El Monte, the city whose motto is "the end of the Santa Fe Trail," is the ninth largest city in Los Angeles County, with an approximate population of 122,513 (2005). Located just 12 miles east of downtown L.A., El Monte is the hub of the San Gabriel Valley, where the major freeways of I-605 and I-10 intersect. The city continues to undergo many public improvements to accommodate the economic growth occurring in San Gabriel Valley.
El Monte has a reputation for having a "business friendly attitude," as it strives to attract new commercial and retail businesses, as well as international corporations through its Foreign Trade Zone. The city is home to Longo Toyota, the top automobile dealer in the country by sales and volume. Other companies in the area include Sam's Club, Home Depot and K-Mart. The city's major industries include the Von's Distribution Warehouse, Wells Fargo Operations Center, and St. Gobain Glass Containers.
El Monte has a very ethnically diverse population, with the majority of its citizens being of Hispanic origin, followed up by Asians and Caucasians. As the population grows, community and educational facilities continue to improve. Trade and professional colleges in the city provide workforce education in support of local businesses. New parks with sports programs are being built, and the brand new Aquatic Center, located along the city's Tyler Avenue Historic District, has three pools. The Historic District also includes community and senior centers, museums, and a public library.