Economic Development News
Smart(er) City: How Public and Private Sector Technologies Are Being Embraced
October 12, 2023
“Smart City” is a buzz term associated with a city’s desire to transition operations and actions in both the public and private sector into more tangible and efficient results with a targeted outcome in mind.
Many years ago, the term was associated simply with connectivity, which mostly meant a quality fiber-optic internet connection for residents and businesses, along with public Wi-Fi to encourage connectivity and business operations.
While those elements remain, recent technological advancements in artificial intelligence, labor, automation and work performance have opened the door for the City of Tehachapi to start looking towards the applicability of those advances in our own operations. Additionally, those same advancements are not limited to government operations, and offer the private sector and many partners the same ability to make data-driven decisions for a more efficient and productive outcome.
The City of Tehachapi is leading the way in using data-driven decisions in many areas of our operations, an effort that began with Economic Development a few years ago with the addition of Placer.ai location-based data to assist in the recruitment of new and retention of existing businesses. As the platform as grown, that technology not only assists in understanding the trade area demographics of the City, but also assists with decisions regarding traffic, development site plans and travel patterns to plan for safer projects.
New technologies in other City departments are also being tested to assist in delivering better services to residents and customers while compiling useful information to help in operations and better-addressing issues before they become larger problems for our residents.
In the private sector, new technology, especially that in the food service industry, are offering the potential for more efficient business operations. With the rising costs of labor in the State of California, including the recently signed bill by Governor Gavin Newsom that required a $20 an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers, competition for food service labor will increase. Couple that with the necessity to pass rising staff costs on to customers and many corporate entities are exploring additional options that could soon be present in Tehachapi.
Recently, Chipotle announced their testing of an automated process to build all salad and bowl orders. One of their automated bots is already in place, known as “Chippy” that produces the chain’s tortilla chips. Burger King has unveiled a new store design and concept that will among other things, increase the efficiency of their drive thrus while also adding additional kiosks for ordering inside their stores, technology that they had previously been slow to adopt.
While they do not have a location in Tehachapi, the White Castle chain recently signed an agreement with Samsung and SoundHound to provide voice-enabled AI enabled dynamic menu boards using SoundHound’s proprietary voice-recognition technology. Should these dynamic menu boards work, it is very likely they will be adopted by every major fast food chain since the drive thru generates the majority of quick service restaurant business.
Self-checkout technology, nothing new but recently improved with additional monitoring and capabilities, has become commonplace in grocery stores but is also expanding to other businesses. Recently Tehachapi’s Flying J Travel Center replaced registers with self-checkout kiosks that are only assisted by an employee, allowing for quicker check outs and an allocation of labor resources to other areas of the vast travel center that has served over 600,000 customers in the last 12 months.
Smaller automations and technology are more prevalent now than ever in small establishments as many local restaurants utilize mobile card readers for diner checkout or print customer specific QR codes on table checks to allow customers to scan and pay via apps such as Toast. The “smart tickets” so to speak, allow for systems to capture what items were sold, this data can later be used to assist a small business owner in better understanding inventory and the performance of certain menu items, a valuable tool in times of higher food costs.
These types of technologies and data-driven decisions are applicable among almost all business sectors and will advance as all cities continue to grow smarter. Whether it be AI or other automation, finding ways to increase efficiency is crucial for all businesses, including small business owners who traditionally have tight profit margins. Similarly, as our private sector partners continue to embrace advances that work for them, the City of Tehachapi will do the same, seeking ways to become a Smart(er) city in the future with hopes to formalize that vision in the very near future with community stakeholder and partner input.
Small Business Sign Grant Program
September 26, 2023
The Tehachapi City Council unanimously approved the creation of the ‘Economic Development Support Fund’ and its first grant opportunity, the city’s ‘Small Business Sign Grant Program,’ on September 18th.
The sign grant program is available to small businesses in the City of Tehachapi and works as a reimbursement fund where accepted applicants can have a portion of their sign purchase costs reimbursed with the City minimum of $500 and a maximum of $3,000. The entire list of rules and regulations can be found on the Sign Grant Improvement Program website.
The purpose of the program is to continue to unique look and feel of Tehachapi commercial signs while assisting small business owners with one of their most costly items when opening or maintaining their business. Each sign must adhere to the City of Tehachapi sign standards and go through the staff and planning commission approvals as applicable. The details of sign standards are also available on the website, but staff is available to answer questions and review proposed designs from applicants.
To assist with this, the application process includes one-on-one meetings with applicants to verify eligibility, discuss designs, potential costs and the sign approval process. The ‘Economic Development Support Fund’ has been allocated $30,000 for this initial Small Business Sign Grant Program. This funding was made available via ‘Measure S’ funds, the additional one-cent sales tax initiative approved by voters in November of 2022. As part of the outreach process, residents identified “protecting local businesses and jobs” as one of the funding priorities for the additional revenue. The goal of this program is to assist small businesses with sign costs so their capital can be used elsewhere in the startup or operation of their small business.
For more information about the Sign Improvement Grant Program please visit our website for details and the application process.
Small Business Applications Grow in the City of Tehachapi
August 31, 2023
Since July 1st, the City of Tehachapi has received 12 new business license applications half of which have opened or are planning to open new locations in the City in the coming weeks. Others have included relocations or change of ownerships. All the applicants were small businesses.
