Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sales Tax Revenues Up in Monrovia

Sales tax revenues are on the rise in Monrovia, according to the Mid-Year Budget Review presented to the Monrovia City Council last week. The final sales tax numbers for 2010-11 were 8.5 percent greater than compared to the previous year. The increase can be attributed to a bump in auto sales and from revenue generated by new retail stores such as Living Spaces and Paul's TV, both of which opened in late 2009.

According to the Report, which takes a look at the status of current expenditures and revenues coming in and out of the City:

Sales Tax – The final sales tax numbers for 2010-11 came in at $7,833,616, which was an 8.5% increase over the prior year. This increase included one-time increases due to having a full twelve months of revenue from retail stores Living Spaces and Paul’s TV, which were not included in 2009-10 sales tax numbers. But even then, sales tax activity is showing strong signs of recovery. Revenue from auto sales and leasing are strong again, after two years of huge decreases. Building and construction activity is still flat, as the housing market muddles through more foreclosures and high unemployment. For 2011-12, the current budget is $8,252,502. This anticipated a 5% growth over the prior year. Projecting an 8% growth now will generate an additional $151,859 of revenue.

The trend follows regional and national reports that the economy is in recovery.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the number of U.S. workers seeking unemployment benefits this month is well below the figure compared to a year ago.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this month that retail and food services sales were up 6.7 percent in November compared to a year ago, with the largest increase coming from auto sales.

And the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) stated in its Mid-Year Economic Forecast that retail sales would continue to grow -- though the recovery for housing, lease rates, and local government finance is another story, according to the LAEDC.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Job Seekers Event on Jan. 7

Is finding a job on your New Year's Resolution List? If so, the Friends of the Monrovia Public Library is sponsoring an all-day "Job Seekers" event from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7. Learn tips on job searching, dressing for success, and resume building.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Year's Eve Party in Old Town

Spend New Year's Eve in Old Town. Here are the details:

Business Tip: Business Loans Available to Pay for Windstorm Damage

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering Disaster Assistance Loans of up to $2 million for businesses that lost revenue, suffered damaged buildings, or where equipment was destroyed as a result of  the recent windstorm.

According to a press release issued by the S.B.A.:

Businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for private, nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Indian Restaurant Now Open...and Is Hiring

Myrtle Avenue has another culinary adventure to add to its already worldly mix. Last week, Old Town Monrovia welcomed Noor's Indian Bistro at 106 S. Myrtle Avenue. And according to the sign hanging from their window, the restaurant is hiring, too. The restaurant fills a vacancy left by former Japanese fast-food establishment, Teri & Yaki.

This sit down restaurant will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Staff photo
Tables are set and lunch will be ready at Noor's Indian
Bistro, at 106 S. Myrtle Avenue.

Staff photo
Noor's Indian Bistro is in the same shopping center as Urbane
Beauty, Quizno's Sub, and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Nail Salon Opens on Huntington Drive

In Old Town Monrovia, there are plenty of nail salons to choose from. That's why the owners of Peridot Nails and Salon decided to open their business at the Huntington Crossing Center, nearly two miles away from Myrtle Avenue.

Peridot Nails and Spa, which is a full service nail salon complete with new massage and pedicure chairs, waxing stations and facial packages, has been open now for nearly one month. It is located at 935A West Huntington Drive, and neighbors businesses such as Oto Oto, Baja Fresh, Verizon Wireless, and Daphnes California Greek restaurant.

This is just a sample of services offered by the salon. Hours are Monday
through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Local Home Depot Donates Christmas Tree

Photo: City Staff
Home Depot's sign was blown away during
the Foothill Windstorm last week
Home Depot's sign may be gone, but its giving spirit sure isn't. 

On Tuesday night at the City Council meeting, it was announced that our local Home Depot would be donating a 17-foot Cedrus Deodara -- a.k.a . California Christmas Tree -- to the City of Monrovia to be used as the City's future Christmas Tree.

This generous donation follows the sad news last week that the City's 60-year-old Christmas Tree in Library Park fell victim to the windstorm.

No word yet on when or where the tree will be planted.

BEFORE: The former Old Town Christmas Tree
in all its glory in this 2005 photo.

