LOS ANGELES—San Bernardino County is known as the County of Firsts. From the first McDonalds, which opened in 1948, to the first indoor mall under a single roof, which opened in 1966, the county has a steep history as a leader in retail activity and innovation. While the market has been a good place for many retailers to launch their businesses—and grow to see international success—today, San Bernardino County is an ideal place for retailers to expand and test new demographics. As a result, San Bernardino County proves to have a constantly thriving retail market with strong activity.

Last week, retail professionals gathered in Los Angeles for the ICSC Western Conference and Deal Making, and we sat down with Elisa Laurel of the County of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency for an exclusive video interview. Laurel gives us a snapshot of the retail activity in the county, why it continues to be an ideal market for retail expansion, and tells us some of the region’s most famous “firsts” that have earned the area its “County of Firsts” nickname.