A few of the new businesses include Hamilton Firearms on F and Mill Streets, Tonics, a wellness company that has expanded their presence from an upstart at The Village Collective to their new location at 675 Tucker #E. Additionally, Miele Apothecary, formerly a vendor at the Tehachapi Farmer’s Market has opened their doors at 121 East F Street next to Thai’Hachapi. The retail location is the second to take space in the building in the last two months following the opening of One Fine Day Café two doors down.
The investment in small business continues to be a major indicator of a healthy business environment in the City of Tehachapi. Meanwhile, some recent license requests have come in as change of ownerships as well as employees have purchased and taken over businesses from their former employers. This healthy ecosystem is crucial for small business.
Many of these new businesses will be featured separately in coming articles with a focus on their journey from an idea to entrepreneur and their vision for their business in the City of Tehachapi. We look forward to showcasing their stories, services and offerings in the coming months.
New Data Sheds Light On Overnight Tehachapi Tourism
Tourism continues to evolve in Tehachapi, from the expanded wine region on the outskirts of the City to the special events and festivals inside the city limits, Tehachapi is supplanting itself as a getaway within a relative short drive of most of California.
Newly available travel and tourism data from Placer.ai paints a picture of Tehachapi tourism offering a reasonably priced, and reasonably distanced destination from some of the neighboring more metropolitan areas in Southern California.
In a 12-month period from May of 2022 through April of 2023, more than 84,000 overnight visitors came to Tehachapi accounting for 170,000 overnight stays as the highest average stay length of 1-2 nights. Of course, this data is not exclusive to hotel stays, also accounting for accommodations at campgrounds, friends and family homes as well as short term vacation rentals.
The visitors are broken down by geographic regions (core-based statistical area or CBSA) with the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area accounting for the most visitors (17,000) and the most nights stayed (43,000). The region also accounts for one of the highest daily disposable median incomes per person at $205. The second most accounted for region is the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CBSA (8,000 visitors) and 17,500 total nights stayed. The median daily disposable income for that CBSA is $177 per person per day.*
The nights stayed for the most-recent year data is a three-percent increase from the prior year while the number of visitors decreased by eight percent. These numbers indicate that more overnight stays are occurring for a longer period than the year prior. The economic impact of the visitors and estimated spending of those visitors is $33.1 million.^
The value of this data is not simply in the sheer numbers, but the demographic information of those visitors so local businesses, hospitality providers, special event organizers and attractions can tailor their marketing efforts to those demographics. An estimated 46,000 of the overnight visitors are aged 31-40 while another 33,000 are aged 41-54.
The takeaway from most of this data is concludes that many overnight visitors are 31-54 coming from the Southern California region with over $200 a day in disposable daily income. You can see more details in the graphics below including additional areas that are frequenting Tehachapi with overnight stays.
*The median disposable daily income is a dataset provided by STI Popstats which estimates Yearly Disposable Income at the Census block level. It is then aggregated by zip code and calculated at visits-based weighted average and divided by 365 to produce the result.
^This metric approximates the likely economic impact of visitors by multiplying the total number of ‘Visit Nights’ by visitors’ Median Daily Disposable Income according to STI Popstats.
Two New Restaurants Build on Family Legacy
July 11, 2023
Two small businesses recently opened in the City of Tehachapi filling vacancies and adding another layer of café and food service to the community.
One Fine Day in Tehachapi Café opened on F Street in late June as the second restaurant owned and operated by Michael Toppeta , owner of 4 Seasons Café also in Downtown Tehachapi. He also has family ties to his One Fine Day in Tehachapi neighbor, ThaiHachapi. The café space had been vacant for a few years following the relocation of Tehachapi Flower Shop to Green Street. Toppeta has since taken the space and has added great new flavors of coffee, smoothies, other specialty drinks and small café fare including a variety of toasts, sandwiches and acai bowls. The space has already become popular destination for downtown tourists and locals as his interior decorations showcase the natural beauty of Tehachapi accented by our railroad history including a pair of model trains that run above the dining area, one for Union Pacific and one for BNSF.
One Fine Day is open Tuesday-Sunday 8AM-5PM.
Along the Tucker corridor, the former NYC Subs & Grill did not sit vacant long as recent residents to Tehachapi have expanded their pizza and subs empire to include our community adding the seventh location of “Two Brothers from Italy” to the Albertson’s shopping center. This newest location serves pizza by the slice or entire pie, calzones, subs, pasta and salads. This location joins four in North County San Diego, one in Vista and another in Big Pine as the latest addition to this family-owned chain.
Two Brothers from Italy was originally founded by Paolo and Franco LoMendico who came to New York in 1971 from Sicily. They moved west and opened their first location in 1972 in Huntington Beach. In 1989 Paolo started operating multiple restaurants, he passed that legacy onto his children who operate the seven locations today.
More details about their story and menu can be found on their website www.twobrothersfromitalypizza.com. There are a few inside tables and bar seats for dining in or on their small patio while many orders are placed for carry out. Their Tehachapi phone number is (661) 823-4004 for orders.
Two new small businesses, one building on a family legacy in Tehachapi while another has extended their family legacy into our community.