Photo: City Staff
AFTER: This was taken on Dec. 2, a day after the windstorm
knocked down the 60-year-old tree in Library Park.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Chase Bank Opens on Huntington

A shiny new Chase Bank is now fully functional at 690 W. Huntington Drive, located where Spires Restaurant was formerly located. This is Monrovia's third Chase Bank. For more information on this branch, click here.

Chase Bank recently opened at 690 W. Huntington Drive, in the western 
corner of the Huntington Oaks Shopping Center.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Power to Old Town Monrovia 100 Percent Back Following Windstorm

Well, it only took six days, but power has been restored to 100 percent of the businesses in Old Town Monrovia following the windstorm that swept away much of the power in the San Gabriel Valley last Wednesday.

Power came back on early this morning for the businesses on the 100 through 400 blocks on the east side of Myrtle Avenue, including Krikorian TheaterCoffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and side street businesses such as Pho Lemon.

As far as the pther Old Town businesses, power was restored to the east side of the 500 block of Myrtle Avenue almost immediately on early Thursday, while other businesses saw power restored by the weekend.

Be sure to dine and shop in Old Town Monrovia to help these businesses recover from their loss.
This is all that remained of the City's Christmas Tree           
last Friday.

     Holiday decorations in Old Town were among the casaulties 
     in the windstorm that occurred last Wedensday and Thursday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

50 Monrovia Businesses to Participate in Small Business Saturday

More than 50 Monrovia businesses - including Merengue, Old Town Bistro and California Wine and Cheese - will be participating in Small Business Saturday. Click here to find out where you can save, and click here to register your American Express Card in order to be eligible for the $25 statement credit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shop 'Till You Old Town

The holidays are officially here. So where will you be shopping? In Old Town Monrovia, a number of events have been lined up in an effort to keep holiday spirit high and sales tax dollars local.

These events will kick-off on the busiest shopping day of the year – the day after Thanksgiving – with Santa and his elves arriving in Old Town at 9 a.m. on Friday. The festivities will continue throughout Friday and Saturday with the ABC7 Eyewitness News “Spark of Love” Toy Drive outside of Krikorian Theater, 410 S. Myrtle Avenue.

Also on Saturday, there will be the Small Business Saturday campaign in Old Town Monrovia, as well as at participating businesses throughout the City. This is part of a national campaign headed by American Express that promotes shoppers to buy local by reimbursing card holders $25 when they buy equal or more items at participating stores.

Then, on Dec. 1, there will be the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by the “Santa, Snowmen and Song” parade at 7 p.m., featuring Grand Marshall Sid Garcia of ABC7 Eyewitness News. There will be lights, music and holiday events throughout the rest of December.

All of these events are designed to not only promote the holiday spirit and sense of community, but to also attract people in the downtown shopping district. Of course, there are shopping opportunities throughout Monrovia, including along Huntington Drive and on Foothill. Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monrovia Company Lands 'Time' Cover Story

Monrovia based AeroVironment, the company that created the Hummingbird Drone, is featured on the cover of Time as one of the year's top 50 inventions. Read more.

The Hummingbird Drone is featured on this week's edition of Time Magazine.                   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Firm! Media is Newest Company in Old Town

"Search engine technology is mindbogglingly sophisticated - but still, sometime the algorithms need a little bit of hand holding." And that's where Firm! Media comes in. 

The company - which specializes in website design, social media marketing, and search engine optimization - celebrated its grand opening last week with an open house and ribbon cutting. It is led by Christopher Suchanek, who according to his bio has a background in marketing in the music and entertainment industry before progressing into Internet marketing.

Firm! Media is located at 139 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 2. Not surprisingly for a company that specializes in social media, you can also find them online at, on twitter @firmmediaSEO, and on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time to Celebrate: New Year's Eve Party Planned for Old Town

Who needs Times Square when you've got Myrtle Avenue?

A band, a ball drop and a beer and wine garden will all be included in the First Annual New Year's Eve Party on Myrtle Avenue.

Starting from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Myrtle Avenue from Lemon to Olive will be closed off to traffic and open to party goers.

