The City that Always Keeps Business on Its Mind

The Industry Business Council
Written by Samita Sarkar

Industry, California is an industrial suburb of the Los Angeles metropolitan area that has been incorporated since 1957. Just 19 miles from downtown L.A., it is a convenient location for businesses looking to reach one of the nation’s largest markets. The City of Industry currently has an impressive one percent vacancy rate.
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The Industry Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1962. In January of 1970, the Chamber was expanded to include the Industry Business Council, or IBC. Though just about 800 people reside in the City of Industry, it is a substantial employment base for the 1,800,000 people living in the scenic San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. Industry incorporates an area of about 12.5 square miles of the valley.

“The City of Industry is the economic epicenter of the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. With over 3,000 businesses that directly employ about 67,000 people, the City is integral to the regional economy. The City was developed with industry and commerce in mind and that has remained at the core of the City’s priorities,” says Ben Wong, Executive Director of the Industry Business Council.

The Industry Business Council (formerly The Industry Manufacturers Council) is a non-profit professional business organization that works with local businesses to help them succeed, while also providing public relations services for the City of Industry, Inc.

Just after Industry’s 60th anniversary, we at Business in Focus have decided to take an in-depth look at the City of Industry and its many benefits, including and beyond being a place of business. In fact, Wong tells us that to celebrate its 60th year, the Industry Business Council partnered with the City of Industry to host its first ever Taste of the Town food festival, highlighting local restaurants.

“This was coupled with great entertainment, and hundreds of people from the region came out to celebrate. As a part of the celebration, the City held a student art contest with prizes awarded at the festival. This first Taste of the Town was in honor of the City’s 60th anniversary, but we are now planning on making it an annual event.”

An obvious bonus of transferring or expanding your business in the lively and bustling City of Industry is the location. While a Southern California base also means enjoying a pleasant year-round climate and high quality of life, it also offers business-friendly policies and is well situated for shipping and receiving products.

“Businesses should think about the City of Industry because the City of Industry is always thinking about business. It’s plain and simple. Our priority is to be business-friendly,” emphasizes Wong. “The City has no business license fees, no wholesale or retail fees, no manufacturing fees and no professional tax or utility taxes. The City has no restrictions on hours of operation. Industry is also located in a Foreign Trade Zone and has among the lowest rates in Los Angeles County for truck, employee health and accident insurance.”

Industry’s businesses can tap into the L.A. market and widely diversified workforce. Indeed, Los Angeles County has a population of over 10 million people. Additionally, businesses in Industry are serviced by both the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific transcontinental railroads. According to the City of Industry’s website, a 41-mile rail bypass opens the City of Industry directly into both of the West Coast’s largest seaports: Los Angeles Harbor and the Port of Long Beach. Moreover, Industry is bordered by four freeways and is served by over 50 major trucking lines, so overnight deliveries can easily be made to all major California cities, as well as Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Industry has access to three major airports as well as several local private airports. Airports include Los Angeles International (LAX), John Wayne Airport, and Ontario International Airport.

“Industry is close to excellent schools, parks, and greenbelts and boasts a low crime rate. We have a local conference center, resort facilities, hotels, golf courses and more than 50 restaurants. So in addition to your business, this is an area where you and your whole family can thrive,” adds Wong.

For busy workers who also enjoy unwinding with some retail therapy, there are four major areas of commercial activity located within the City of Industry. One of the largest shopping centers in the State of California, the Puente Hills Mall, is located in Industry and has over 200 outlets, a gym, a theatre, and a bowling alley.

The City of Industry’s website also informs us that land in the City of Industry, once agricultural many decades ago, is still transitioning into an industry-dedicated urban complex. 85 percent of the land is developed, while 15 percent awaits full-potential development. Therefore, there is still land available for developers. The 85 percent of developed land is wholly zoned for business, at 92 percent industrial and 8 percent commercial.

The land represents nearly 10 percent of the total industrial acreage in Los Angeles County—a significant and diverse source of business and commerce for the community. The Industry Business Council acts as a resource and advocate for all businesses in the City, holding regular workshops on topics like HR, security management, and management operations to help educate businesses to help them run more efficiently and effectively.

Furthermore, Wong states that the Industry Business Council is an important resource not only for these business owners, but also for job seekers looking to work in the heart of L.A.’s business center.

“There are thousands of businesses that call the City of Industry home, ranging from industries such as manufacturing to industrial to distribution centers to retail to technology. Businesses in the City are always seeking qualified employees at every experience level. What we like to say here in the City is that the business-friendly environment helps businesses flourish which in turn helps individuals flourish through job creation. There are always a lot of opportunities here and many times employers will send their job posting to the City or the IBC. We encourage people to check our website or call to inquire about companies that may be looking to hire.”

The IBC, and the City in general, are always striving for further development and improvement. As stated on the City website, one of the largest industrial park developments ever undertaken in the San Gabriel Valley has recently been completed. The City’s redevelopment agency selected Koll Real Estate Group to develop the 1.3-million-square-foot industrial park on the east end of Industry, near the Pomona Freeway and Grand Avenue. The $55 million-dollar project is expected to generate more than 1,200 jobs and $25 million in annual revenues.

In addition to industry and jobs, the City is very focused on investment for regional infrastructure. The City of Industry has also committed $35 million dollars toward the 57/60 Confluence Project, creating another 5,200 jobs. The project will repair one of the nation’s worst bottlenecks: the two-mile long stretch where the two state freeways coincide, sparing future freight delays and truck accidents and improving the state of L.A.’s notoriously congested traffic. You can read more about the project at www.freetheway.org.

The IBC recognizes that regional investments positively impact the business community, whether it be through road improvements or investments into public safety. Wong remarks that Industry is currently working on a traffic hot spot analysis to direct development of future projects. “The City is also looking at the development of intelligent traffic systems for real-time response to traffic congestion, which is important for our businesses that deal with goods movement,” he mentions.

Finally, the IBC has been working closely with the City on its One-Stop Development Shop at City Hall, which launched at the end of 2017 and is helping to streamline business processes and remove some of the red tape. “Instead of going to the County for building and safety permits, businesses can come to City Hall to work with the Los Angeles County building and safety personnel, engineering technicians, plan checkers and code enforcement, who now all operate onsite,” Wong explains.

Industry has also made physical changes to the City Hall building to improve the flow of the planning process. Businesses now work with the same counter, planning, engineering and development technicians assigned to their projects, so they can count on consistency and a familiar face at every step of the process.

“They also are digitizing many permits to quickly respond to requests for information and to assist developers. The One-Stop Shop is bringing response times on plan submittals down from months to weeks, making it easier for businesses to open up and expand in the City,” says Wong.

With all of these new measures, there has never been a better time to be a part of the City of Industry. Businesses considering establishing themselves in the Los Angeles marketplace should contact the Industry Business Council at www.industrychamber.org.

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