I recently helped pick out an industrial sewing machine for my friend Jess. We decided on a Juki DDL-8700, which is a pretty simple medium-weight straight-stitch machine. It's commonly seen on serious-crafter blogs, and I think it's a great introduction into the world of industrial sewing.
I got this from Gregg at Keystone Sewing in Philly. Great customer service and price.
Jess'll be using this to make cute hats and li'l bags for knitting kits for Looped Yarn Works in DC. And maybe I can give her some projects I don't have time for. Ha.