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New business helps Inland Empire economy

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

March 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Amid tough economic times, there's a sign of hope for one Inland Empire community: the opening of a new furniture store that everyone hopes will breathe new life into the local economy.In better economic times, ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new businesses were quite common. But it's not the excitement generated by the grand opening of the new Linder's Furniture Store in Rancho Cucamonga Thursday morning.

Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Donald Kurth explained its importance.

"It's been a long time since we've had a store open like this but I think it's a sign of the beginning ... we're at the end of this downturn, I think the recovery is beginning and this is good evidence of that," said Kurth.

Thirty-five new employees were hired from a job fair held a month ago. Ulysses Hernandez had been out of work for five months.

"I've never lost faith so I never got depressed," said sales representative Ulysses Hernandez. "I just kept waking up every morning hoping to find a job and I came here and you know, thank god I got myself this job."

The company's chief executive officer explained why the expansion made sense.

"I think that consumers are feeling a little bit more comfortable going out there and buying home furnishings or buying new homes," said Philip Linder, Linder's Furniture Store CEO.

Local economists feel the Inland Empire will come out of the recession. But very slowly.

"We in Southern California have been the epicenter of the housing crisis and we're not out of that yet," said David Stewart, University of California-Riverside Anderson Graduate School of Management.

There's another possible ray of sunshine in the cloudy economic picture in the Inland Empire. A coal company is considering coming to a giant distribution center, and more than 500 jobs would be created in San Bernardino

"San Bernardino can only grow one direction and we're squaring in that direction," said Stewart.