Economic Development News
Shop UP This Holiday Season and Save Money
October 29, 2019
With a diverse blend of both major and small retail offerings making up the largest selection of goods ever available in Tehachapi, it should be noted at the low sales tax rate in the City of Tehachapi can mean real savings this holiday season.
As a result, the City is unveiling our ‘Shop UP’ campaign to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the lowest sales tax rate among nearby cities. In 2018 the City of Bakersfield passed a one-percent sales tax increase, bringing their rate to 8.25%, the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and Palmdale both operate at 9.50%, Santa Clarita is 8.25%.
While Tehachapi can’t compete with every big-city purchase, there are real savings in shopping locally. For example, the National Retail Federation claims the average consumer aged 35-44 is expected to spend about $1,158 this year on gifts. So if $1,158 worth of gifts were purchased in Tehachapi, the total sales tax would equal $83.95, the same purchases in Bakersfield or Santa Clarita would cost $95.53 in sales tax. In Lancaster or Palmdale, those $1,158 in purchases would cost $110 in sales tax, if one factors in the high cost of fuel, it goes without saying how the savings add up.
The bigger ticket items such as appliances, televisions, electronics and such can also add up to real savings when taking sales tax into consideration. These items are not only available, but now there are a wide variety of options thanks to new retail offerings over the last several years in the City of Tehachapi. Secondly, shopping local has a major economic impact on local businesses, both large and small. Fewer trips outside of Tehachapi for goods during the holidays mean more supplemental spending at local restaurants, grocery stores and small businesses that focus in specialty items.
While many enjoy the convenience of online shopping, it was recently shown in a study by Statista that 54% of holiday shoppers prefer shopping in-person because unique one-of-a-kind gifts are tough to find online. This always gives brick and mortar retailers an advantage during the holiday season.
So when it’s time to brave the shopping crowds, remember in 2019 it pays to Shop UP in the City of Tehachapi.
New Advisor at the Helm of Tehachapi's Edward Jones
October 1, 2019
Brandon Billings took the opportunity to finally get involved in the world of financial advising, something that had been on his mind for years while he worked in another field.
Timing however is everything, and with a spouse pursuing an education and career in the medical field and the needs of a new family, the right time had to wait. Finally everything aligned for Billings, who received an opportunity to take over the Tehachapi Edward Jones practice from the retiring Ben Graham. Now, he’s investing into the community with his time, energy and focus on local small businesses and their retirement options.
“I love finance, I love investing, I love helping people,” Billings said. “Coming from working with businesses in the industrial industry I had so many friends, in ’14, ’15, ’16 who lost their jobs and had no idea what to do. Most people that have financial advisors are in some office they have never been to and require $500,000 - $1 million just to have a face to face meeting; I’ll talk to the kid who’s opening his first IRA or the retired folks.”
Billings likes working with small businesses specifically, and is letting them know that his firm can help these companies provide retirement plans for their employees. With a strong economy and increased competition for talent, Billings believes offering an affordable retirement plan can help make up for the inability to pay a high salary.
“Offering retirement plans, that individual part of it, is such a big deal because nowadays people look at the benefits of the job as much as they look at the salary,” he said, “They have to find ways to stay competitive if not they're constantly hiring and retraining.”
Also being local, Billings can take advantage of the face-to-face approach.
“I’ve spoken with companies in Tehachapi that have 50 employees and a retirement plan, but the company managing their plan is in San Diego,” he said. “The difference with me is as an employee you will talk to me at least twice a year and meet once a year, face-to-face. So when you have those financial moments that matter, like you're having a baby, and you want to save for college, you’re not searching all over for someone to help you manage your life event, you already have someone to come to.”
There’s also the benefit to the small business owners in Tehachapi as well. Billings points out that many assume that selling their business is their final retirement plan, but there are so many other options.
“As bigger corporations move in, small businesses are slowly fading away. Meaning the business owner who has a plan to sale his business and live off of the proceeds for retirement, may not have that option.” he said. “With tax savings and other things, it’s affordable to save for retirement. The misconception is that you can’t afford it but the reality is you can’t afford not to do it.”
Edward Jones’ Tehachapi office is located at 709 W. Valley Boulevard Suite B. For more information you can view Brandon Billings’ information on the web at www.edwardjones.com/brandon-billings or call 661-823-4879.
From Sea to Shining Sea; New Downtown Tehachapi Trucking Company Moves Goods Across the United States
September 10, 2019
If there were a road map to starting a small business in your home and transitioning into a major player in an industry, then K.M. Payton Trucking certainly fits that mold.
The newest business residents of Downtown Tehachapi, K.M. Payton recently opened their new and first office at 118 S. Robinson Street. The business, founded by Mike and Kendra Payton, handles shipping of frozen seafood and refrigerated produce across the nation, with a fleet of seven trucks and routes that span from the east to the west coast. A logistical challenge now operated out of their Downtown Tehachapi location.
“We run from California to Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, Florida, those are really our hot spots,” Payton said. “We’ll run the entire I-5 corridor and we’re still looking for customers.”
Payton and his wife relocated from Palmdale several years ago and he quickly realized the best way to make a living in the trucking industry was to start his own business. They did so in October of 2017 out of a home office in Golden Hills, also purchasing a truck and a trailer and hitting the road.
“We quickly figured out there’s a lot going on in the industry and that’s when we started growing,” Payton said. “We’ve gone from a $200,000 to $2 million dollar business in less than 24 months.”
The decision locate a business of this nature in Tehachapi stemmed from the Payton’s love for the area.
“We located here because we live here,” he said. “Some wonder why we’re not in Palmdale, closer to L.A., how come I’m not in L.A., I’m not in Bakersfield or Fresno? The answer is convenience. We just started with it and ran with it and we’ll see where it goes.”
Payton pointed out his company’s logo is simple, but includes “Tehachapi, CA” at the bottom. This logo is on all trucks operated by K.M. Payton giving the City recognition all throughout the United States.
“No joke, I can be anywhere in the country and somebody has a sister, or a brother (in Tehachapi),” he said. “I was looking at the Statue of Liberty, delivering to Sigma Foods in New Jersey and some guy said ‘oh you’re from Tehachapi? I have a brother that lives there’. It took me about six months to realize that there’s something about being from Tehachapi that is kind of cool and recognizable nationwide.”
The next expansion for K.M. Payton Trucking will be into the freight brokering business, not just moving freight for their customers, but connecting other trucks with available freight from customers throughout the United States.
K.M. Payton works closely with several contract drivers, many of which own their own equipment but don’t have the financial means to secure freight. They also employ two local people in their new Downtown Tehachapi office as well as Payton himself, when he’s not on the road delivering freight in his own truck.
K.M. Payton Trucking is seeking contract truck drivers as well as additional customers in need of their refrigerated delivery services. Mike Payton can be reached at email@example.com.
Kelcy's Café Back With Full Time Operating Hours
August 27, 2019
Kelcy’s Café, once the focus of Downtown Tehachapi for decades has been reopened as a full-time restaurant for the first time in over two years.