Who Are We? New Data Helps City of Tehachapi Understand Customers that Business Serves
June 13, 2023
One of the most valuable tools in economic development, and one of the most important skills, is matching business with potential customers. Business owners, developers and site selectors want to match their business with the customers that already exist in a city or a trade area while also considering the potential market to be captured.
There is a reason and a rationale behind every development and site placement decision. Pick the right site matched with the right demographic customer profile that matches a business and you will be successful. Guess at the results or anticipate some major change without proper research and potentially set a business up for failure.
In a secondary market like the City of Tehachapi, understanding the consumers in the City, surrounding unincorporated Tehachapi and other nearby communities (included in the City’s trade area), is paramount to assisting both large and small businesses into our area and providing the best opportunity for success.
That being said, who are we? Recent Census data and other data sets are painting a more complete picture about the City of Tehachapi and the City’s trade area in recent years thanks to evolving technology. Here’s a brief recap of who we are according to STI:Popstats, an accurate quarterly population and demographics dataset used in conjunction with the City of Tehachapi’s Placer.ai location-based data services.
In the City of Tehachapi Trade Area, the Median Household Income is $82,000, which is above the national average. The average household income is just over $106,000. Disposable income per household is just over $70,000, putting it above the national average. With those numbers also comes the 10% of the trade area considered to be below the poverty line. So, there is a variety in both income, disposable income and poverty levels within the customers in the City of Tehachapi trade area.
Creating the household income are job types, the trade area consists of the top industries as 17% in education, an additional 16.5% in the construction/mining industries, 15% in retail and 13% in public administration.
27 percent of households have children while the average household size is 2.63 (lets round up to three so we can count the full person). Ethnicity is broken down as follows: White (70%), Hispanic (21%), African American (3%), Asian (1%), Other (5%).
Education levels have increased significantly over the years with the addition of more skilled labor associated with employment sectors located around the Tehachapi area. Past High School, 30% have some college attended, 19% have a bachelor’s degree, 14% have an associates degree and 8% possess a post graduate degree of a masters or doctorate.
Driving and vehicle access are also important to business placement and site selection as some businesses are more geared towards a population that is used to driving, while others target walkable neighborhoods, usually reserved for more urban environments. In the case of the City of Tehachapi trade area, the population is very vehicle-dependent with nearly 80% possessing two or more vehicles per household.
Understanding these demographics and several others can be useful to both existing and new businesses while assisting with better knowledge of customer base within the City of Tehachapi trade area. Using this evidence-based approach, business owners and developers can target specific areas of the population for business recruitment and assist in retention efforts by better positioning goods and services available to the customers they serve.
STI:PopStats™ uses a unique and proprietary methodology that delivers the most dependable, field-tested population counts in the industry. STI:PopStats™ delivers estimates within .001% to the Census National figure.
Commercial Real Estate and Development in a Secondary Market
May 9, 2023
The commercial real estate and development markets continue to be impacted by national economic conditions, in a secondary market like the City of Tehachapi, those conditions can lead to a more challenging retail and restaurant recruitment effort as national brands scale back due to conditions.
Recently at a Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council meeting, the City of Tehachapi addressed this subject with a few recent interactions with developers and the reality of the conditions to recruit new business into the community.
From a former potential buyer of an entitled shopping center in the City of Tehachapi:
“We had to back out to due to high construction costs and not enough interest to offset those costs.”
Another broker representative with an entitled commercial development discussed some challenges with their project:
“We have had some people interested in the property however with increasing interest rates, that is becoming more challenging.”
With the most recent quarter-point interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve, the 10th rate hike in the last 14 months, the benchmark rate now sits between 5 and 5.25%, up from 0% in March of 2022 and now the highest interest rate in 16 years. Increased rates to this level and volatile supply and labor conditions have increased the price to not only get a loan from a bank, but physically build a project.
Additionally, bank failures that once served venture capitalists and investors such as Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank are causing additional funding challenges for commercial developers. Recently, Berkshire-Hathaway’s Charlie Munger told The Financial Times he worried about “bad loans” of troubled shopping malls and office buildings. On May 8th, CoStar News reported that the loan tied to WeWork’s San Francisco office has gone into default, a trend that some expect to continue and have ramifications throughout the banking industry.
Secondary Market Realities
In a secondary market like Tehachapi, most national expansions are reserved for more stable economic times as our market size sometimes requires more time to recoup the investment costs of either corporate or franchise-owned locations. A few years ago, a similar conversation with the national chicken chain Raising Cane’s suggested that since the company invests more money than many other chains on their site development, that a market like Tehachapi would take longer than the company was comfortable with to recoup that investment and see returns.
Historically, economic recessions usually mean higher sales for quick serve and fast-food restaurants, however, food prices have impacted even the historically “cheap” menus. This was seen in the recent earnings report from McDonald’s who posted positive first quarter earnings, but their CEO Chris Kempczinski went on record claiming the company was receiving “pushback” for higher prices and customers are buying fewer items than before as items per transaction have fallen.
Economic Development Strategy In The Wake of These Conditions
For the City of Tehachapi, the approach to recruitment will continue to be based on data-driven solutions to match tenants with the most successful sites available. This will also mean a relative slowdown in new business development that requires significant investment. At the upcoming ICSC conference in Las Vegas, the approach will continue to be relationship-driven as many of these companies take several years to develop in our community. While they may not be developing in the next 12-24 months, these opportunities to meet, educate and promote the City of Tehachapi has historically paid off with retail investment when the economy improves.
