Economic Development News
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.”