New owners Bill and Virginia Sheridan purchased the business a few years ago which was adjacent to their Sheridan’s Consignment shop on Tehachapi Boulevard. With the age of the building, health codes and required upgrades it took the Sheridan’s a little while longer than expected to get the eatery reopened, but after the wait the doors officially opened on Mountain Festival weekend to large crowds of festival goers and locals wanting that slice of Kelcy’s pie or to reminisce about Tehachapi over some biscuits and gravy.
After a few special-event openings over the last year,Kelcy’s has now established normal business hours, open daily from 7 am-3pm,focusing on breakfast and lunch for the time being. The current menu is small with limited items but café management plans on slowly expanding items as the new staff, cooks and servers get more acquainted with their surroundings.
Surroundings have always been a big part of Kelcy’s, half café and half Tehachapi museum the restaurant once featured several hundred historical photos of Tehachapi. While many were removed by previous ownership,those photos were scanned and will eventually be reproduced to once again hang on the walls for locals and visitors alike to learn more about the community’s history.
The nostalgia of Tehachapi remains in the main dining area with some photos and reminders of the restaurant that has witnessed massive hange to Downtown Tehachapi with its large window’s overlooking Tehachapi Boulevard. These days the sidewalks are full of shoppers, tourists, railroad enthusiasts, festival goers and locals enjoying the surroundings, and now Kelcy’s is a part of that again.
Kelcy’s is back with a healthy downtown surrounding it and plenty of customers excited to come back in and say hello to their old friend.
Walmart Opens Tehachapi Supercenter to Fanfare
August 13, 2019
Tehachapi’s long-awaited Walmart opened on August 7th with plenty of fanfare and celebration as hundreds of customers lined up in the early hours for the chance to be the first shoppers inside the door of the 155,000 square-foot store.
Manager Amy Garcia, her leadership team and Walmart associates welcomed the crowd that gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning. It was a traditional Tehachapi grand opening with the National Anthem performed by the Tehachapi High School Marching Band, a proclamation from Mayor Susan Wiggins and words of encouragement regarding the new partnership from City Manager Greg Garrett. Pastor Mike Safford of the Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard Church blessed the store’s opening and the community that will be shopping in it.
“We appreciate the investment and the trust that Walmart has put in the City of Tehachapi,” Garrett said. “In today’s retail environment you need to trust the community, trust that the community is going to support the store.”
The store’s opening far-exceeded management expectations with large crowds on opening day and beyond putting the new store’s team to the test to restock shelves for back to school and grocery items. The online grocery pickup team reported over 40 online orders being filled on the first day of operation as the new feature is expected to be popular for the Tehachapi store due to its proximity to Tucker Road, a major route for commuting workers.
Walmart’s economic impact is expected to be felt far beyond additional sales tax revenue, many shoppers, once forced to shop in Bakersfield or Lancaster for lower prices and selection are now able to make many of those purchases locally. With that money being spent in Tehachapi, the savings are then applied to purchases at other stores, small businesses and local restaurants.
As part of the ceremony, the Tehachapi Walmart presented several community organizations with donations including $2000 for the Tehachapi Police Foundation. In addition, Walmart added the Tehachapi Police Department to their ‘Hydrate Blue’ campaign, donating a small cooler for each patrol vehicle which is filled with complimentary water donated by Walmart. They have also pledged trauma kits for vehicles and cooling systems that will attach to officer’s load-bearing vests while in the vehicle.
The store employs over 200 workers, many of which were hired locally from other businesses including those that were part-time employees elsewhere but were given full-time positions and benefits with the local Walmart. The store operates from 6 am to 11 pm daily.
Dignity Health Adds to Tehachapi Health Care Offerings
July 25, 2019
Dignity Health, the fifth-largest health care provider in the nation officially welcomed the community to their new Tehachapi clinic on Monday, July 22nd with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The clinic was purchased from Dr. Mark Pesche who retired in late 2018 as Dignity took over the six-room clinic which serves patients in general family practice areas. Additionally, Dignity Health provides specialist care, has extended their hours until 7 P.M. and accepts walk-in patients.
The ribbon cutting message was clear from Dignity Health staff, this is just the first step of their investment into the City of Tehachapi.
Dignity joins a list of quality health care providers that have recently expanded into the Tehachapi area, all of which continue to offer more of a contribution to the local economy and residents. Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley opened the new hospital on November 8, 2018 and operates at near capacity on a regular basis. Along with expanding emergency and non-emergency services, AHTV offers general surgery, something that has been lacking in Tehachapi for decades.
Kaiser Permanente continues to offer new services at their Tehachapi clinic and is currently underway with their third renovation of the facility since opening in Tehachapi in 2016. Recent additions include walk-in blood lab services and in August they will be adding a third physician to allow for more Tehachapi residents to receive primary care without traveling outside of the area. Omni Family Health continues the robust family practice, pediatrics and behavioral health among many other things at their clinic on North Mill Street. They continue to use Tehachapi as their base for expansion in East Kern.
The access to quality medical care previously reserved for larger cities outside of Tehachapi is now available here locally thanks to the investment of these companies. Additionally, they are contributing to the health care industry in remaining the fastest-growing in Kern County. Locally, according to Adventist Health, they currently employ over 250 people at their Capital Hills site. This is a 23% increase in employees since transitioning to the new site. Others are also recruiting on a smaller scale, bringing high-paying jobs into the community.
Tehachapi’s health care offerings are growing at a responsible pace with the needs and size of the community, a perfect match for a City and a critical quality of life industry.
Tehachapi Neighborhood Improvement Project a Valuable Economic Development Tool
June 26, 2019
The City of Tehachapi’s economic development efforts joined forces with the Tehachapi Police Department and several other community volunteers to take part in the first neighborhood cleanup day as part of the Tehachapi Neighborhood Improvement Project.
Approved by the Tehachapi City Council earlier this year, the Neighborhood Improvement Project focuses on one area of the city at a time and includes public safety surveys, code enforcement education and cleanup days like the one on June 22nd. Neighborhood residents were notified about bulky item collection bins in the neighborhood made available by Waste Management, and they are also informed about ways to contact the City for help with those items. Partnering with Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard and Mountain Bible Church, several teams of volunteers, trucks and trailers took to the streets to collect items. Two large construction trash bins were full within 90 minutes.
The cleanup effort was a huge success and residents were extremely pleased with the turnout and the results. City councilman Phil Smith, who represents the district that is hosting the neighborhood cleanup project was helping in the efforts and was impressed with the results.
“We’re getting everyone involved trying to help our neighborhoods,” he said. “We have neighbors helping neighbors and it’s a really good opportunity to clean up your yard and just improving the whole neighborhood.”
Partnerships with local faith-based organizations also made a tremendous impact on the volunteer effort for this project.
“Today was just a community effort, not about the church doing something good or an organization doing something good but it was really about the City coming together saying we love our City,” said Mike Safford, pastor of Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard.
As an economic development tool the Tehachapi Neighborhood Improvement project helps work with neighborhoods to lower crime rates, prevent chronic nuisances that attract crime and open a dialogue between residents and the police department. With safer, cleaner streets come higher property values and a willingness for residents to reinvest in an area in which they take pride.
With the overwhelming response from the neighborhood, located north of the railroad tracks from Green Street east to Hayes, the City of Tehachapi has scheduled a second cleanup day and bulky item collection next month.