These unstable commercial real estate conditions do provide opportunities as well, as retail vacancies become available, reuse of these sites to bring in new business for a smaller investment than building new becomes a possibility for some if the location fits the proforma. Additionally, small businesses can benefit as well with lower rents or other expansion; if funding sources are not too challenging as previously discussed.
Fortunately, in the City of Tehachapi, small business continues to thrive. While some are dealing with a slow down due to cost increases and consumers spending a little less, new and expanded businesses have come to find a home in the city, others have also relocated as opportunities closer to their industry audience or target customers have come available. As with anything in economic development, this dynamic process continues to adapt to market conditions to provide the best possible service to the community.
Downtown Tehachapi's New Additions and New Opportunities
January 31, 2023
Downtown Tehachapi continues to evolve with the long-awaited opening of one business and the return of a dining favorite.
After several years of construction and development Stray Leaves Vineyard opened their tasting room on January 21st. The tasting room is the first to open in the City of Tehachapi joining fellow Tehachapi Mountain wine growers Triassic Vineyards, Dorner Family, Rancho Los Viajeros, Tehachapi Winery and Tehachapi Wine and Cattle with tasting rooms already open in the greater Tehachapi area.
Stray Leaves purchased the former bank building several years ago before undertaking the extensive rehab and remodel project. The tasting room is currently operating on Saturday’s from 3 P.M. to 9 P.M. and is located on the corner of Green and F Street downtown. This tasting room joins microbreweries LCB, Old West Brewing and Westlane Brewing in the City of Tehachapi highlighting locally-produced beer and wine.
Meanwhile after a short break from operation, Perfetto’s Italian Restaurant located next door to the Hitching Post Theater also reopened on January 20th for dinner service. The family-owned establishment is regularly juggling restaurant responsibilities with their nearby Petra Mediterranean restaurant. The restaurant is currently open once again Tuesdays-Saturdays from 4:30-8:00 PM.
The former 5 Hearts Quilt shop on Tehachapi Blvd. is under renovation to become the new home of Keller Williams Realty and Sage Ranch. The office was purchased in late 2021 and is expected to open in the coming months and renovations are completed.
The historic Talmarc Building located at 112 S Curry Street is for sale following the relocation of the former tenant. This historic building was once home to a variety of Tehachapi institutions and features 3,500 s.f., an art deco façade and several downstairs offices along with conference rooms and meeting space upstairs. It is zoned Downtown T-5, for specific uses see the Land Use Chart below.
In addition, Tehachapi Lawn, Garden and Equipment Center at 105 West H Street will soon be going out of business. The space currently occupied is for lease is also Zoned T-5. The property has the benefits of great visibility and recent public projects that added enhanced railroad crossings, sidewalks, fencing and lighting to pull the area into the walkability of Downtown. The new lease could also include the adjacent lot to the west, opening up opportunities for brewing, restaurants and entertainment.
For these and any business opportunity inquiries contact the City of Tehachapi at (661) 822-2200 ex. 121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Economic Development Year in Review and Trends to Watch in 2023
January 9, 2023
Despite an uncertain national economy hindered by inflation, supply challenges and interest rate hikes, there was plenty of economic growth in the City of Tehachapi in 2022.
Several small businesses in the retail sector opened or relocated in the City of Tehachapi in 2023, some of which are tied to the region’s wine and brewery industry which has assisted in the creation of two wine tour companies and associated businesses. Others included many new small retail shops targeting both tourists and residents.
On the large business front, the City saw a late slate of openings in the final quarter of the year with the TownePlace Suites by Marriott opening its doors following a two-year construction that was hindered by economic conditions brought on by COVID-19.
Nearby, the new Starbucks in Capital Hills opened which includes an additional 4,000 s.f. of retail space that is currently available for lease. This new location is suited to serve the bustling medical and hospitality sectors in Capital Hills along with the highway traffic along Highway 58 at the Mill Street exit. Within a few days of the end of 2022, Chipotle opened their location on Tucker Road near Panda Express. This project included a “Chipotlane” express pickup window for Chipotle App orders. This new pickup model is widely popular in secondary markets for Chipotle and now commonplace in their operations in markets comparable to Tehachapi. In addition, Chipotle’s investment in markets with a higher income-per-capita rate assists them in offsetting rising food costs by targeting consumers with higher income levels and therefore, less likely to be impacted by rising food costs.
The pre-order pickup window is a popular technological concept that could see some gaining traction in 2023 and beyond. With quick serve restaurants pushing customers to their mobile apps, could more long-established traditional drive-thru lanes be converted to digital pick-up windows? The labor market and employee costs, especially in the State of California could make that a reality in the coming years. Other technologies that have existed in larger communities such as Uber Eats and Doordash became more prevalent in 2022 here in Tehachapi due to corporate restaurants partnering with these third-party delivery services instead of hiring employees for delivery. Other entities such as Walmart complimented their order-ahead and pickup options with full deliveries of grocery and other orders from their Tehachapi store.
