In an effort to better measure business satisfaction and the city’s growth, Glendale officials recently created a team tasked with block-by-block outreach of the city’s businesses.
Formed in June, the Glendale Relationship Initiation Team, or GRIT, is a program of the city’s Economic Development Department and will bring a combination of representatives from different departments to meet with major employers in Glendale.
Jennifer McLain, the city’s principal economic development officer, said GRIT is a way to form tighter relationships with office users and top employers by letting them know the city wants to retain their business and help them grow.
McLain said the creation of GRIT was motivated, in part, by the planned departure of Nestlé, which announced in January that by the end of 2018, it will be leaving Glendale after nearly three decades and relocating its U.S. headquarters — along with the bulk of its 1,200 jobs — to Rosslyn, Va.
At the time, Glendale spokesman Tom Lorenz said the city learned of Nestlé’s planned departure the day it was announced by the company.
“While there were certain conditions that Nestlé had that forced them to move that were out of the realm of [the city’s] control, we do want to make sure that we have relationships with our office users,” McLain said. “If, should they ever have a question or an issue with City Hall or don’t know where to go, they know that they have a friend in the city who is invested in their success.”
The formation of GRIT was also influenced by the city’s ongoing tech initiative, which was established last year as a way to foster and promote Glendale’s status in the tech industry.
The GRIT meetings with businesses will last around 20 to 30 minutes each, and participants will be given a survey beforehand that will ask why they chose Glendale, the state of their hiring needs and their thoughts on the quality of the area’s workforce.
“We believe it is sometimes easier to help a current business grow than it is to attract a new business,” McLain said.
The team’s first meeting was in late June and focused on businesses housed in the 701 and 801 N. Brand Blvd. office buildings. Participating companies included Stila Cosmetics, Salem Media Group and Coldwell Banker.
McLain, who attended the meeting, said the conversations were specific to the need of each business, such as the quality of broadband in the city, but most business representatives asked about the new development in downtown Glendale and how it will affect them.
The closed-door meetings will be held twice a month, and McLain said the team’s goal is to visit 100 businesses over the next 12 months.
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