“Happy to have returned home to CLE just a couple weeks ago. Dana and I have two little girls, Olivia who is 2.5 years old and sweet Everly who is 4 months old. We lived in the Bay Area for the last 8 years but having children (as you know) changed everything. While the fast-paced, hustle mentality was fun living in Northern California, it wasn’t practical…” says Cool Person Zack Edelsberg
How do you know Courtney?
Courtney and I go way back to the ‘glory days’ at Shaker Heights High School. Courtney was extremely active in the student body and had more friends than pretty much any other student at the high school. Courtney and I floated through similar friend-groups, bonded over music and entertainment, and always stopped to share a laugh in the hallways in between class. If you know her, you know her personality is simply contagious so anyone who knew her, wanted to be around her.
Tell me a little about yourself:
I was born in Dublin Ohio and moved to Shaker Heights when I was in second grade and progressed through the Shaker public school system until graduating in 2004. I attended Ohio University to pursue my BS in Recreation Management. I started my professional career as a Personal Trainer at WellWorks, a community center in Athens Ohio. I fell in love with the relationship building piece of the job and helping others truly maximize their potential through the power of fitness. It wasn’t until after my girlfriend — now wife of almost 5 years — graduated that we decided to make the move to the west coast. This was largely predicated on the fact that my parents transplanted during my college stint and we viewed this as a rare opportunity to get a taste of Cali-living with a support system. It was one of the best decisions I could have made at the time because it catapulted my career. I went from working as a Personal Training, to a Regional Manager at Equinox, operating multiple locations and managing a $20 million-plus annual budget. With over a decade of specific fitness-industry experience, I’ve realized this just might be my calling…
Coming from “The Bay” what are some differences you appreciate the most?
As we have just landed back in CLE a few weeks ago, one of the first things my 2.5 year old daughter noticed was just how green it was. A stark difference from Bay Area living. The water drought was so intense on the west coast it felt more like desert terrain at times. More importantly, the ‘convenience’ and ‘ease of access’ to get around is amazing. You can get to Little Italy, Coventry, University Circle, Downtown CLE, Tremont/Ohio City, and the Metroparks, all in under 30 minutes. In the Bay Area, my commute to work was close to an hour. Not to mention, Cleveland has such a rich culture in all the above-mentioned it’s pretty unique. Most people don’t associate Cleveland with culture, but I can really feel it having left the city and now returning. Finally, the friendliness factor is incomparable. I have talked to so many people — strangers really — in the last few weeks it’s insane. At the grocery store, museum, parks, library, everyone just wants to say hi. In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons we elected to move back. We wanted strong community… and Cleveland really delivers. Everyone acknowledges you, makes you feel welcomed and safe. It’s incredible.
Finally, with two young kids, public schooling is hugely important. In the Bay Area, the public school systems are hit or miss. The good ones often have lottery systems, so you might not actually get your school of choice. The private sector is practically like sending your kids to college at a cool $30k/year. Thus, coming back to the suburbs of CLE have given me piece of mind knowing my two girls will have a strong public education system in place.
What are some of your favorite places to go? or is it too early to tell?
Were super excited to spend some summer days at Edgewater Park… a place we didn’t venture to when we were teenagers. Also getting downtown to East 4th to experience some of the nightlife and 5-star culinary scene is exciting as well.
What factors do you take into consideration when planning family outings or date night?
With two young daughters, night life for me and my wife doesn’t come often. However, as I mentioned before, the mere fact that everything is so close and convenient, I feel as though our date-night game will improve. We’re super stoked for the Van Aken development that is underway and hope to find our Oasis there. In the meantime, we hope to routinely hit up “FIRE” at Shaker Square, try out Balaton, and have a romantic evening at the classic Mia Bella in Little Italy.
What are you most excited about experiencing now that you’re back in Cleveland?
The Cavs. It’s somewhat crazy to think that Clevelanders had an expectation this year for the Cavs to get back to the Finals for a third straight year, but we all did. And guess what, they’ve done it. The Cavs have brought such tremendous character and liveliness to the city, it’s fantastic. I’ve never walked around a city before and seen so many people rocking Cavs gear, or Tribe gear. If you were a stranger you would known instantly that Clevelanders take pride in living in CLE. The energy is so palpable!
Anything you want Clevelanders to know?
Don’t take for granted what Cleveland has to offer. Cleveland is a unique blend of lifestyle: pulling from suburban/urban/city lifestyles and meshing them into one unique experience. The food scene is booming, our professional sports teams (besides the Browns, let’s not go there) are rockin, and the cost to live fruitfully is incredibly reasonable.