Michael Garcia is an ideal ambassador for the City of Pico Rivera. His enthusiasm, passion, and past history as a Pico Rivera resident are inspiring and informing – and have been a key to the continued economic growth of the city.
Michael, the Economic Development Manager for the City of Pico Rivera, began working with the City in 2016. His career in economic development started as an intern with the City of Santa Ana in 1993, while he was working on his Master degree. Over the years, he’s learned a great deal about incentive programs, tax credits, and other tools needed to help businesses succeed. His understanding of business needs stem from growing up working with his entrepreneurial family, who own a non-destructive testing business working with the aerospace industry. Being involved in the business from a young age, Michael recalls being seven years old and at the business answering phones. His twin brother now runs the family business, but Michael gained an understanding of what makes a business successful – an understanding he now uses to help Pico Rivera businesses thrive.
The City of Pico Rivera is using the latest in technology and enterprise software programs to advance its economic development programs. They use CoStar to track real estate and broker activity; Survey Monkey for information gathering on the types of retail residents are seeking; they are exploring the use of MailChimp for targeted communications with developers; and they are currently developing a mobile business directory on a popular app launched last year, the “My PR” app. Michael and the Economic Development team have leveraged technology to accelerate the city’s economic development efforts. Soon to open businesses include Chick-Fil-A, Waba Grill, and Bath and Body Works.
But the project Michael is particularly proud of is the new site for Don Chente Bar & Grill, locating in the Village Walk Center. Pico Rivera obtained Economic Development Agency funds for use as infrastructure funding when Nothrop Grumman left the city in the 1990’s. These funds were paid back by developers and the City were able to use these funds as a business attraction incentive for Don Chente – a local family-owned restaurant chain. In turn this investment is spurring other economic growth and businesses locating to Village Walk (including Raising Cane’s and Domino’s) next to the existing Cinepolis Theater.
Through the repayment terms with Don Chente and the sales tax that will be generated by this project, the City is exploring the concept of establishing a sales tax increment method to rebuild these Economic Development Stability funds.
While technology and creative financing were key to Don Chente locating in Pico Rivera, Michael’s energy, personable nature, commitment to the City’s success, and an understanding of what businesses need to succeed were certainly factors in making Pico Rivera a city known for its business friendliness.