While homebuilding in the City of Tehachapi is much less than surrounding communities in the unincorporated areas of Greater Tehachapi, the City saw the start of construction of ‘Tehachapi Hills’ by K Hovnanian Homes, a merchant builder who purchased a section of the former Alta Estates development on the southern edge of the city. There were several other construction projects offering a variety of housing projects that took steps forward in 2022.
Interest rates are causing some challenges in the real estate market, but sales remained steady in the City of Tehachapi. 111 single family homes were sold in the city in 2022 with an average closing price of $373,000 and a median closing price of $350,000. By comparison, in 2021 there were 245 single-family home sales with an average closing price of $327,000 and median closing price of $310,000.
As highlighted on the weekly entertainment version of ‘TehachaPod’, an interesting microeconomy has developed both in the City of Tehachapi and greater Tehachapi area as a result of the brewery and “Tehachapi Mountains” AVA. While the winery operations are outside of the City of Tehachapi, there has been some impact in retail spending by those visitors to the city and both the breweries and wineries are providing entertainment and food sale opportunities by partnering with many upstart mobile food vendors from around Kern and Los Angeles counties to provide food sales at their tasting establishments. In addition, small touring musical acts have made Tehachapi a stop on their tours while passing through the area. The same is also true for comedians who are regularly featured at Old West Brewing, an establishment that opened in late 2021 and has made comedy a regular part of their operations.
These acts, their support staff and fans contribute to the economy both directly and indirectly while also providing entertainment options that previously did not exist in our community.
Trends for 2023?
Expect the continued establishment of digital and application-based technologies to become more integrated in the way Tehachapi does business in 2023. The acceptance of much of these technologies from customers will lead to further development by the retail and restaurant sectors.
The opening of the Village Collective in Downtown has helped many organizations establish a presence in our community and is serving as a private incubator for many small and medium sized businesses while providing an alternative to the traditional office model. That too is an emerging technology that will continue to be utilized in the coming year.
On the retail front, construction costs are delaying some companies’ decisions on developing in secondary markets like Tehachapi as is the ongoing shift in retail sales and online shopping. When a clearer picture on costs and market trends are available, new development and redevelopment is more likely to follow. For now, assisting brokers in filling retail vacancies that address community needs and reduce economic leakage from the City of Tehachapi will continue to be a recruitment focus.
Several City of Tehachapi Businesses Open in November
November 22, 2022
While there are certainly economic factors limiting development nationwide, the City of Tehachapi has seen three businesses officially open their doors in the month of November.
First, the city’s second drive-thru Starbucks location opened in Capital Hills. Situated just off the Mill Street exit from Highway 58, this site will be a popular Starbucks stop for the traveling public and an additional coffee option for those staying in the two hotels nearby and working at Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley. While Starbucks is the anchor tenant, an additional 4300 square feet of retail/restaurant space remains for lease. Owners and brokers are actively working on potential suitors for those spaces.
This newest location is the third in the City of Tehachapi (second with drive thru), traffic for the coffee brand is successful in Tehachapi. The drive thru location on the corner of Tehachapi Boulevard and Tucker Road ranks in the top 70% for visitors within Starbucks nationwide and the top 60% among Starbucks in California according to Placer.ai. With the well-traveled Highway 58 corridor out their back porch, this new location made plenty of economic sense for the brand.
K. Hovnanian Model Home “Tehachapi Hills” Opens
K Hovnanian Homes, which recently purchased several dozen lots in the Alta Estates area for their ‘Tehachapi Hills’ development, opened their model home and sales office to the public on November 19th.
The model home office located on the corner of Carmelita Lane and Clasico Drive is open several days a week and is staffed by a sales specialist. Those interested can call (661) 443-0004 to schedule an appointment time. The development offers four different housing floor plans, each with three different architectural looks and a curb appeal.
More information about the ‘Tehachapi Hills’ development can be found here.
Simply Perfect Gifts/Discover Tehachapi
This new gift and home accessory shop is now open next to Midori Sushi on Tehachapi Boulevard. The location serves multiple purposes for the owners which includes the home base and kitchen operations for the ‘Discover Tehachapi Wine Tours and More’. The popular tour company can now prepare the lunches for their guest at this new location along with preparing other food items for tasting rooms in the area without their own commercial kitchen.
In addition, a large gift shop was opened as a storefront to attract customers looking for unique items centered around home décor and kitchen accessories. Currently for a holidays, a wide variety of Christmas items are for sale with other rotating stock expected throughout the year. Simply Perfect is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. They will celebrate their official ribbon cutting and grand opening on December 1st at 4 PM with the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce.
Southeastern Kern County Retail Submarket Report
October 25, 2022
As Tehachapi enters the final quarter of 2022, some recent data sheds light on the availability of retail properties both in the City of Tehachapi and southeastern Kern County. Recent reports from CoStar, the City’s commercial real estate service shows the area with a 3.3% vacancy rate amongst commercial retail properties in this submarket which includes the City of Tehachapi, the Greater Tehachapi Area, Mojave, Rosamond, Arvin and a portion of unincorporated Bakersfield. The Capital Hills area in the City of Tehachapi which sits north of Highway 58 is not included in this submarket and therefore the recent construction of a hotel and shopping center are not captured.