The event is being sponsored by the Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board, and the beer and wine garden on the 500 block of Myrtle Avenue will be sponsored by the Cinco de Mayo Association. Drink tickets will be $5, and only those 21 and over will be allowed into the garden.

Of course, while the Myrtle Avenue festivities are occurring, Old Town businesses will also be hosting their own New Year's Eve celebrations.

More details will be released as the event draws nearer.

If you want to co-sponsor the event, or have questions, call Diane Delmatoff at (626) 303-6600, or be on the lookout for more information at Old Town Monrovia's website over the next few weeks.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Business Profile: Meet 'Q-Gifts'

Quick and quality. That's what the "Q's" stand for in Q-Gifts, a screen printing business that makes custom t-shirts and promotional products. Coming up on its 14th year of business, Q-Gifts has operated at its current location at 1013 S. Mountain Avenue in Monrovia since February.

Q-Gifts owner Willie Leung, an Arcadia resident, said he selected Monrovia as the place do business because he is a regular at the Santa Anita Family YMCA in Monrovia, just down the road from Q-Gift's current location.

The company began as a t-shirt graphic design company and then involved into t-shirt printing. Today, their clients range from national chain retailers to local churches and schools.

To learn more about the business, visit their website at

To profile your business, contact Jennifer McLain at (626)303-6601, or send an email to

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cafe LuMar to Open on Colorado in Old Town

Cafe LuMar will be the newest restaurant on East Colorado Avenue.

Located next to La Adelita Mexican Food, across from Big Shrimps Fish Grill and the Peach Cafe, and down the road from Merengue Cafe, this restaurant will serve homemade baked goods, crepes, sandwiches, and salads. A part of the store will also include the selling of Croatian imported goods. And according to the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce's directory in an entry by the owner of Cafe LuMar:

My sister will be the Chef and my children, Lucia and Mario (Lu..Mar..) are teenagers now and old enough to come in and help. Café LuMar will be known for its friendly atmosphere, consistently great food, made in-house from scratch and from the freshest ingredients. 
It looks like the restaurant owners are still working on the store. When it does open in December, hours will be from Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on Sundays. It is located at 136 E. Colorado.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monrovia Video: "It's a Place for Business..."

This KGEM produced-video played at the 16th Annual Eddy Awards, where Monrovia won the award for "Most Business Friendly City" for cities with less than 60,000 residents.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Filming Roundup: Car Commercials and "Crush"

October was a busy month for filming in Old Town. It began with two car commercials and ended with a week-long filming of the independent movie "Crush," which utilized multiple locations throughout Old Town including a vacant building, Mundial Restaurant, and exterior scenes on the 400 to 500 blocks of S. Myrtle Avenue. 

Here are the details:

  • Oct. 3 and 4: A commercial for a Lincoln prototype was shot. One day was an action-driving scene, and the other day included still photography of the same vehicle in the 300 and 400 block of S. Myrtle Avenue. These were both done in the middle of the night/early morning hours.
  • Oct. 11: A Honda commercial was shot in Old Town on the 400 block of Myrtle Avenue. This was also shot in the middle of the night.
    • Side note: As you can see, Old Town is used for its picturesque location, and is ideal for driving scenes similar to the Harley Davidson commercial (see below) which is currently running on network television. 
  • Oct. 24 to Oct. 29: Crews filmed parts of "Crush," a teenage thriller about love gone wrong, during these dates, but a week prior crews conducted preparation for their filming activity. Locations included Old Town Monrovia, including using a business front at 405 - 407 S. Myrtle as a record/comic store, Canyon Park, and residential areas near Recreation Park. Filming continues this month for the film in Monrovia.

This vacant storefront at 405 - 407 S. Myrtle Avenue in Old
Town was transformed in late October to a record/comedy
store for the movie "Crush."
To learn more about filming in Monrovia, visit the Office of Filming.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Business Spotlight: Something Healthy Goes Greener and Greener

City Beat host Dan Bell interviews the owner of Something Healthy, who talks about the latest ways his business has become more and more environmentally friendly.

Episode 11 Business Spotlight Something Healthy from KGEM-TV on Vimeo.

