Specialty food shops such as spice, cheese and gourmet shops need retail food licenses. Depending on the state, county and city, these can amount to up to eight different licenses and permits. Retailers must also submit retail food plans and adhere to environmental health regulations in order to stay in business.
Being one of California and the nation’s major cities means San Diego is home to many businesses. However, the city’s licensing systems are fairly decentralized requiring business owners to apply to numerous departments including the city treasurer, planning and development and the police. Additionally, licenses from San Diego County, the state and sometimes the federal government are required in certain industries. San Diego's major industries include defense, international trade, shipping, tourism, manufacturing, research and real estate. The city's close proximity to Mexico and large natural harbor make it a gateway to commerce with Asia and Latin America.