The 3.3% vacancy rate is under the national five-year average while retail rents have risen 3.8% over the last 12 months with the average price of $262 s.f. sitting above the region’s average pricing as well. With less space and a more captive audience in smaller communities that trend is not unexpected when compared to a larger retail metropolitan area.
The historical vacancy rate sits around 4.4% on average with CoStar projections showing just a slight increase to from 3.3% to 3.4% for the next 12 months in the submarket. Two of the most active three-star rated buildings (CoStar rankings) are in the City of Tehachapi with four leases signed over the last 12 months taking a total of 8,600 s.f. of retail space off the market.
Two of the three highest rated and highest priced-submarket properties have been sold in the City of Tehachapi in the last 12 months.
Access to New CoStar Software Highlights Major Commercial Investments in the City of Tehachapi
October 11, 2022
Commercial real estate investment continues in the City of Tehachapi as investors have spent millions in the last few months on some marquee properties in transactions with long-term stable tenants.
As part of a new initiative, the City of Tehachapi has partnered with CoStar to access real-time commercial real estate data to assist in economic development efforts. This software is a powerful tool that generates reports on active sales, sales histories, comparable properties, lease rates, vacancies, owner information and much more. In a secondary market like Tehachapi, this data was previously difficult to acquire, now it is a useful tool to complement the use of Placer A.I. for location data used to record visits to commercial properties and special events.
This latest tool has already shown several important numbers that show the City of Tehachapi as a magnet for investment. When commercial properties are built, they oftentimes have a shelf life, however, the City of Tehachapi has been able to help increase both the viability and the value of many properties thanks in part to a robust regional economy, diverse shopping base, proper planning and public/private projects that have helped raise values of shopping centers and encouraged more investment.
Earlier this year, the Walgreens on Tehachapi Boulevard which was constructed in 2003 sold for $6.4 million to an investment company. Walgreens has a strong history in Tehachapi and has another 11 years remaining on the lease of the 14,560 s.f. retail corner. The building first sold in 2014 for $5.4 million. Market-rent-per area shows this property has increased in value over four percent in the last 12 months.
Most recently, the Albertson’s building---another prime commercial property with a stable grocery tenant since 1994, sold for $22.25 million to another real estate investment firm. This property had previously sold in 2020 for $14 million and fetched a large price tag due to the stability of the tenant and the production of the grocery store. Additionally, the Market-rent-per area report from CoStar also shows a four percent increase in property value over the last 12 months for this building. These two commercial sales represent nearly $30 million in investment in the Tehachapi market in the last six months alone. It should be noted that the sales were due in part to the stability of the tenants and that the current tenants will remain in operation.
CoStar also classifies the majority of the City of Tehachapi as a Southeast Kern County submarket of Bakersfield, with one of the lowest vacancy rates in the county at just 3.1% with projections over the next six months showing a small .04% change. CoStar also describes the rent rates in this submarket as higher because retail tenants are willing to pay a premium to reside in the SE Kern County submarket which commands a materially higher price than the metro area. Rents in the submarket average $23.00 s.f./triple net, compared to $18.60 s.f./triple net in the Bakersfield metro. This was linked to the submarket’s amount of new retail space constructed in the last decade compared to that of Bakersfield metro.
These data tools from CoStar and others will allow the economic development efforts in the City of Tehachapi to leverage real time pricing data for new and existing retail space, assist local agents and brokers with leasing efforts and continue to showcase the successful retail market that exists in the City of Tehachapi for businesses of all size looking to invest and move their services to our city.
Special Events in Tehachapi Draw Crowds and Economic Impact
September 14, 2022
The economic impact of special events in the City of Tehachapi is an important economic driver for both locals and tourists alike. There is the benefit of these events, whether it is hotel stays for larger events or additional revenue for small and large businesses while people visit Tehachapi and Downtown specifically.
There is also the impact brought on by the event itself, this includes the time by City Public Works, Police and administrative staff to ensure the event is safe, efficient and secure for all those participating. Oftentimes much of these expenses are absorbed by City departments although the economic return to the city does not cover the costs, the positivity brought on by these events pays dividends in the future. The City of Tehachapi is one of the only small communities in Kern County that continues to host special events, a testament to the desirability of our community.
Summertime brings a host of events and using our data from Placer A.I., the City of Tehachapi can evaluate the attendance of these events to work with event organizers to ensure future planning needs are met as events grow and expand. This is done to ensure enough services such as restrooms, police officers, sanitation and road closures are provided.
Using geofence location data the following special events over the last year (Apple Festival numbers are from 2021 with the 2022 festival scheduled for October 15th-16th), the following attendance was recorded for recent events showing their economic impact on the community:
All American 4th of July Festival: 4,000
Mountain Festival, August 20-21st: 11,800
Apple Festival (2021): 6,300
Tehachapi Farmer’s Market (Thursdays, June 2-Sept. 1): 9,600 total, averaging 800 per week.
The value of these events can be found in the tourism created, for example the Mountain Festival drew enough visitors from areas as far north as Fresno to as far south as Irvine along with a tremendous visitation from nearby communities such as Bakersfield and the Antelope Valley. These visitors often become customers of other local businesses, restaurants and purchase hotel rooms and fuel before leaving our community. These visit trends are similar with many events in the City of Tehachapi.
