2008.04.30 They're just not the same in 43533

Written by David Green.

[Warning: This column was found to be very offensive to at least one Lyons reader who misunderstood the lack of seriousness] 


By DAVID GREEN

What is it about those people in the 43533 Zip Code? You know who I’m talking about. It’s the people to the east from Lyons. They’re so different from us.

They’re driving GMC Sierra gas hogs to go whitewater rafting and skiing. They make more money than most of us and they’re ready to spend it.

And then there’s all those retired ones who drive to their VFW meetings in their Ford Crown Vic—if they can break away from watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

Sound familiar? There’s more on those Lyons residents.

There are plenty of the median income types who have a Dodge Ram pickup and attend their kids’ many sporting events. Most of them own a camper, they like auto racing and they just can’t stop buying sporting equipment.

But those people are a dime a dozen. They’re not just in Lyons. Morenci, Fayette and Waldron have plenty, too, and we were talking about what makes Lyons so unique.

Lyons has this group of people that loves shopping via the internet, especially for gardening supplies. So many of them are remarried—probably used that power boat to attract a new mate—and they’re doing the home equity loan/second mortgage thing to make some big purchases.

Lyons also has those people who love traveling and collecting. There are probably more antique collectors over there than anywhere else in the area. Of course they can’t travel when they’re so busy with their home renovation projects.

The rural residents don’t spend a lot of time on-line because they can’t get high-speed internet service. So they watch Country Music TV and Outdoor Life Network via satellite and splurge on pay-per-view movies. They also look at newspaper ads, bless them.

I don’t know if any of this really hits home for Lyons. It’s only what I’m learning from the Claritas company.

“Claritas is all about giving you a clear picture of the customers you have yet to meet.” That’s the way the company describes its services.

Here’s another way: Pay them money and they’ll explain why an Applebee’s restaurant will never come to your area.

It’s all about demographics and the money residing within those demographics.

You can shell out money for a membership, but anybody can type in a Zip Code and get some basic information. You have to pay to learn what percentage of Lyons people drive Dodge Rams, but there’s a general indication of the community that you might find accurate.

When I compared Lyons, Morenci, Fayette and Waldron, I noticed there are several shared characteristics, but what really caught my attention was how unique Lyons is. Out of 15 characteristics for each community, Lyons had five that none of the others shared.

The bottom line for Claritas is that there’s more money in Lyons than in those poorer communities to the west. I could have consulted the federal census data and come up with the same numbers, I suppose, or maybe not. I keep getting different results with the Lyons Zip Code. Things must be changing rapidly over there.

The first time through there were Travel and Antiques people over there. They’ve now been replaced by Khakis and Credit (they travel by motor home and have a loan for the vehicle). There weren’t any Mayberry-ville groups over there the first time, either. They were only in Morenci. You know them: They drive Chevy Suburbans, hunt with a gun, subscribe to Bassmaster magazine, listen to country music and eat at a steak house.

Fayette is the only community with Finance Chargers (raising kids and ordering from priceline.com) and with Bedrock America (Silverado, baby magazines, professional wrestling and mobile homes).

Only Waldron has the Young and Rustic (Dodge Neon, auto racing, King of the Hill) and Morenci was unique with Active Empty Nesters (camping, country music and second mortgages).

I don’t know how accurately Claritas knows us, but when a friend showed me the website I typed in Morenci’s Zip Code, I saw the Shotguns & Pickups category and read the words “Dodge Ram.” I looked across the street and there it was. The radio was probably set to country.

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  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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