RSVP was officially launched a year ago, thanks to an initial investment of $70,000 by local businesses, government and community organizations.
During the last 12 months, RSVP has been promoting the city as an ideal retirement destination.
Mary Tieman, executive director of the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce, which acts as the contact point for RSVP, said, “We are seeing a lot of interest in our community and we are hearing from people who want to know more about Sierra Vista and what it has to offer.”
More than 700 requests for information have been made following advertising campaigns in national magazines like “Where To Retire” and “Military Officer”, through social media, and the website RetireSierraVista.com
And at least seven couples have chosen to make the city their new home, said Jack Blair, chief member services officer at Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, which invested in the program.
“We have spoken to people from California, Illinois and Wisconsin who say they moved here because of the advertising they saw through this program,” said Blair, a member of the steering committee. “We have the numbers now and it shows people are responding to this program. People know about Phoenix and Tucson, but they don’t know about Sierra Vista. This program is helping to change that.”
RSVP invites retirees to take advantage of a $199 deal, which includes two nights in a hotel for a couple, meal discounts, a round of golf and a guided tour, if they choose to have one.
Fae Griffith visited Sierra Vista from Missouri in October last year, and was impressed by what she saw.
“I enjoyed my time and felt I learned some valuable information with which to make our decision,” she said. “All of the people to whom I was introduced were so warm and welcoming. If we decide to move, it will be in large to the efforts of RSVP.”
“We took a hike and actually spent about half a day there,” said Valerie Lager, who lives in Colorado. “The volunteers were really nice and we thought it was beautiful. We very much enjoyed our visit to Sierra Vista.”
Jean Guiffrida, branch manager of Long Realty, another RSVP investor, said area Realtors had seen an increase in retirees looking to buy homes in recent months.
“In fact, we have had two people look at homes in the last two weeks who say they are here because of RSVP,” she said. “We have seen a rise in retirees over the last six months and I think this program has contributed toward that. It’s a great program and we are happy to be seeing these results.”
To find out more about Sierra Vista and the RSVP $199 promotion, call (520) 458-6940.
Retire Sierra Vista Program statistics
142,000 – average annual income of readers of “Where To Retire” magazine
87,000 – amount in dollars invested in RSVP to date
2,380 – number of RSVP Facebook likes
741 – number of basic information packets sent
293 – number of relocation packages sent
27 – number of people who have visited through the RSVP promotion
7 – number of couples known to have moved here as a result of RSVP
Investors: SSVEC, Castle & Cooke, R.L. Workman Homes, Lawley Automotive Group, Edward Jones, KE&G, First West Properties, Industrial Development Authority, Wick Communications, Long Realty, Cochise County, Cochise College