The City of Tehachapi continues to seek ways to support special events that choose to operate in the city while balancing responsibilities between event organizers and City staff. With that sort of balance and partnership, the economic impact and benefit to our local businesses can far outweigh the fiscal and physical impact on City staff and finances.
We look forward to another summer of events in 2023.
AltaOne Grand Opening Touts the Power of Economic Development in the City of Tehachapi
August 9, 2022
On August 8th, AltaOne Federal Credit Union officially upped their presence and investment in the City of Tehachapi with the grand opening celebration of their stand-alone full-service branch located at 665 Tucker Road in The Orchard shopping center. This bank building, formerly occupied by Union Bank, presented the perfect opportunity for the Kern County-based credit union to officially expand their footprint out of their Albertson’s location nearby and plant a flag into the main commercial corridor in Tehachapi.
While other opportunities for bank buildings presented themselves outside of the city limits, the desire benefit from the robust support structure of the city helped lead AltaOne to this new location. With a working relationship with the City of Tehachapi, economic development staff was able to work with Alta One officials and real estate broker Cushman Wakefield to assist in connecting the parties who eventually agreed on lease terms. The city was also able to assist AltaOne with the decision internally by providing traffic data, visitor demographics to The Orchard shopping center, growth projections and other key statistics needed to make a decision of this magnitude.
Last month in a company news release both Branch Manager Jessica Davidson and CEO Stephanie Sievers expressed their excitement about this opportunity provided in the City of Tehachapi.
“We saw this as a unique opportunity to grow our presence in Tehachapi and provide improved financial services to our members and the business community.”, stated Jessica Davidson, Tehachapi Tucker Road Branch Manager.
“It’s a privilege for AltaOne to step-up, fill a vacancy, and serve our local businesses. We are committed to helping our communities grow and are thrilled to increase our investment in the amazing City of Tehachapi.,” said Stephanie Sievers, CEO of AltaOne.
The result is a full-service credit union offering a variety of banking and loan services with a connection to Kern County and the growing City of Tehachapi market. The location is advantageous as well with over 14,000 cars per day along Tucker Road, which not only connects the area’s most-robust commercial centers but serves as a major route for residential communities outside the city limits gaining access to Highway 58.
A low crime rate, responsive police force in the area and active crime prevention efforts have also made the location desirable and an easy transition for the organization who continues work on their new facility which will soon include drive up and walk-up ATM services.
The grand opening celebration is a culmination for Alta One and years of work to establish a stand-alone branch in the City of Tehachapi, and a reassurance of the economic development efforts of the City to retain and expand existing business in the City while providing a competitive landscape, unmatched support, data analytics and the most desirable locations for success. The grand opening celebration continues Saturday, August 13th at AltaOne with a community grand opening event featuring food, games, prizes and a live remote from KUZZ radio from 11AM-1PM.
Alta One President/CEO Discusses New Tehachapi Branch and Expectations for this Growing Market on 'TehachaPod'
June 28, 2022
Stephanie Sievers, President/CEO of Alta One Federal Credit Union in Tehachapi recently joined the ‘TehachaPod’ crew to talk about her institution and their recent investments in the Tehachapi market.
Sievers, most recently from Austin, Texas, took over Alta One nearly six months ago, leading the credit union to several expansions and partnerships in her short time. One of which includes the opening of an expanded branch in Tehachapi as Alta One took over the former Union Bank building on Tucker Road.
Sievers also discussed the various new initiatives to help borrowers and small businesses in Tehachapi and Kern County. Alta One operates branches in Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Bakersfield, Boron, California City, Mojave, Lake Isabella and Kernville. They also operate in Lone Pine, Bishop and Mammoth.
Sievers’ ability to capture an audience with her energy, leadership style and personality led to an entertaining discussion on TehachaPod, which included her expectations for the Tehachapi market.
Chipotle Breaks Ground on Tehachapi Location
June 8, 2022
The Tehachapi Junction retail center will be complete as Chipotle has started construction on the final available pad in the development that was originally approved in 2003 by the City of Tehachapi Planning Commission.
With nearby commercial and retail developments expanding, Chipotle leveraged their ongoing relationship with the City of Tehachapi through connections made at the annual ICSC convention to select the site located between Starbucks and Panda Express. The planning commission approved the project along with architecture and site plan in August of 2021.
The restaurant will feature 2,400 square feet, mostly dedicated to the kitchen with some indoor dining. There is also a 60-seat patio on the east side of the building. The project also includes a “mobile order pick up window” that differs from the traditional drive thru window. Customers will have to order ahead on the Chipotle mobile app and pick up at the window. There will not be an option to order from a menu in the pickup area. This concept encourages ordering on mobile devices and limits the number of cars waiting in the pickup area.
Chipotle operates over 2400 locations nationwide, all of which are corporate owned and not franchised to an additional operator. This is to assist Chipotle with maintaining employee culture and their commitment to sustainable ingredients.
The City of Tehachapi has worked with Chipotle and real estate brokers over the last several years to assist them in opening a Tehachapi location. With the addition of Walmart, Panda Express, Valley Strong Credit Union and Round Table Pizza to both the Tehachapi Junction retail center and neighboring parcels, the desire for that location grew. Some additional improvements such as relocating trash enclosures will be completed to assist with traffic flow.