Award Winning Photos

Here are some of the action shots taken during the "Most Business Friendly City" awards ceremony on Nov. 3, where it was announced that Monrovia had won the award for cities with populations under 60,000, and West Covina was the winner for cities with populations over 60,000:

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz gives her speech following the announcement that
Monrovia was the 2011 "Most Business Friendly City."

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and Mayor Pro Tem
Joe Garcia pose with the award on Thursday.

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Garcia accept the award from
LAEDC President Bill Allen and the ceremony's emcee.

West Covina City Manager Andy Pasmant (left) and council members Shelley 
Sanderson, Steve Herfert, Karen Armbrust and Mike Touhey  join Monrovia
City Manager Scott Ochoa, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and Mayor Pro Tem Joe
Garcia following the announcement that West Covina and Monrovia
were selected as the winners for the "Most Business Friendly City" award. 

Monrovia Profiled on "Strong Cities, Strong State" Website

Monrovia is the newest city to be profiled on the "Strong Cities, Strong State" website, an online site created by the League of California Cities. The site features cities up and down the state, and is intended to highlight local government success stories.

To view the website, visit

Highlights of city of Monrovia’s profile include
·         Old Town Monrovia;
·         Monrovia Public Library;
·         Monrovia Area Partnership;
·         Business Friendly Atmosphere; and
·         Redevelopment on Huntington Drive.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

UPDATED: Monrovia Wins Most Business Friendly City Award

Monrovia has long had a reputation as being business friendly, and now it has an award to prove it. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation awarded Monrovia tonight with the "Most Business Friendly City Award" for cities with populations under 60,000 residents.

Monrovia beat out four other finalists -- Commerce, Duarte, Gardena, and La Mirada -- for the coveted award.

Meanwhile, the City of West Covina won the award for cities over 60,000 residents.

UPDATED: Here's the release from the LAEDC. And here's the release on the City of Monrovia's site.

And the Winner Is...

Back in September, Monrovia was named a finalist for the "Most Business Friendly City Award," distributed by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

Well, tonight we find out whether we can officially call ourselves the most business friendly city in Los Angeles County.

Monrovia is competing against four other cities in the category of cities with populations of 60,000 or less - Commerce, Duarte, Gardena and La Mirada. The award will be presented at the 16th Annual Eddy Awards.

The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m., so check back later to see how Monrovia fared.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Business Showcase Video Highlights Participants

The Monrovia Chamber of Commerce commissioned this video by local shop owner Rick Keshishi at the Business Showcase event Sept. 30. Check it out to learn more about the event, its participants, and some of Monrovia's local businesses...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Flame Broiler Opens in Monrovia

The Flame Broiler, the Fullerton-founded restaurant known for its grilled chicken and steak, is officially open in Monrovia. The restaurant opened nearly two weeks ago at 446 W. Huntington Drive, and will celebrate this with an official "Grand Opening" celebration on Wednesday.

This brings the tally up to 92 restaurants in California.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Local Businesses Support Halloween Giveaways Tonight

The Monrovia Department of Community Services will be hosting the Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee tonight from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Library Park.

The event, which will include a costume contest and candy giveaways, is sponsored by several Monrovia businesses, including Athens Services, Bank of America, London Gastropub, Sierra Autocars and Dr. Kevin Mercado of Launch Sports Rehabilitation.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Business Tip: Get into the Zone

So, you're looking to open your business in Monrovia? Wonderful. Step 2 is to determine where to open your business.

TIP: As you look for potential sites, familiarize yourself with the City's zoning map. Zones are broken down into categories such as neighborhood commercial, retail and manufacturing. These zones provide a framework for what is an acceptable use for a designated area. Be sure to contact the Building and Planning Department before you sign a lease to be sure that the building is compatible with your future plans. Plus, that will give  you a chance to learn about other requirements, such as parking and fire cods.

To learn more, click here or contact the Building and Planning Department at (626) 932-5565.