Sierra Technical Services Capitalizing on Success
June 12, 2019
Tehachapi’s Sierra Technical Services is approaching the final stages of assembly and eventually testing of their 5GAT target drone and as a result of their success are in line for additional contracts and expansion. The small business with 50 employees is located at Tehachapi Municipal Airport.
President Roger Hayes and his wife Debra started the company 13 years ago and STS continues to be a small-business success story. Their recent project, the aforementioned 5GAT drone is undergoing systems testing and will eventually be equipped with two afterburning jet engines before it is shipped off site for flight testing. According to Hayes, the 5GAT drone is designed to be a highly-maneuverable and stealthy unmanned drone intended to mimic 5th generation fighters, similar to what our military could face in aerial combat.
The success and progress of this first prototype has led to the need for a second prototype that Sierra Technical will soon be ramping up to build. Hayes says it is likely there will be an additional contract shortly for a third prototype and his company continues to bid on other fairly large competitive contracts within the industry.
“STS is doing some amazing things, especially for a very small business we started only 13 years ago,” Hayes said. “We have assembled a team of about 50 people and it is amazing how much can be accomplished with a very small, dedicated and talented group of people. Debra and I are truly blessed and thank God every day for the people surrounding us.”
The good news means Sierra Technical is expanding and hiring, they are currently hiring for the following positions: aircraft design engineers, aircraft structures analyst, aircraft subsystems engineers, systems engineers, ground support equipment specialist, aircraft avionics and/or electrical engineers, configuration management professional, quality assurance professionals and aircraft fabricators/technicians. Resumes are being accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Tehachapi Participates in ICSC RECON
May 30, 2019
The City of Tehachapi once again took part in the International Council of Shopping Centers annual Retail Convention (ICSC RECon) at the Las Vegas Convention Center May 20-22nd. The convention is the largest retail gathering in the United States and has served the City well over the years playing a role in major retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart, Tractor Supply and Big 5 locating into the community.
With the growing opportunities in Tehachapi including the presence of Walmart, which is slated to open its doors in August, the interest in the Tehachapi was noticeable at this year’s show. City officials were able to schedule meetings with a variety of developers, brokers and retailers, some of which were previously hesitant about Tehachapi due to size and market conditions. With the faith that some of the larger retailers have placed in this community apparent, others were more inclined to follow that lead.
As an organization, ICSC continues to evolve with the shifting-landscape of brick-and-mortar retail, not only championing its value, but also the opportunities now available in a changing marketplace. This year there was a focus on brands that specialize in re-using former retail space as well as smaller start up retailers that are making an impact already in the way they operate, ship products and contribute to the retail marketplace.
RECon provides and invaluable opportunity for relationship-building with many of these decision makers. While building a retail location, restaurant or hotel might take six months to a year in construction time, many of those decisions were started with relationships built at RECon and fostered for several years before final decisions to build and invest were made. Many of the projects currently being considered in the City of Tehachapi were discussed at length at this year’s show using previous contacts and business relationships.
Founded in 1957, ICSC now has over 70,000 members globally with the mission of ensuring the retail real estate industry is broadly recognized for the integral role it plays in the social, civic and economic vibrancy in communities across the globe.
New Data Sheds Light on Demographics in Tehachapi
May 15, 2019
A recent market insight and analytics of the City of Tehachapi and nearby trade area prepared by HDL ECON Solutions shows a slight shift in the demographics of the area since the 2010 U.S. Census.
With another census year approaching and the value of demographics on businesses both small and large, the story these numbers tell are vital in the health and investment potential for a community. Income and education levels, age and households are important indicators when companies are researching the potential for business in Tehachapi.
The City of Tehachapi continues to be the youngest community in the Greater Tehachapi area with 22% of the population ranging between 25 and 34 years old. These numbers drop the further one travels outside of the city limits. Additionally, there has been an 11-percent increase (600 residents) in 20 to 34 years olds living in the City since the 2010 census, bringing that population total to just over 5,000 which accounts for 34%.
There are several potential explanations for the increase in the younger population including those at retirement age leaving the area while many of the tech, aerospace, defense and renewable energy jobs within the region are being filled by a younger work force. As a result of a highly-skilled labor, income levels have increased bringing both the average and median household income up by $3,000 a year in both categories. There was also growth in the highest income levels with an additional 121 households making more than $100,000 since the 2017 American Community Survey.
The strong economic conditions as well as the attractiveness of Tehachapi for both residents and investors is setting the stage for a great story and earning potential for business investors. Both the City of Tehachapi and the Greater Tehachapi trade area provide a promising landscape for that story to unfold.
Walmart Opens Hiring for Tehachapi Store
April 30, 2019
As the construction process moves along and the store nears completion, the Walmart in Tehachapi has opened the hiring for over 200 positions.
Walmart has opened a temporary office and hiring center at 1001 W. Tehachapi Blvd. Suite 400 next to First American Title in the Tehachapi Crossing Center. The office hours are Monday-Friday 7AM-5 PM. There are computerized applications centers available for potential employees to fill out their information and be interviewed about potential employment. Applications are also being accepted online at https://storejobs.wal-mart.com/HiringCenter/ for the Tehachapi Store #4317.
There are a variety of positions and shifts that are being filled including supervisors, cashiers, cap associates, sales floors, overnight and many more.
The Tehachapi Walmart will feature over 154,000 sq. feet of retail space as well as new technologies such as automatic cleanup and grocery delivery where customers can order online or through the Walmart app and have orders filled and delivered to their vehicles in a designated area of the parking lot.
Walmart is targeting August of 2019 for the opening of their Tehachapi location.
More Than a Barbershop; Lucky's Expansion Means More Good News for Downtown Tehachapi
April 9, 2019
Sometimes the best opportunities aren’t noticed until the second time around.
When Tehachapi-developer Ryan Beauchamp sat down in the chair at Lucky’s Barbershop, he proposed an opportunity to owner Joe Mirabella. An opportunity that would help expand his 10-year business from its 350 square feet on Green Street to a new venture two blocks away. An opportunity that included more space, a renovated building and a chance to make his barbershop a cornerstone in an evolving Downtown Tehachapi.
“At first I rejected it,” Mirabella said. “I wanted to do it on my own so I went and looked at other buildings but I didn’t like any of them.”
Then Beauchamp owner of Big Sky Dwellings, who had already renovated two buildings in Downtown Tehachapi, including the new Kern County Library, purchased a building that once housed a dentist office on the corner of Green and E Streets near the Tehachapi Museum and Errea House. That purchase changed the conversation and the vision for both men.
“Ryan bought that building and presented me with a unique opportunity,” said Mirabella. “He handed me the blueprints and said build it to your specs and we’ll make it happen and that’s what he did.”
Lucky’s Barbershop now operates in their new building in Downtown Tehachapi, adding yet another important piece into a healthy downtown. Now enjoying nearly 1,000 square feet, the new building features tall ceilings, space for five additional barbers and even more room for new ventures, ones that Mirabella hopes will change the image of his downtown barbershop.
He listened to his customers, after a decade in business he was starting to gather quite a client base that suggested a new location and more space to hire more barbers. He has not only moved into his new suite that overlooks a portion of Green Street with an elevated view of a historic corner of downtown, but he’s hoping to bring new features into this location including an esthetician, a sauna as well manicures and pedicures for men.
