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School of Business and Management Research Draws New Businesses to Azusa

by Jaime Garispe '10

The city of Azusa is undergoing a number of construction and redevelopment projects to strengthen the local retail environment and economy. Many of the projects were boosted and influenced by the Economic Development Plan, created last year by Stuart Strother, Ph.D., professor of economics at APU, and Rich Ghidella, MBA, professor of business at Citrus College, along with the help of 41 students from APU and Citrus College. Conducted at the request of the city, the study focused on analyzing the current and growing consumer needs of the residents of Azusa, comparing these needs with the existing local businesses and retailers.

Specifically, the report aids the city of Azusa, Azusa Chamber of Commerce, and real estate developers in recruiting new firms to the city. It analyzes the amount of money Citrus and APU students, as well as faculty and staff, spend at a number of local restaurant and retail locations as well as the amount of money they would be willing to spend if these businesses were located close to the college and university’s campuses. The results showed that students would be much more likely to visit restaurants and retail stores if they were located nearer campus, a finding that carries significant implications for the retail establishments moving into Azusa.

APU’s involvement with the plan has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the local community and city leaders have vocalized their gratitude. "The Economic Development Plan has had a huge impact on the city’s plans for the recruitment of retailers," said Irene Villapania, chief executive officer of the Azusa Chamber of Commerce. "It has received a tremendous response from the community and is well appreciated."

Strother explained the impact of the more than 21,000 students, faculty, and staff who work and live in Azusa. “As residents of Azusa, students want good retail too,” he said. “If Azusa has better retail choices, students won’t drive elsewhere. This way, money can be retained in the local economy.”

Several new businesses and retailers are coming to Azusa, including a Metro Gold Line station that is expected to be completed in 2013, and a Target store on Azusa Ave. One particular site, Citrus Crossing, located across Alosta Ave. from University Village, was recently redeveloped and gained a Jamba Juice, Panda Express, Chipotle, Greek Café, Kelly’s Coffee and Fudge, Pinkberry, and Fresh and Easy.

"All of the redevelopments are really great and make Azusa an even better place for current and future students alike," said senior communications major Jonathon Coyne.

To view the plan in full, visit the Azusa Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.azusachamber.org.