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Business and Industry

Business and Industry

As one of California’s first towns, Martinez retains a strong sense of history, family and architecture. Many of the downtown shops still retain their early 20th century look and charm, with some homes dating back more than 125 years. Each year, hundreds attend a tour showcasing many of the City’s historic homes. The renowned naturalist, John Muir, made Martinez his home for nearly a quarter century and the grounds have been converted into a National Parks Service Historic Site that attracts thousands annually. With 17 parks, an award-winning aquatics center, and a beautiful shoreline setting, Martinez offers wonderful business, recreation and tourism opportunities.

The most popular industries in Martinez include education, government and health care. Several thousand County employees work here, as Martinez has been the Contra Costa County seat since 1850. Many other business services exist to support this clientele, especially within the downtown core and at the Muir Station Shopping Center. Other primary business corridors include Highway 4 along Arnold Drive to the east, and near the Virginia Hills area to the south.

“Companies should locate here because we have great space and affordable lease rates,” says Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder. “Additionally, if an organization provides business-to-business services and products, they may qualify for our economic incentive program that provides sales tax rebates.”

The incentive program is strong and has brought back companies that left Martinez once lured away by other areas.

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“If an organization has certain benefits to the city and business, the City is willing to look at custom tax programs, especially if they are job-generating companies,” Schroder says.

Key employers within the City limits include three major medical facilities (County Regional, Kaiser Permanente, and Veteran’s Administration), major grocery chains, and two “big-box” retail stores. Shell Oil Products US, Martinez Refinery has also been a top employer for over 100 years. The Martinez Unified School District, another key employer, recently announced Alhambra High and the Martinez Junior High were selected as California Gold Ribbon schools.

Employees are never snowed-in going to work in Mediterranean-style weather, with what Schroder calls, “natural air-conditioning” from the waterfront. The East Bay, with its proximity to industrial leader San Francisco, is an extremely favorable location to establish or relocate a business.

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Business and industry have remained consistently steady over the years, including through recession and drought conditions. The current economic climate in the town that went from trading post to county seat is strong. Home values and sales tax income is increasing. The heavy reconstruction and remolding taking place in historical downtown is indicative of more businesses moving into the area. Additionally, plans are in the works to make Martinez a landing stop on the San Francisco ferry system.

The City of Martinez has developed numerous resources for entrepreneurs looking to open or relocate a business, including an online section of the website devoted to this purpose: (www.cityofmartinez.org/depts/econdev/default.asp)

New businesses are encouraged to get in touch with the Martinez Area Chamber of Commerce (www.martinezchamber.com) and Main Street Martinez (www.mainstreetmartinez.org), a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization working to revitalize downtown Martinez, where much of the City’s available commercial space is located. Another resource for business recruitment and retention is

www.martinezmeansbusiness.com.

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