“I want to create an environment where men feel comfortable being pampered without having to go to a salon or lady’s shop,” he said.
That means changing the downtown barbershop business model slightly. Taking the old features of a man’s barbershop, and merging them with new ideas, the same tactic used by Beauchamp when he purchased the historic building.
“The original vision has a lot to do with the buildings block structure,” Beauchamp said. “The designer Colleen Schaeffer has always loved the building but wanted to give it some modern architecture tweaks while still designing around with our downtown. I was so pleased with she accomplished.”
Beauchamp started that trend a few years back when he purchased other Downtown Tehachapi structures including the old Mason’s Lodge on Green Street that became the Kern County Library before taking on his E Street project that also includes space for the Tehachapi Academy of Dramatic Arts. Others have followed suit, sharing his vision and reinvesting in Downtown Tehachapi. Buddy and Nikki Cummings are nearing completion of the renovation of 228 Tehachapi Boulevard, the City’s oldest commercial building that will now be the headquarters for World Wind and Solar. The Cummings also purchased the former St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store building on Green Street and have received change of use approval for office and professional services space. Across the street Cliff Meredith of Stray Leaves Vineyard is nearing completion of renovating the former First Interstate Bank building into a wine tasting room for his vineyard, the first downtown. To the west the former Moose Lodge continues to go through the renovation process as a restaurant and event hall.
“I love the growth and I love the direction,” Mirabella said about Downtown Tehachapi. “People have a vision and they are good visions. That’s what we want to see downtown, we want to see downtown being alive with people, not empty buildings.”
He hopes his barbershop can serve as more than just a place for haircuts and pampering, but a place where the ambience is appreciated and there can be a return to a time where the barbershop was a destination in the community.
That goal aligns with developers and visionaries like Beauchamp, who with some planning and partnerships, has inspired others to both bring and expand their own visions to downtown.
“I love what’s happening downtown. There is a vibrancy in seeing kids file into the library and moms shuffling their kiddos into the TADA acting studio,” Beauchamp said. “The barbershop is very classic and timeless, and it’s great to see the barber pole spinning outside and an 8-year-old boy and an 80-year-old man seated side by side, getting haircuts together. These businesses are bringing a healthy vibe to our quaint downtown.”
City of Tehachapi Engaged in Local Economic Events
March 19, 2019
The City of Tehachapi was involved in a series of events last week that told the story of the local, statewide and national economic situation.
On March 13th, the Kern County Economic Summit in Bakersfield was highlighted by Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics whose opinions differed from the main stream media who continues to forecast an economic downturn in the next 12 to 24 months. Thornberg however presented indicators like debt, savings ratios and consumer spending as healthier than they were prior to the ‘Great Recession’ in 2007-2008. Thornberg predicted a two to two-and-a-half percentage growth in the economy in 2019.
Thornberg praised many of President Trump’s international trade agreements and classified much of the media criticism on his economic policies as political-driven with a concept he referred to as “miserabalism.” He noted that those suffering from “miserabalism” constantly tell everyone around them how bad things are, despite them being historically better than any other time in history.
Additional speakers focused on local issues including employment, labor market participation and real estate. The keynote address was provided by CAL Matters Columnist Dan Walters who focused on the state of California and their priorities in the coming years. Walters pointed to failed infrastructure, lack of housing and legislation to support home buildings as well as a flawed transportation focus that isn’t rebuilding the road that Californians drive every day. He expressed the necessity to re-think the tax system in the state but complimented California businesses for their entrepreneurial spirit and abilty to deal with state-created problems.
City Manager Greg Garrett, Kern Economic Development Corporation President Richard Chapman, Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council President Lydia Chaney and Assistant to the City Manager Corey Costelloe at the Kern Economic Summit.
On Thursday, March 14th, Tehachapi participated in the quarterly East Kern Economic Alliance meeting held at the Mojave Air and Space Port. A short presentation on the latest accomplishments in the private space industry was presented along with additional information about surrounding communities, their goals and accomplishments on the innovation front.
The City of Tehachapi was able to learn about some additional local recruitment resources available to help new retailers and small businesses in Tehachapi attract and hire employees. The partnerships are in the early stages and will be finalized in the coming weeks.
East Kern is continuing to following the emergence of the ‘Space Force’ concept presented by President Trump. Currently, the military and security interests of the United States’ in space are represented by a variety of military branches including the Air Force and the Army. President Trump’s proposal would create an entity to focus on space and 21st century threats. Congressman Kevin McCarthy has involved a group of California lawmakers to support that installation be headquartered at Edwards Air Force Base in conjunction with Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake as part of the R-2508 military-restricted airspace in East Kern.
The City of Tehachapi has been approached along with several other local groups to write letters of support for McCarthy’s proposal which will help the decision making in Washington, D.C. on the future home of the Space Force. Additional information will be presented at an upcoming Tehachapi City Council meeting.
New Tea Donuts Owner Expands Operation to Tehachapi
February 19, 2019
The donut business is a family affair for new Tea Donuts owner Chantha Sokny Lay. Her family has owned and operated Foster’s Donuts in Bakersfield for 15 years and now she’s taking a swing at the donut world in Tehachapi.
Sokny Lay is another example of a successful business owner in Bakersfield expanding their interests into the Tehachapi market, the Chester and Columbus Foster’s Donuts being her education in the business, and now her and her family are bringing that knowledge to Tea Donuts, a long-standing Tehachapi legacy in the Save Mart Shopping Center.
“Owning a shop in Bakersfield I thought it was a great opportunity to bring our donut here and start something new,” she said. “It’s a good place, I like the people, they’re amazing.”
It hasn’t taken long for the new owner to put her touch on Tea Donuts. There are new recipes, straight from their Foster’s location in Bakersfield, there is also the family love and care put into each donut. The proper-method includes preparing the dough at 10 P.M. each night in order for it to rise properly before making the donuts fresh in the morning.
“My dad has been making donuts since before I was born, when my family came to America that’s what they learned to do, they’ve probably been doing it for over 40 years by now,” she said.
After emigrating from Cambodia to the United States, her family learned the business in other shops before taking the plunge and becoming business owners 15 years ago. The next natural progression is to the purchase of Tea Donuts and the opportunity to work in Tehachapi, a community that Chantha has fell in love with quickly.
“I love Bakersfield but just being here (in Tehachapi) excites me…everyone is so happy, I love it.”
Part of the business plan with the new Tea Donuts is communicating with customers on what they would like to see on the menu and also suggesting new things to try when they come into the shop. New blueberry donuts, blueberry old fashioned and blueberry cake along with ham and cheese stuffed croissants and “cronuts” (donuts made with croissant dough) are among the newly-popular items.
Of course a donut shop is not complete without coffee and Sokny Lay has invested in a new coffee system with a wide variety for customers to choose from along with a loyalty card program for frequent visitors.
Tea Donuts is located at 807 Tucker Road Suite B next to Rite Aid, they are open seven days a week from 4 AM to 5 PM.
Safe City Distinction Works Well With Economic Investment
January 29, 2019
Last week, The National Council for Home Safety and Security named the City of Tehachapi as the safest City in Kern County and the 44th-safest city in the State of California in their 2019 ‘Safest Cities in California’ Report.
