page has over 200 followers.