Discover the Ridgewood firm with a big mission to make new Bergen County residents feel at home sooner
It is often said that moving is one of life’s most stressful events. The endless boxes, the organizing and cleaning, the new routines and sad goodbyes – moving can be hard, and moving from the city to the suburbs is only that much harder. But, with the right guidance and support, relocating can also mean a new chapter in one’s life, each page blank, fresh and ready to be filled.
For New York City resident Darlene Agag, moving back to her hometown of Wyckoff after 20 years immersed in the hustling, bustling “city that never sleeps,” proved to be more of an adjustment than she could have ever imagined.
“Two years ago, I decided I wanted a change, so I left my longtime job at FOX Television and spent the summer with my children at my parents’ house in Wyckoff,” said Agag. “It was actually my son’s desire to move out of the city that led us back to Bergen County. The kids enjoyed the space and slower pace and were both much happier living in the suburbs, so we decided to make the move.”
However, the pace of life did not slow down much for Agag and her children during the first few months in their new home.
“The transition was challenging,” said Agag. “Even though we only moved 20 miles from the city and I knew the area very well, it was still a big change. I had to get my children acclimated to the area, find a school, doctors, activities and teams, all while creating a new life for us.”
It is often overlooked details such as these that leave new residents feeling stressed, pulled in different directions, and at times, even alone. After experiencing this firsthand, Agag was determined to make a difference. And so, Suburban Settlers was born.
Located in Ridgewood, this valuable neighborhood company aims to help people settle into their new location quickly and easily. The organization’s specialized services save time, reduce stress and make newcomers feel right at home in no time at all.
“My mom had actually started working on a business like this about 30 years ago with a friend,” said Agag. “After her friend’s husband was relocated, they never got their plans off the ground. I decided to resurrect their idea with the goal of helping others get acclimated quickly so that they don’t have to go through the same challenges that I faced.”
Suburban Settlers works with families, individuals, young couples and seniors coming from towns and cities all over the world. The firm also partners with corporate relocation, realtors and agents to provide the inside scoop on local musts and catered services for a seamless relocation. This includes aiding international clients, who encounter obstacles related to various cultural differences, such as language barriers and simple day-to-day tasks that we often take for granted, like navigating Route 17. In fact, when it comes to adapting to Suburbia USA, one main difference involves having to drive everywhere rather than walk or jump in a taxi. Without everything you need at your disposal, the suburbs have potential to feel rather isolating. Suburban Settlers is here to eliminate these chances.
Because every individual and family are different, the unique company creates custom packages for all clients depending on their needs.
“What differentiates Suburban Settlers is the personal touch and connections with the community that it offers,” said Agag.
Each package includes a kick-off call with the client, a half-day guided tour around the community, and a customized plan that affords all the contacts and necessary resources for feeling at home sooner.
“Each catered plan includes detailed information on schools, tutoring, childcare, pet care, specialized services, houses of worship, civic organizations, local service professionals, and more. We even make personal introductions to help ease the transition, and have follow-up services that last for a minimum of three months, but are always available to our clients should they need assistance,” she said.
The entire business process is rewarding for Agag, who is thankful for the opportunity to work with each and every one of her clients, while gaining new insights and life lessons along the way.
“Everyone has their own story, challenges, and ideas,” said Agag. “What I like best is being able to tailor our business to meet their needs.”
She goes on to explain the advantage of having once gone through the big move herself.
“If they tell me that they like a certain restaurant or store in the city with which I am familiar, sometimes no further explanation is needed for me to know what they would like in the suburbs.”
It is often simple details like these that mean the most, for they make newcomers feel welcome and comfortable in their new environment.
Suburban Settlers currently operates in the New York Metropolitan area; however, Agag envisions expanding its personalized services to other parts of the United States. She also hopes to add a new dimension to the firm by setting up “buddy families,” where locals would be matched with newcomers who share similarities – people who have children the same age, or adults that have the same interests – to help with a seamless transition.
Regardless of what the future holds, if there is one piece of advice that Agag could give, it is that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable for a little while.
“Change can be challenging and it takes time to build a new life, get to know your surroundings, and make new friends. You have to be patient and not expect that you will feel at home right away.”
Uprooting your life and starting over requires time, effort, and a strong support system. Suburban Settlers provides that much needed boost in the right direction – straight towards home.
By Megan Montemarano