In determining the rankings, the council reviewed the most-recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with the Police Adequacy variable which relates total crimes to the number of police employees. The report notes the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. Both scores were combined to determine their rankings.
The City of Tehachapi ranked 44th out of the 265-ranked California cities named in the report, the highest among all other cities in Kern County.
The role public safety plays in economic development cannot be understated. Many Economic Development Corporations and partnerships throughout California tout their region’s record as a safe place to live and do business in their online materials to entice new business owners to their area.
Nationally, economic development trends tend to follow those of public safety. In a few of the nation’s most-economically challenged cities, public safety has led the charge for economic recovery. In Paterson, N.J., Mayor Andre Sayegh has been helping lead that area’s recovery for years as a councilmember and now mayor. He recently told WPIX in New York “If you address public safety, economic development will follow.”
Similarly in Camden, N.J., a recent report stated that after 50 years of social and economic decline Camden is experiencing a renaissance. The new policing initiatives launched focused on a community based approach with priority to build community relationships which has led to a reduction in crime and driving outside investments into Camden.
In Dallas, the city’s efforts to pursue a new headquarters for Nokia was met with some questioning as the ability to police the neighborhood where the development was proposed was brought up. The questions were valid, would the employees feel safe in an area that was going to increase by 2300 employees and potential for growth in the next several years?
Fortunately for Tehachapi this wasn’t a major turnaround from a public safety standpoint, but combined with award-winning policing and investigative tactics, a prioritization of public safety and economic development efforts the climate is safe for investors and employees.
Additionally, economic development benefits law enforcement as increased sales tax dollars keep public safety budgets strong and with the ability to expand as the needs of the community increase. Without that nexus, many cities must first work to attract sales tax generators before investing in policing. In Tehachapi that relationship has growth reasonably, together.
In the last 10 years sales tax in Tehachapi has grown 49%, in relation, expenditures invested by the City into public safety have increased 32% during that same time frame. Also, as major retailers and other large-scale projects enter the community, there are oftentimes public safety costs and fees associated with the applications to ensure both the investments and the community are protected at an appropriate level.
Not unlike many others in the State that are awarded status as safe cities, the City of Tehachapi will use that distinction as a major benefit for those looking to invest in our community. Taking advantage of one important quality of life factor to assist those looking to bring investments that benefit the community as a whole.
Home Sales Values/Building Shows Strong But Reasonable Growth
January 15, 2019
As the economy thrived in 2018, the impact of some of that prosperity was found in the local real estate as well as the construction projects in the City of Tehachapi.
The City pays close attention to the real estate market within the City limits and also issues new building permits as well as remodel permits for the commercial and residential projects. Each project includes a valuation of the work being completed at the time of permitting.
In 2018, real estate numbers within the City showed 143 single-family home sales with an average closing price of $260,143, or an average of $162 per square foot. The two active housing tracts within the City fetched solid prices in 2018 and accounted for 34 new permits.
The average closing price in 2018 increased by just over $16,000 from 2017 where the average sales price was $243,721. According to the California Association of Realtors, home prices increased 1.5% statewide over the last 12 months with price growth slowing in the last few months of the year. Tehachapi’s price increase however isn’t indicative across the board on all sales, the median house within the City, which is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, had an average sales price last year of $185,000.
Respectable gains, leveling of prices in the last few months and a market that is still affordable for many potential home owners puts the Tehachapi market in solid position as 2019 unfolds and market trends begin to show themselves.
On the building front, the City issued over 250 permits for residential and commercial building projects with an overall permit valuation of $20,858,112. That amounts to $4 million more than 2017 ($16,259,166). The large commercial permit for Walmart, issued in July of 2018, was one of the largest-difference makers in that number.
The 2019 commercial market shows potential with the recent planning commission approvals of projects like Red Apple Pavilion, Townplace Suites by Marriott and Snow Orthodontics.
While both the real estate and development markets showed growth in 2018, the managed and reasonable nature of that growth shows a stability for the future and the potential to weather the market conditions in the coming year.
2018 Set The Stage For More Great Things in 2019
December 26, 2018
With the close of 2018, the City of Tehachapi Economic Development team would like to thank all of those who have taken an interest in the economic situation in the City over the last 12 months.
Economic development is a delicate balancing act between attraction of new businesses and the retention and expansion efforts of those already established. Tehachapi is no exception to that rule and as a result of a strong economy in 2018, we were blessed to be able to address both with success.
Plenty of congratulations are in order for new small businesses that cut ribbons in 2018, some were brand new ventures, others the culminations of life-long dreams. Expansions were the norm as well with Bakersfield-based businesses opening Tehachapi locations while others from areas in Los Angeles and Orange counties came here because of logistics, costs and quality of life reasons. It all plays into what makes Tehachapi a great place to do business.
2018’s health care boom in the City will be a major economic driver for years to come. The new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital is expanding employment to over 300 employees and attracting new professionals from all over the country. Dignity Health opened their first Tehachapi clinic joining Omni Family Health and Kaiser Permanente to provide the variety and level of care never-before-seen in our community.
Downtown attracted private-investment with the purchase of 228 Tehachapi Blvd. by World Wind and Solar. The City’s oldest commercial building has housed everything from a hotel to a hardware store and it is currently being remodeled as the new headquarters for WWS, who provides renewable energy project support and maintenance across the nation. Construction also started on the Stray Leaves Vineyard tasting room in the old First Interstate Bank building on Green and F Streets. Nearby purchases of the former St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store building, and the former Moose Lodge on F Street will ultimately lead to more office and event space as well as Downtown dining options. There is also the nearly-completed renovation of 301 S. Green Street into an acting academy and barber shop. All private-investment making improvements in historic Downtown Tehachapi.
Of course the construction of Walmart which started in July is having an economic impact. Hotels and restaurants are busy, there are construction crews calling Tehachapi home during the process and spending money locally. Once the dust settles and the store opens there will be over 200 full and part-time jobs available. Of course, the retail landscape will shift a little as well with more options available locally and less-money being spent in surrounding communities. Other Tehachapi businesses will benefit as studies have shown that Walmart brings with them an increase in local business licenses and a trend of the money being saved by consumers being spent elsewhere within the community, benefiting small and large businesses alike.
We saw industries continue to grow as the tech sector moved into Tehachapi in force with the addition of new businesses like Race Communications, Global Communications 2000 and Advance Network Solutions. Dignified Home Loans opened a second office and First American Title expanded into a new location on Tehachapi Blvd. both to meet the needs of a thriving real estate market.
Education continues to play an important part in local workforce development. Tehachapi High School opened their new STEAM Center to attract student interest in a variety of fields, especially those associated with nearby aerospace industries. Cerro Coso Community College continues to expand offerings with dual enrollment and certificate programs while Jacobsen Middle School successfully broke ground on a new sixth-grade center to accelerate learning on their campus.
2018 laid the groundwork for much to be completed in 2019 and while economies are subject to a variety of factors; with strong public and private investments locally and a focus on both business attraction and expansion, our goal is that Tehachapi continues to be a great place to run a business and provide the foundation for more local success stories as a result.
