The Gaisfords at home in Nixa, Missouri.
Photo by Brandon AlmsThe Gaisfords found their place in Nixa, Missouri. Purchase Photo

In the town of Nixa, Missouri, the estimated population is 24,749, according to the United States Census Bureau. Joel and Ashley Gaisford moved to Nixa in 2015 because of the great things they had heard about the Nixa School District. Their children—Aden, 12, and Etta, 9—grew up in Espy Elementary School. “Never once have we had a teacher we didn’t just love,” Joel says. “Top to bottom, every person and staff there has been amazing.” The same goes for Inman Intermediate, where Aden goes to school now. “We’ve not been disappointed ever in our school system,” Joel says.

In the search for their perfect home, Joel, a real estate agent, was browsing houses when he came across a house in north Nixa whose address aligned with his and Ashley’s anniversary date. Intrigued, Joel dug deeper and soon discovered it was perfect for their family. “I said, ‘Ashley, let’s go, we have to go look at this house right now.’” They toured the house and purchased it that day. They have since done a total remodel. Joel built the shop building he’s always wanted, and Ashley got her circle drive. The house sits on some land, which they use to play baseball and basketball. Aden likes to hang his hammock peacefully between trees in their field. “We just love our house,” Joel says.

Nixa has the perfect mix of small-town feel and proximity to the city. That’s one of the reasons Heather Kane Kohler loves living there so much. She and her husband, Ben, purchased his childhood home on the outskirts of town in 2022. The house sits on 15 acres they use for gardening and trail-walking. Heather’s father-in-law was a master gardener, and he planted everything from blueberry bushes to mulberry and peach trees and more. “We’ve had a lot of fun foraging the land,” Heather says. They’ve found things like mushrooms, wild plums and passionfruit. In the fall, their persimmon tree thrives, and they use the fruit to make persimmon pie, bread and jam. Their 3-year-old son loves to pick the berries for his own creations—they plan to build him a mud kitchen this spring.

The house boasts a beautiful wrap-around porch that sits up high. While cradling their three-month-old son, the family of four can watch the deer and wildlife frolic on their land. “It’s very much our forever home,” Heather says. “We really want to make it a hub for friends and family members to come and escape from the city.”

As Heather settles into life in Nixa, she discovers more reasons to call it home, uncovering hidden gems in the quaint town. She enjoys antiquing at Primitive Chick Antiques, and she likes to take her boys to Nixa Hardware to pet the chicks. “Knowing that my husband grew up here, and he is one of three boys, and now I’m raising my boys here,” she says, “it’s comforting to know this is where we’re going to be for a while.”

The Kohler family

“It’s very much our forever home,” says Heather Kohler about her family choosing to settle in Nixa, Missouri.

Cassidy Station, Nixa, MO

Cassidy Station offers shopping and sightseeing.

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Photos courtesy Rachel Amos Photography, by Leah Stiefermann

Why the Residents Love Nixa, Missouri