This is an example of the City's Zoning

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Business Newsmakers

Several Monrovia-based businesses have received positive media attention over the past week:
  • The Los Angeles Times featured Monrovia-based Sierra Auto President Peter Hoffman in this article for his decision to train his sales team at Disneyland so that they can pick up a few pointers on customer service. This is part of a GM-led campaign to increase Chevrolet sales in Southern California.
  • STAAR Surgical, a Monrovia-based developer, manufacturer and marketer of minimally invasive implantable contacts and other eye products, reported a 16 percent jump in revenue in the third quarter. Read more.
  • Prolacta Bioscience, a Monrovia-based company and the first and only company to offer human milk fortifier made from 100 percent human breast milk for critically ill, premature infants, has donated $100,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure since October 2010.
  • Miyachi Unitek, the Monrovia-based manufacturer of welding equipment and laser processing systems, introduced its powerful material weldability mobile application for smart phones, according to this article. This app can detect material weldability using either laser welding technology or resistance.
From the Los Angeles Times

According to a Los Angeles Times article, Sierra Chevrolet in
Monrovia is among the brand's dealerships undergoing          
remodeling in an effort to boost sales in Southern California.    

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's a Sign...from PetSmart

Progress continues to be made at the future PetSmart site on W. Huntington Drive. Their sign popped up late last week, replacing the former Circuit City sign that stood over the entrance for the past few years.

Back in August, the City approved the necessary tenant improvements for the store, according to this post.

The doors remained boarded up as construction continues on
Tuesday, Oct. 20 in preparation for the opening of PetSmart
at 745 W. Huntington Dr.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Michelle's Upscale Resale Boutique Opens on Olive Avenue

Paragon dwellers and downtown aficionados have another stop to add to their Old Town Monrovia shopping destinations. Michelle's Upscale Resale Boutique, located at 113 E. Olive Ave., is operating at what used to be Suburban Martini. They pulled their business license back in the Spring.

According to their Facebook page, Michelle's specializes in "one of a kind, new and gently worn designer items handpicked for style and quality."

Michelle's is located at 113 E. Olive Ave.,
across from the Paragon Luxury Apartments. 

The store specializes in reused and gently worn
designer garments and accessories.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monrovia Modern Dentistry Comes to Huntington Plaza

It looks like Monrovia Modern Dentistry will be the newest tenant to join the businesses already at Huntington Plaza. The scheduled opening date is Nov. 15, according to their answering machine. 

The dentist office joins Great Clips, Jersey Mike's Subs, and Sprouts. Other upcoming businesses at the center are the Flame Broiler and Chef Chou, both of which have had "Coming Soon" signs for several weeks. 

Now, there are just two vacant spaces left to fill before Huntington Plaza is 100 percent leased. For more information on leasing one of these sites, contact Colliers International at (213) 532-3273, or Studley Real Estate at (213) 553-3800.

Monrovia Modern Dentistry is scheduled to open Nov. 15 at
460 W. Huntington Drive in the Huntington Plaza.

Chef Chou and Flame Broiler are coming in, too, according to
their banners.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monrovia Public Library Provides 'Steps to Employment'

The Monrovia Public Library is sponsoring this free event from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18 aimed at helping job hunters find jobs, file online unemployment applications, and create eletronic resumes.

The event is part of a series of workshops aimed at providing Monrovians and nearby residents with career support. To learn more about the other adult services the library provides, click here.

UPS Store Opens at Paragon in Old Town

The Paragon Luxury Apartments has a new retail tenant. The UPS Store opened its doors at 730 S. Myrtle Avenue on Sept. 26.

According to their website, the store will just be here temporarily until their new location next door at 710 S. Myrtle is ready.

Its neighbor to the south is A Snail's Pace, which opened back in July. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

(Small) Business Tip of the Week: Small Business Saturday

While the holidays are still more than two months away, American Express has already begun promoting its Small Business Saturday campaign, intended to promote holiday shopping at local businesses on Nov. 26.

In short, American Express card holders will receive a $25 statement credit for purchasing at least $25 worth of merchandise at participating businesses as part of a national initiative to boost sales.

Although this is just the second year of the campaign, one article reports that there was a 29 percent rise in sales volumes for American Express' small business merchants versus the same day in 2009.

Facebook has also teamed up with American Express, and is offering free advertising of up to $100 to the first 10,000 businesses that sign up.