Unemployment Drops, How Does Small Business Address the Labor Shortage?
December 11, 2018
When the December unemployment numbers were released by the California Employment Development Department, the City of Tehachapi’s unemployment dropped to 4.8%, one of the lowest in recent memory.
More and more it has become apparent that anyone who really wants a job, has a job. This is also creating opportunities for employees to shift their priorities and seek new employment, leaving business owners in a never-ending recruitment cycle as the need for quality workers increases.
Tehachapi is dealing with a labor shortage of sorts and preparing for the influx of new retail jobs with the addition of Walmart (approximately 300 jobs), Towneplace Suites by Marriott (jobs to be determined) and the expansion of several small businesses in the community. Tehachapi is a short drive from other communities in Kern County where the unemployment rate is higher, (California City 14.1%, Rosamond 7.4%) and traditionally they are a part of the Tehachapi labor pool, but the total number of eligible workers remains small.
This issue is being faced all over the Nation with a strong economy and small business expansions creating a labor shortage especially for small businesses.
A recent blog post by The Motley Fool, an investment and business advice website cited that seven in 10 small businesses plan on expanding in 2019 and 27% of those plan on additional hires as a result. There simply aren’t enough workers to fill the vacancies; pain many feel locally and nationally.
Some of the tips the blog post shared for small businesses seeking new employees:
- Offering a more flexible workplace (shifting hours, expanded time off).
- Recruiting more on social media.
- Paying more.
- Promoting how the business impacts the local community and highlighting charitable work.
- Hiring an outside firm to help in recruiting.
Several more ideas and workforce training methods were also discussed. Read the entire post from The Motley Fool here.
Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Opens Doors and Economic Opportunity
November 26, 2018
Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley officially opened for patient care on Wednesday, November 7th and held and official grand opening ribbon cutting on November 13th.
The long-awaited medical facility replaced a 64-year old facility in Downtown Tehachapi with a state-of-the art critical care facility featuring an emergency room, intensive care unit, helipad, general surgery and several other area previously unavailable in Tehachapi.
The new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital is employing over 200 at the new facility and has been attracting medical talent from all over the United States as the facility continues to expand services. The presence of Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley in the Capital Hills area has already attracted developers for supporting projects such as extended stay hotel options.
The economic impact of the new hospital will be seen on several fronts once established for the long term. As previously mentioned the need for new physicians and medical professionals is attracting new talent to the area, bringing with it new home sales and residents. The impact of having several hundred workers on site during various shifts will create new opportunities for businesses surrounding the hospital and open up future development in the area.
Health care continues to be one of the fastest job growth sectors in Kern County with the Bakersfield Metro Service Area (including Tehachapi) adding 1600 jobs in the industry since September of 2017 according to the latest report by the California Employment Development Department.
For more information about the services now available in Tehachapi with the opening of the new hospital visit the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley website.
October Sees Business Expansion, Milestones & New Beginnings
October 30, 2018
The month of October was a successful one for three businesses in the City of Tehachapi with two new locations opening and a third celebrating a milestone anniversary.
On October 17th Jake’s Steakhouse celebrated 15 years in business in Downtown Tehachapi. Owner Barbara Ferrante was honored by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tehachapi for her community presence over that span.
Ferrante purchased the restaurant when it was ‘The Garden Café’ but admitted “I’m a steak person,” and eventually changed the restaurant’s name and menu to reflect her tastes which were a hit in the community. Ferrante and Jake’s Steakhouse were recently honored as “Best Date Place,” by the Tehachapi News Reader’s Poll.
On October 18th, John the Plumber expanded his operations in the City of Tehachapi opening a new office at 225 East H Street. Along with being a successful plumbing contractor, owner John Nelson also recently purchase a septic pumping truck and has started accepting jobs in that area of the field as well.
The former “Small Business of the Year” winner says the support he’s received from the City of Tehachapi and the community has helped his business thrive.
“They’ve been great, it’s a hometown-thing and you’ve got to love it,” Nelson said. “Nobody is above anyone in Tehachapi which is nice. We’re neighbors, we’re friends, we get along, and it’s just a beautiful place to live.”
John the Plumber is another new tenant on H Street which has recently seen new businesses created and is slated for additional public improvements like curbs and lighting on the south side of H Street in the coming year.
Joe’s Dry Cleaning had their official ribbon-cutting grand opening on October 24th at their new location on 979 West Valley Blvd. Suite 4. This new dry cleaning service addresses a growing need in the community and is located in the Tehachapi Loop Shopping Center behind Fastrip.
Rural Economic Development Exchange in Tehachapi A Success
October 9, 2018
This past summer, the California Association of Local Economic Development selected the City of Tehachapi as the host site for their first 'Rural Economic Development Exchange.'
The event drew economic development professionals from all over the State to Tehachapi to discuss the latest trends, issues, legislation and best practices in rural communities. As part of the event, participants were treated to a wind energy tour hosted by World Wind and Solar President Nikki Cummings. The tour through the Tehachapi Pass included information about the history and present-status of the world's largest-producing wind energy area.
Following the tour, a wine reception was held at Triassic Vineyards highlighting one of Tehachapi's other growing industries. The tour and reception allowed the hosts to showcase Tehachapi from one end to the other including the revitalized Downtown and bustling Tucker Road commercial corridor.
On Wednesday, September 26, the idea exchange kicked off at Slice of Life Enrichment Center where attendees talked about new legislative needs, best practices and successes in their communities and the most important issues for rural economic development. There were also presentations by state and federal partners including the Small Business Association and the United States Department of Agriculture.
"It was an absolute pleasure being here in the City of Tehachapi, they were great hosts, we learned a lot about their economic development successes and opportunities," said CALED President/CEO Gurbax Sahota. "It was also a great opportunity to bring rural communities together from across the state and talk about what we can do to help California communities thrive."
Dignity Health Opens Establishes Tehachapi Medical Practice
August 29, 2018
When Dr. Mark Pesche retired after decades of medical service in Tehachapi, it didn’t take long to find a new care provider for the practice located at 707 W. Valley Blvd. Dignity Health, the fifth-largest health care provider in the nation is the new tenant, and will bring their excellent care to Tehachapi residents.
Isaac Lin, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Dignity Health says Tehachapi has been a market that has been on their expansion radar for quite some time. Dignity Health had a tremendous relationship with Dr. Pesche so the opportunity to bring services to Tehachapi came to fruition with the most recent acquisition.
“Dr. Pesche has been a pillar in the Tehachapi community and it will be our goal to continue that level of service,” Lin said.
Initial plans include a primary care physician along with specialty coverage such as optometry and diabetes treatment. Lin says Dignity Health will respond and work to meet the needs of the community as they establish their Tehachapi location. Dignity Health is well-established in the San Joaquin Valley operating Mercy and Memorial Hospitals along with an extensive network of physicians.
Dignity Health is made up of more than 60,000 caregivers and staff who deliver excellent care to diverse communities in 21 states. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California.
Tehachapi Attracts Top Investment Opportunities
August 14, 2018
In a small community, the term “franchise” often scares those who see a corporation without understanding the entire story.
