My hosting shortlist – which to choose?

Big on Hosting. Unlimited Space & Unlimited Bandwidth

Please help this newbie with a decision to make.

I’m moving an existing non-Wordpress site to a WordPress platform.
I’ll use Genesis (parent) + Dynamik (child) themes.
I need a sandbox or something like it to make the required WP changes and test them before I go live
I’ll have a list I need to mail out to
There will be e-products for sale so I’ll need some e-commerce
My current visitors are about 45% USA, 35% Australia, 20% rest of world
Estimated traffic: up to 1000/day uniques but could be more (would be nice)

I plan to set up a second site in 12 months time
After 2 years I will sell the original site and keep just the second

Things I’m thinking about:
Location of servers – probably USA is best all-round
Speed – LiteSpeed seems like the way to go – my site will be focused on mobile traffic
Ease of selling Site 1 without disruption to Site 2 – I have to be able to make a clean break with something a buyer can just take over. WP Multi-user? Separate cPanels look to be getting pricey
Emails per hour – for when I mail out to my list
A safe place to test – this is my first WP site and I’ll be optimising for mobile
And especially – reliability and service

Here’s my shortlist:

Stablehost
MDD
Veerotech
Hawkhost
Crocweb (but Canadian servers???)
Geekstorage

I’m leaning towards the smaller providers for the more personalised service – perhaps I’m wrong

I would truly love feedback – experiences, opinions and whatever knowledge is out there. I’ve been researching this for days and would like to finally make a decision.

Many thanks

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