Merchants interested in participating can find mind information here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Filming Roundup: September Brings Farrelly Brothers, Among Others

Monrovia's Office of Film handled four permits in the month of September, two of which were shot in Old Town, one in a residential neighborhood, and one at Nano Cafe:

Sept. 15 - Miller Lite shot a commercial directed by the Farrelly Brothers, the same team responsible for such comedies as "Something About Mary," "Hall Pass," "Dumb and Dumber," and the 2007 remake "Heartbreak Kid." They filmed along Myrtle Avenue at E. Lime Avenue.

Sept. 19 - "Long Time Gone," a movie starring Eva Longoria, Aly Michalka, and Virgina Madsen, was filmed in a residential neighborhood on E. Colorado Avenue.

Sept. 24 - Short film "Super Fine" was shot at Nano Cafe, 441 W. Duarte Avenue at S. Mayflower Avenue.

Sept. 28 - A Public Service Announcement about texting while driving was filmed on Sept. 28 along S. Myrtle Avenue between Lime and Lemon avenues.

To learn more about how to pull a permit to film in Monrovia, visit the website at  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

California Redevelopment Association Highlights Old Town Monrovia that T.Phillips? Yes, it is. The California Redevelopment Association magazine featured Old Town Monrovia in its September issue as an example of the powerful role Redevelopment can have in a community. Specifically, it highlighted the Old Town Vision Plans, which have proven to be powerful guiding forces for downtown Monrovia.

Here's the article.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And the survey says...

Thanks to all who stopped by the Redevelopment/Economic Development (R/ED) Team booth on Friday at the Business Showcase, where nearly 30 businesses participated.

Photo from MCC Facebook
Hundreds stopped by the nearly 30  
exhibits at the Business Showcase.     

During the showcase, we highlighted upcoming projects, passed out information on the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency, and took a survey of the types of businesses you would like to see in town. The categories were previously selected based on what we've heard from the community on the types of businesses they would like to see in Monrovia.

Of the 24 people who took the survey, here's what they said they wanted:
  • One person said they want a wine shop
  • Five people asked for a bookstore
  • Two people voted for a beauty and makeup store, specifically Bath and Body Works
  • One person voted for a Dicks Sporting Goods 
  • One person voted for a Gamestop
  • One person voted for Urban Outfitters
  • Three people voted for a house ware store, such as Crate and Barrel or Williams-Sonoma.

And five people wrote in their own responses, which included a high end Seafood Restaurant, more mom and pop stores, a travel agency and a bowling alley or roller rink. We took the same survey on Aug. 20 at the Walnut Avenue block party - and a bookstore was the top vote getter, too.

Now what, you're wondering?  The R/ED Team will continue to reach out to these businesses in hopes that they want to be here as much as we want them here. Have an idea of your own? Email

Friday, September 30, 2011

Farmers Market to Host Business Showcase Tonight

The Friday Night Family Festival will welcome some new faces tonight. The Monrovia Chamber of Commerce will present its seasonal Business Showcase tonight from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the 700 block of Myrtle Avenue in Old Town, across from the Paragon Luxury Apartments.

Attendees will include Chamber members - including the City of Monrovia's Redevelopment and Economic Development Team (R/ED Team). Be sure to stop by the R/ED Team's booth to meet the staff, learn more about the Online Business Resource Center and to get up to speed with upcoming projects.

Here's a video promotion - which aired on KGEM - from the last Business Showcase, which was held in May.
May - Chamber Showcase 1 from KGEM-TV on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Business Tip of the Week: Visit Vacant Sites Online

Are you looking to move your business to Monrovia but are in need of a site? If so, the Online Business Resource Center has a link to LoopNet, a free commercial listing service available online.

All you need to do is click on the link and navigate through the available properties that are for lease or for sale. Often times, the broker's information is located right there on the website. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Resource for Seniors Opens on Myrtle

Last week, Old Town Monrovia welcomed an organization dedicated to empowering seniors and providing their families with answers to health care dilemmas.

About Senior Solutions staff and supporters celebrated its grand opening with an open house held at the new office building, located in Suite 208 at 525 S. Myrtle Avenue, next to Wells Fargo.