Truth is, a franchise is just that, an opportunity for a local investor to open a nationally-recognized chain, investing their own money while creating jobs and relying on support from their franchise to keep their business successful. Many chains deal almost exclusively with local franchisees which provides a local connection to well-established brands.
This year, as part of Entrepreneur Magazine's "Franchise 500" the top 50 brands in America were identified. Their rankings were based on five pillars: cost and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength and financial strength and stability. The link to the full article and rankings can be found online.
10 of brans are already located in the City of Tehachapi, some of which have been established for years while Tehachapi has four of the top-five franchises actively doing business. There are also a few more on the list that are currently planning Tehachapi expansions (we can’t tell you who yet, that would ruin the surprise).
Here are the current Entrepreneur rankings (Top 50) of brands already located in the City of Tehachapi:
Pizza Hut (47th)
Jack in the Box (43rd)
Baskin Robbins (41st)
Keller Williams Realty (22nd)
Taco Bell (8th)
UPS Store (4th)
Dunkin’ Donuts (3rd)
The City of Tehachapi is actively engaged with corporate partners seeking franchisees for our market. If you’re interested in investing in a franchise, or interested in an independent business, please reach out to our economic development department at 822-2200 ex. 121 or email Corey Costelloe.
Walmart Construction Process To Bring Economic Impact
July 31, 2018
Eleven West Builders from Escondido, Calif. was awarded the contract to construct the new Walmart in Tehachapi and has started work on the Tucker Road site.
According to Craig Stewart, Superintendent for Eleven West, there are normally 200 workers on site during a Walmart project and he expects a similar number for Tehachapi. While he plans to hire some Kern County subcontractors, Stewart says that many of the workers will be staying temporarily in the community.
While the financial impact of the Walmart store and sales won’t be seen for over a year, the impact of construction activities will be felt almost immediately. 200 workers on site will be purchasing meals, gas, hotel rooms and shopping locally. The impact to restaurants, especially those on the Tucker Road corridor, the City’s main commercial center, is expected to be vast.
Several business owners and managers were informed by the City about the anticipated increase in traffic and spending so preparations for additional staff could be made. This is the largest commercial construction project in the history of Tehachapi and with it comes economic impact.
City officials in the East Kern community of Ridgecrest mentioned a similar impact from Eleven West’s presence in their community when asked about the subject. One of their biggest benefactors were their local hotels who saw occupancy rates increase as contractors and workers stayed in the community.
The 157,000 square-foot store is expected to open in summer of 2019.
Global Communications 2000 Joins New IT Businesses in Tehachapi
July 17, 2018
When Judy Magana sought out a new location for her company Global Communications 2000, she looked all over the country, her family’s heart eventually settled in Tehachapi. That decision was not only a lifestyle choice, but also a beneficial one for Tehachapi businesses who will have the services of an internet broker to help their operations.
“We could have picked anywhere in the United States,” Magana said. “And here we are, in Tehachapi.”
Magana’s story echoes that of many new locals and those who are expanding their business operations to Tehachapi. Their previous home in Sunset Beach, Calif. became too crowded, cost of living increased and with that came a myriad of social and political issues. After searching both in person and over the internet, the decision was made to relocate to Tehachapi, and provide their services for a growing business community.
“We are very excited for what we can bring to this community,” she said.
What Global Communications 2000 provides is brokerage service for internet carriers to businesses along with other needs like business IT infrastructure and service, data backup, security and voice over IP phone systems. As a broker that works with all major carriers and subsidiaries, Global Communications 2000 boasts the ability to provide fiber services to businesses not available with singular carriers. That stems from over 20 years of relationships with the major internet service providers.
Global Communications 2000 maintains a headquarters in Sunset Beach, but they have expanded their operations into Tehachapi which is being operated as a home business for the time being, with the potential for an office should the need arise.
For a complete list of services available, as well as an impressive list of carriers that Global Communications 2000 works with, check out their website Global Communications or email Judy.
Global Communications 2000 is the third internet and data services business to expand into Tehachapi this year joining Race Communications who opened a new headquarters on East Tehachapi Blvd., and Advanced Network Solutions, who will officially open their West Tehachapi Blvd. office in the Big Poppa’s Restaurant building next week.
All three local businesses now provide the valuable tools to not only keep Tehachapi residents and business connected to the world, but provide a high level of support and service to allow them to function and expand into our community.
Advanced Network Solutions to Open Tehachapi Branch
June 26, 2018
Advanced Network Solutions is committed to establishing roots in Tehachapi. An already successful IT and infrastructure company in Bakersfield, they’ll officially be opening their Tehachapi location on July 25th, with a goal of providing Tehachapi-based IT solutions to local businesses who are currently outsourcing their IT needs to Bakersfield or the Antelope Valley.
“Tehachapi is a city where there is a great deal of opportunity and I’m hoping there will be a local appeal to having an office set up with local people employed working out of that office,” said President Anthony Tobin. “I think it’s a better fit for any Tehachapi business to be able to have their IT technician address their needs and make a visit within 10 minutes. I don’t think Bakersfield-based IT fits the needs of every Tehachapi business well, we’re looking to fill that niche.”
Having the Tehachapi location run by Tehachapi-natives is also important and was a major driving force for this decision to expand into the Tehachapi market. Branch Manager Becky Byrd lives in Tehachapi and has been driving to Bakersfield for the last several years. This new location allows Byrd to be able to not only expand the offerings of Advanced Network Solutions, but also eliminate her commute to Bakersfield.
With one Tehachapi resident already on the payroll, the hopes for Advanced Network Solutions is to staff the office with other Tehachapi IT professionals looking to reduce their commute as well. Should business go very well, the hope is that in three to four years there could be up to 10 technicians working out of the Tehachapi branch.
The opportunities for a company like Advanced Network Solutions is the small and medium business community and their need for IT support. With the digital age upon us, even smaller organizations with a few computers, video systems or phones need the support of a company like Advanced as most of those functions are tied to IT infrastructure.
Their new location will be at 1001 West Tehachapi Boulevard Number B100 near Big Poppa’s Restaurant. That location’s visibility was a major driving factor in selecting that site. With the addition of Advanced Network Solutions and an additional tenant undergoing renovations, only one suite remains before that building returns to full capacity.
Advanced Network Solutions is already involved with the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and will have a ribbon cutting at their Tehachapi branch on July 25th at 4:30 p.m. It’s that sort of local touch that Tobin hopes will sell the community on their commitment to the area.
“It’s a local presence, people in the office are local, they are always here, in our community and a part of Tehachapi,” he said. “We want to get away from the model that IT services have to come up the hill from Bakersfield, we want to find people in Tehachapi that want to work here; built and maintained with Tehachapi’s own.”
City Represented at ICSC RECON in Las Vegas
May 31, 2018
The City of Tehachapi’s Economic Development team attended the International Council of Shopping Center’s (ICSC) annual retail convention (RECON) in Las Vegas May 20-23.
This is the largest retail convention in the world and includes restaurants, retailers, developers, real estate interests and hotels. The City met with retailers that have current plans for the Tehachapi market as well as a host of others that are considering Tehachapi in their future expansion plans.
The additions of new retail, a new hospital, increased traffic on Highway 58 as well as a steadily-growing population makes this market an attractive location for many of the nation’s top brands.
