GENEVA, N.Y. (WROC) — Just about a year ago, the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce launched a program called “ROC Remote.” It’s funded by ROC 2025, a privately funded cooperative fund.

The idea had been germinating for some time, but leaders with ROC Remote said that the pandemic — as well as the release of recent data showcasing The Greater Rochester area’s livability — provided the sparkplug to launch.

The program’s goal is to recruit talent to live in the Greater Rochester area while they work remotely, and to keep them in the area long-term.

Since its launch, Melanie DellaPietra with the program says about 2,500 applications have come in from 49 states (South Dakota is the only one without an applicant), and nearly 50 couples/families have made the move.

She says that recently, more applications have been spurred on by people seeking to move from other states that have anti-abortion laws.

“Things continue to crank up, people don’t feel safe in certain states, and I have had parents with daughters, who want to be in a place where i know my kid is going to be safe and have autonomy over their decisions, that’s been a huge push for many families and couples,” DellaPietra said.

One of those family units to make the move from the Midwest is Erik and Sarah Pendry. DellaPietra says they are the first ROC Remote family to make the move, making use of the incentive program.

The Pendrys moved to Geneva last year with the incentive from the Greater ROC Remote program to be closer to family and found more in Geneva.

“My sister and brother-in-law happened to move here about two years ago, we came out to visit a couple of times and fell in love with the area,” Erik Pendry said.

Both Pendrys said that the area’s beauty, the lake, and outdoor activities were major reasons for the move.

Erik works remotely doing design engineering for a company based out of Ohio. Sarah meanwhile landed two jobs in the state: One remotely with New York’s cannabis industry, helping to bring jobs to New York, and the other in Geneva.

“I work at FLX Table, a local restaurant, on Linden Street, it’s in the hub of all the action,” she said.

Erik says that in addition to the nature of the area, they are becoming part of the community, spending time with their nieces, and buying their first home together.

“We volunteered with her and the girl scouts to make thanksgiving dinners for people in need, that was a good time,” he said.

“I would like to be here at least 10 years or more, the rest of my life, ideally,” Sarah said.

DellaPietra adds that ROC Remote next year is not only are looking to bring more people to our area, but to have their family and friends follow them here as well.