Celebrating a decade of service at Linden Ponds
Moving expert reflects on her 900-plus happy move-insBy Setarreh Massihzadegan
When Lynne Ford first signed on to join the Linden Ponds sales team ten years ago, the 108-acre property was little more than a group of sales trailers and a pile of rubble at the site of a former quarry in Hingham, Mass. A human resources and real estate professional who had grown up in Hingham, Ford recognized the promise of the community and her potential as its move-in coordinator.
“It was still the excitement of what would we look like, what would we become, what kind of community would we be,” Ford says.
Those interested in the prospect of life at Linden Ponds would visit Ford and her colleagues in on-site trailers, where they would view virtual tours of other Erickson Living communities and apartment floor plans. At times, they would be interrupted by sirens, a warning that a construction blast would be going off, shaking the trailers.
Ford officially began work at Linden Ponds on September 15, 2003. On October 3, the community broke ground. One year later, two main buildings were complete.
Leap of faith
The first prospective residents had the option of visiting Linden Ponds’ sister community, Brooksby, in Peabody, to get a sense of what the community might be when it was also up and running. Even so, the “pioneers” of Linden Ponds made the decision to move without knowing exactly what was in store.
“It was truly conceptual sales at the beginning. You really had to have the passion for what we knew we were going to be,” Ford says.
Today, Ford often runs into Linden Ponds pioneers while she’s giving tours to prospective residents. “They’re very honored and proud to share that they reserved their apartment home without even seeing what it looked like. They took a leap of faith, so to speak,” Ford says. “They were embracing the concept, and they were embracing what we were sharing about how this community would develop.”
Though Linden Ponds is now an active community of nearly 1,300 residents and amenities including an on-site medical center, convenience store, bank, fitness and aquatics center, plus numerous clubs and activities, Ford appreciates that the decision to move is still something of a leap of faith.
“It’s so easy for us [the sales team] to see it because we’ve moved so many people, and we see the happiness [ahead], but still, every day is a new day when we meet folks,” Ford says. “Even ten years later, I know that it will be as rewarding for them as it is for me.”
Evolving role and resources
In her first year at Linden Ponds, Ford was involved in assessing the community’s construction. She also worked with incoming residents to help them choose their apartment’s amenities and décor, a job now delegated to Custom Interiors, Linden Ponds’ on-site design center.
Though Ford’s title has evolved to personal moving consultant, the core elements of her role remain unchanged. Those considering a move to Linden Ponds can look to Ford for hands-on help with downsizing, preparing their house to list with a real estate professional, reserving an apartment, and laying out the floor plan for their new home.
Those who join Linden Ponds’ priority list, to reserve the apartment home of their choice, also have access to Ford’s expertise in a home visit. One of Ford’s first and most memorable home visits was with a woman and her daughter. With yarn, Ford mapped out the exact space within the woman’s home that would constitute her apartment. She then brought the furniture in as it would be arranged in the new space.
“For her, that was very important,” Ford says. “It was something that made such an impact on her that she was so excited to invite me in to see how everything fit in the new space.”
Today, Ford offers prospective residents a packet of information and resources, including recommended services for downsizing and moving. “It’s really evolved into this smooth package,” she says.
Ford says her role today enables her to spend more time with people in their homes before they make the move. “That connection, it helps to ease the angst and it welcomes me to their world,” she says. “It becomes more personalized, and you become almost part of their family.”
Ford estimates she has helped move about 900 people to Linden Ponds in the past decade.
“There’s a good spiritual aspect where people are coming together at Linden Ponds,” Ford says. “They are there as neighbors; they are there to help each other out when people need help. Just to be a part of that, for me, has been a pleasure and an honor.”