Many of the current retailers already in Tehachapi were initially contacted at meetings held at ICSC in previous years. City staff makes many contacts at this show before following up later with potential locations as new development or existing real estate becomes available.
According to ICSC, this year’s RECON was the highest-attended event since the Great Recession.
Two Local Businesses Earn SBDC Kern County Awards
May 8, 2018
Tehachapi businesses were once again highlighted as part of National Small Business Week at an awards ceremony last week in Bakersfield. The awards, presented by the CSU Bakersfield Small Business Development Center covered several categories across Kern County with a pair of Tehachapi businesses taking home honors.
On the City front, Johnny’s Take-N-Bake Pizza owners Samantha Johnson and Amy Langston were received the “Rising Star” award for their efforts since purchasing the long-established Tehachapi restaurant last year. The sisters experienced tragedy when three members of their family perished in June Lake in 2016. They used this business opportunity to not only rebound, but help create a non-profit for other families who deal with tragedy and funeral expenses.
“After our family passed away we kind of lost hope, we really didn’t know what to do with ourselves or the meaning of life,” Samantha said during her acceptance speech in Bakersfield. “When the opportunity to buy Johnny’s came up we just kind of ran with it.”
The new owners admitted they knew absolutely nothing about running a take and bake pizza restaurant, but they relied heavily on the SBDC and the community support.
“Jay Thompson (SBDC consultant) has been our backbone for everything, every business question, advice, he’s just been absolutely amazing,” said Johnson. “And the community of Tehachapi, and everyone who has supported us.
Johnny’s Take-N-Bake continues to add new menu items including salads and subs to go and recently added the health drink Kombucha to their offerings. A non-traditional addition to a pizza restaurant, but the owners have already found success in this new formula and are considered up-and-coming business owners to watch in our community.
South Street Digital was also the recipient of the “Family Owned Business of the Year” award. The graphic design and printing company provides work for residents and businesses all over the Tehachapi Valley including several in the City of Tehachapi. Owner Lydia Chaney is also actively involved in the community and serves as President of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council.
Chaney, her partner Audrey Post and nephew Eric Horn are the only three employees and proudly give everything they have to their family owned business.
“It’s just the three of us in the shop and we all give 200-percent every day because we love what we do, it’s like going to have fun every day,” Chaney said in the acceptance speech. “Our biggest achievement has been our customers, we love them, they are the best and we just hope we can continue to serve them the way we have and we look forward to being in business for them for many more years to come.”
Real Estate Prices Strong, City of Tehachapi Still Affordable
April 25, 2018
The City of Tehachapi continues to be an affordable place to purchase a home, while prices continue to rise during the first four months of 2018, the competitive prices keeps Tehachapi as an attractive option for many buyers.
To date there have been 33 single-family home sales in 2018 with an average closing price of $263,728. The median sale price since the start of 2018 sits at $248,033. The average listing price in the City of Tehachapi has risen to $268,258.
These latest numbers reflect an 8.9% increase in average sales prices from the same period in 2017 when there were 36 home sales with an average closing price of $241,258. The median home sales price a year ago was $232,419, indicating a 6.5% increase since this point last year. Homes were selling for about five dollars less per square foot and being listed for an average of $246,860.
While the numbers and dollar amounts are a telling sign of a strong real estate market, inventory and how quickly homes sell is another. So far in 2018, the average time on the market is only 39 days, that’s down from 50 days at the same time last year.
In terms of inventory, there are currently 16 listings available in the City with an average listing price of $239,661. It’s a great time to sell but inventory challenges can limit the options for many home owners looking to take advantage locally of their home values.
The higher prices are still considered rather affordable given the housing prices in many other areas in the State of California. The ability to get more house for less has made Tehachapi an attractive place for home buyers who are looking to capitalize on a better quality of life.
Tehachapi’s prices are near but still a tad below the growth rate of nearby markets. The Los Angeles Times recently reported a 10.6% increase in the median sales prices during the month of February in the six counties of Southern California. Some experts predict a leveling of prices Statewide later in 2018 as a result of mortgage rate increases.
Data gathered from January 1,2018-April 24, 2018. Tehachapi City MLS data.
DC's RV Center Opens Tehachapi Location
April 5, 2018
Since their inception in 2002, DC’s RV Center has been on the move, and now their latest move is a move up, now offering RV service and repair in the City of Tehachapi at their newest location on 610 Bailey Ct.
DC’s roots, coming from owner Don Collins, began as a mobile RV repair business. After a few successful years their first shop opened on Belle Terrace in Bakersfield in 2005. Within the next few years they had expanded and opened new locations throughout Bakersfield.
Tehachapi customers were a big part of the client base, and they had requested that DC’s RV Center come to Tehachapi. After a few years of searching, the business climate was right for another expansion, and the new DC’s RV Center in Tehachapi opened in March.
“I already serviced a lot of the customers and I love, love, love the area,” Collins said. “We would have been here sooner but we needed to have the right location, it needed to be right for the customer. Easy in, easy out, if we have three or four RVs show up at the same time, we have to be able to accommodate that.”
The new location accommodates that nicely, complete with a working bay as well as storage yard for vehicles waiting to be serviced. There is also a small retail space inside the new location that sells some of the most-needed items for RV owners.
The word is spreading quickly about the DC’s RV Center Tehachapi location, especially as the Summer RV travel season approaches. The maintenance and repair options, as well as parts and expertise now available in Tehachapi help save many local RV enthusiasts trips outside of the area for the critical care of their vehicles.
Collins says this the operations of his Bakersfield location continue led by his wife and son while he himself has taken the Tehachapi store on as his own personal project. He hopes to continue to expand offerings like the Interstate Batteries center he recently unveiled, and potentially mobile repair once the business gets established.
“This is my baby, this is something that I have a passion for and by golly I’m going to make it work,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”
Dignified Home Loans Opens Second Tehachapi Office
March 27, 2018
With a growing real estate market, Dignified Home Loans saw a demand for a second location, adding to their Tehachapi branches with the newest location at 1054 W. Valley Blvd., Suite B.
This new office resides in the former Merle Norman Cosmetics building and includes an impressive remodel of the facility adding three offices, front reception area and a large conference room. The second location is in response to increased space demands at their original location at 801 W. Tehachapi Blvd.
“There is optimism in our real estate market and where our market is going, said Jeff LaMonte, Regional Business Development Manager for Dignified Home Loans. “Tehachapi is faring better than most in terms of the economic influences working in our favor.”
Having two functioning locations within a few miles of one another is rare, LaMonte says Tehachapi’s demand is unique.
“We are doing very well and we were able to get some talented new partners on board which increased our demand for space. This affords us a better chance to be visible in terms of where the second office is located, the street visibility and even being located next to Chicago Title.”
Along with the economic factors of the local market, Dignified Home Loans says the business climate of the community has helped tremendously.
“The fact that it is extremely easy to do business and start things like site selection and permitting, the City of Tehachapi has been the most favorable and easy to work with.”
LaMonte’s regional oversight includes a large territory of Central California from the Northern portions of Los Angeles County to Redding. He says Tehachapi’s support is unlike any other.
“It’s obvious that the City is invested in the business as much as the business is invested in the marketplace and that is rare in many of the places I deal with.”