The business re-located from Pasadena, according to Founder Mary Winners, whose background includes acute care hospitalization, Gero-psychiatric issues, Alzheimer's and dementia care, hospice, assisted living and other senior care options.

According to the brochure, About Senior Solutions is a senior resource, evaluation, placement and advocacy organization dedicated to serving the needs of aging seniors and their family members.

The service is designed to help those caring for seniors and who have concerns such as:

  • I may not be doing what my mom wants.
  • My grandmother could have dementia, what should I do?
  • I am not sure if Dad should be left alone.
  • I am worried that my mom's health is declining because she is the primary caregiver for my father.
More information can be found at, by visiting the blog, or by calling (888)736-5864.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home Accessory Store Opens in Old Town

Old Town has a new addition along Myrtle Avenue. Charlie's House, a business that specializes in selling home decor, opened earlier this month at 430 S. Myrtle Avenue.

Located in the heart of Old Town, Charlie's House sells such items as furniture, plants and seasonal decorations. Owner Kristin Miller, a longtime Monrovia-area resident, said it has been compared to a scaled down version of the "Pottery Barn" - minus the bedding and the plates. Miller said she handpicks everything in the store in an effort to keep the merchandise unique and the prices low.

Store hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To visit their website, go to   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shipping Office for Oregon Winery to Open in Monrovia

Over the past six years, Pyrenees Vineyard and Winery located in Oregon's Umpqua Valley has produced 35 award-winning wines. Now, the Southern Oregon winery will be expanding its operations in the next few weeks to Southern California - with its shipping office to be located right here in Monrovia, at 1212 S. Fifth Avenue.

The operators - who live in Glendora - will begin wholesaling their wines to Southern California restaurants, bars, hotels and "anywhere they sell wine," Chief Financial Officer Vince Wile said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monrovia is a Finalist for the Most Business Friendly City Award

Los Angeles County’s leading advocate for economic development announced Tuesday that Monrovia is among the five finalists in its category for the 2011 “Most Business Friendly City” Award.

Monrovia is competing against Commerce, Duarte, Gardena and La Mirada in the category of cities with a population of 60,000 or less for the award presented by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. For populations 60,000 and higher, the finalists are Burbank, Carson, Glendale, Torrance, West Covina and Whittier, according to the LAEDC Press Release.

“We are pleased to be named as a finalist for this award. Certainly our business community believes we are the most business friendly,” Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said. “It is gratifying to see the judges concur.”

This is the third time that Monrovia has been nominated for the annual award. Monrovia was a finalist in 2010 and 2008. City officials and members of the business community are hoping that “this is the year,” especially considering the recent advancements in Monrovia’s economic and redevelopment strategies. Read more.

Staff members attribute the Online Business Resource Center and Economic
Development Action Plan as possible reasons for the recent nomination.      

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monrovia to Get Second Jack in the Box

The Planning Commission last week approved a Conditional Use Permit for the construction of a Jack in the Box at 248 W. Huntington Drive, where the Pottery Ranch and six residential homes are located. These will be demolished and the lots consolidated to make way for the fast food restaurant, which will include a drive-through service and 24-hour operation. Here's the staff report.

According to the City Manager's report, the request was approved after discussion about the drive-through configuration and concerns regarding the newly constructed Bowden Homes to the south. One component of the plan - the widening of an alleyway - will still have to go to the City Council.

This will be Monrovia's second Jack in the Box location. The other is at 100 W. Duarte Road.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bowden Completes Construction of New Homes

Monrovia-based Bowden Development on Sept. 14 celebrated the completion of seven single-family homes on Cypress and Magnolia, just west of Baja Ranch Market and behind the Pottery Ranch.

The 1,500-square-foot homes start at $499,000, and each have four-bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Bowden was founded in Monrovia in 1971. The company builds primarily custom designed homes, and has a portfolio of more than 500 projects.

This is among one of the seven single family homes recently
completed by Bowden Development.                                          

Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz presented the Bowden      
Development Construction team with a Certificate of             
Appreciation at the grand opening on Sept. 14.                        .

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Business Tip of the Week: Get a Permit

Eager to do that expansion on your business, but don't know where to start?

