Merced and Madera are experiencing growth

MERCED, California

Frank Quintero said, "That means agriculture is growing, our manufacturing sectors are expanding and growing, and we're seeing that reflection in some of the companies that are wanting to expand within the city limits."

Merced's Economic Development Director, Frank Quintero, says more retail spaces are now filling up, including a former Blockbuster building near one of the busiest intersections in the city. It will soon be home to a Chipotle and a Panera Bread.

Quintero added, "We just received the application and plan to process it within the week, so we anticipate moving through the building permits and hope to see construction happening within 30-45 days, if not sooner."

The Madera metro area has seen its GDP increase nearly 12% to $4 billion between 2008 and 2011. Economic Development Commission Executive Director, Bobby Kahn, says that's primarily thanks to agriculture.

"The Ag industry has really been strong on a long streak, over the last 10, 15 years it's been a good strong market for most all commodities, then when you have a lot of food processors, like in Madera County, they're growing, and their industry sector is staying strong as well."

Kahn says the city is seeing an increase in retail, including several new stores and restaurants in a shopping center near the fairgrounds.

"In the last year I think we've had about five new businesses going in there, and there's two more slated to go in, so that center is just about full," said Kahn. "It's going to create a lot of new synergy around that area, so it's a good thing for the city."

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