Well, first things first: Before you knock out a wall or add a bathroom, know that a building permit is required when you physically change your property, including adding square footage or a mechanical system. According tothe Building and Planning Division, a permit is required when, for example:

You add bathrooms, modify the electrical, construct load bearing walls, add additional floor area, add a mezzanine or alter your building exiting.
In legal terms, no building or structure shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a permit has first been obtained from the Building Division.
The best thing to do before starting any project is to call the Building Division.
In summary: Don't build without a permit. Not sure if what you are doing requires one? Then visit this website, or give Building Division staff a call at 626-932-5565.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Filming Roundup: Jackie Chan Shoots Commercial in Monrovia

Monrovia got a visit from an international martial artist and movie star last month.

Jackie Chan - who appeared in such movies as Rush Hour and The Karate Kid remake - was spotted running full speed towards a parked car in a white jumpsuit during a filming of a V8 commercial two weeks ago. The commercial was shot in the lot outside of the vacant Super A Foods Supermarket at 935 W. Duarte Road on Aug. 22.

The crew returned on Aug. 25, but without Jackie. Instead, it was his stunt double that was spotted doing flips on a car, with a help of crane (see below). 

A crew member helps Jackie Chan's stunt double flip on a car during the
fiming of a V8 commercial on Aug. 25.

An empty Super A lot was the set of a V8 Commercial on Aug. 25 in Monrovia.

In the month of August, Monrovia's Office of Filming processed this permit in addition to the Public Service Announcement on Myrtle Avenue in Old Town for the Nature Conservancy.

Be on the look out for our wrap up of September's filming activities at the end of the month.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Restaurant to Open on Myrtle

It looks like there will be a new tenant in the former Teri & Yaki site at 106 S. Myrtle Avenue, an 1,800 square foot site that has been vacant since the beginning of the year. 

According to the sign below, which recently sprouted up, an "Upscale Indian Restaurant" will be "Coming Soon." It's hard to tell just how soon that will be, but when they do open, it will add to the already international repertoire of Old Town eateries, including Chang Thai Bistro, London's Gastropub, Pho Lemon, Rudy's Mexican Restaurant, and french restaurant, Cafe Massila.

An upscale Indian restaurant will be opening at 106 S. Myrtle,
according this sign spotted on Aug. 30.                                       

Monday, August 29, 2011

Energy Wise: Edison Offers Rebates to Businesses

Southern California Edison is targeting homeowners and businesses that are considering driving Plug-In Vehicles. In a presentation to the City's Green Team last week, Edison officials said they will be working with the Southern California Association of Governments in an effort to develop a regional plan for how cities, businesses and homes would use Plug-In Vehicles. 

According to this article in the New York Times, the latest technology of Plug-In Vehicles is gaining more and more traction.

                                                 Photo from the New York Times
The Nissan Volt is among the newest versions of electric cars.
The promotion of these Plug-In Vehicles is part of Edison's overarching campaign of becoming more green, whether that's by offering rebates, incentives or grants. Businesses can learn more about these resources by clicking here.

In Monrovia, the greening of businesses is a priority, as identified in our Environmental Accords and in our Business Recycling Program.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Building Department Cranks Out Permits in July

The Building Division started the fiscal year with all guns blazing. According to the City Manager's Weekly Report, in the first month of the fiscal year, permits were issued for:

  • Tenant improvements for a new PetSmart store at the former Circuit City site on W. Huntington Drive,
  • Expansion of a pharmacy waiting room located inside Vons Pavilion on the 100 block of West Foothill Boulevard
  • A remodel for a new dental office on the 400 block of West Huntington Drive, and 
  • Several permits for single-family additions and remodels have been issued.

Moving forward, the Building Division anticipates issuing permits for:
  • The new construction of the Santa Teresita assisted living project ($2.2 million) in the 1200 block of Royal Oaks Drive
  • Nine new townhomes ($1.5 million) on the 700 block of West Duarte Road, and
  • A new Chase Bank ($1 million) on the 600 block of West Huntington Drive.
The former Spires' building was demolished, and now
construction crews are paving the way for a future Chase
Bank on W. Huntington Drive.