Like most retail project, especially quick serve restaurants, vehicle traffic and visibility are especially important. The Tucker and Tehachapi Boulevard intersection saw an average of 27,000 vehicles per day over the last 12 months. In addition, according to the most recent data available to the City of Tehachapi the Tehachapi Junction retail center received an average of 34,000 visitors a month in the last year. The nearby Starbucks ranks in the top 10 percent percentile among other Starbucks locations in the state for customer visits.
According to a void analysis report from Place a.i., a Chipotle restaurant at the Tehachapi Junction site scored an 88 out of 100 on a demographic match analysis and once complete, the Tehachapi Chipotle will serve 56% of the trade area population that already frequents a Chipotle within a 50-mile radius, mostly in the Bakersfield metro area.
Navigating the Complex World of Commercial Leases
May 3, 2022
As communities become a more attractive place to do business, there are certain unseen circumstances that make conducting ongoing recruitment efforts a little more challenging than many think. For example, the complex world of commercial real estate leases, especially with those that have broader business implications, can impact even small communities such as the City of Tehachapi.
When a business closes naturally the assumption is that a vacant retail suite is just that, vacant and in turn, available for lease. However, in many cases, including a couple in Tehachapi, property owners—and any economic development recruiters, must pause their efforts to find new tenants until the lease term expires as to not interfere with the closing organizations’ business efforts. There are a few examples of that currently in our community, and while residents understandably ask the “why don’t they…” question about a retail vacancy, it helps to understand the entire picture.
One of the most-glaring cases of this is the former Kmart building on Tehachapi Boulevard. The business closed in 2019 in line with the bankruptcy filings of the company and the mass-shuttering of stores nationwide. However, that building remains under lease from the holdings company associated with the former Kmart corporation. As is the case with any active lease, any recruitment efforts for new tenants or redevelopment is prohibited as the lease remains active although the business is closed. Oftentimes a first right of refusal to renew those leases is available as well.
Recently the Dollar Tree corporation purchased the Family Dollar stores leading to a downsizing of stores across the country including the Family Dollar location in the City of Tehachapi. Since Tehachapi had both brands, the Family Dollar location on Tucker Road was shuttered as the company reorganizes their assets. This former store too is still under an active lease for the 6,000 square-foot retail suite and is not available for lease until the current lease expires. The active lease also restricts recruiting potential replacement tenants.
This creates a unique situation for the City of Tehachapi as our economic profile is one that is attractive to more retailers, however with vacant space that is technically not available for lease, this can have a negative impact on the market. Site selectors see these locations as potential sites for redevelopment, and since tenant improvements tend to be much cheaper than building a new project, especially given the costs of goods and services along with construction supply issues recently, situations such as this sometimes delay retail development and potential new businesses elect to wait longer to open in a market like Tehachapi.
While facilities like the former Kmart building continue to be on the wish list for redevelopment by new retail tenants, it will remain vacant until at which time an active lease is no longer present. As with the case of any business in the City of Tehachapi, the code enforcement division through the Tehachapi Police Department continues to ensure properties do not fall into visual disrepair or become a chronic nuisance or magnet for criminal activity.
Expanded True Trade Area Highlights New Analysis
March 22, 2022
As part of the ongoing analysis associated with businesses in the City of Tehachapi and the residents that they serve in this community and their surrounding neighbors, another recent study shows an even larger footprint that previously expected.
Using Placer a.i. and STI Popstats, an analysis of location data for the 2021 calendar year shows a true trade area (people who shop here regularly) of over 215,000 residents. The dataset sets a 50-mile radius around the city, however it only accounts for those trips into Tehachapi that account for 70% or more of the traffic, focusing on repeat-shoppers and not a one-stop traveler. With the increased retail offerings in Tehachapi, those communities in the trade area include all of those in the 93561 Tehachapi zip code as well as California City, Mojave and portions of Rosamond and Bakersfield.
This data significantly increases the number of shoppers in both large retail centers along with the residual benefits to surrounding restaurants, fuel stations and specialty stores. In capturing a demographic profile of the most-frequent-visitors, the 37,000 living within a 15-mile radius of the City of Tehachapi, the average age is 42 years old, the average household income is $88,000 per year while 20% of households average between $100,000 and $150,000 per year.
The diversity of employment sectors continues with retail trade, healthcare, education and public administration (including law enforcement, corrections and fire) accounting for 48% of the jobs for residents.
Retail Trade 21%
Healthcare & Social Assistance 11%
Educational Services 8%
Public Administration (includes Police, Corrections, Fire) 8%
Lodging/Food Service 7%
Manufacturing (Cement, Borax, precious metals) 7%
Professional, Scientific, Technical Services 4%
(Legal, accounting, architectural, engineering, design, computer, consulting, research, veterinary)
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting 4%
(Crops, Animals, Greenhouses)
Transportation & Storage 3%
*Source: STI Workplace
While both sets of data tell a story about who is living in the area and those that are coming to shop, dine and spend money in the city, the economic power of both continues to increase making the City of Tehachapi an attractive destination for investors and business owners.
USDA Celebrates National Entrepreneurship Week
February 14, 2022
February 12-19 is National Entrepreneurship Week and USDA Rural Development (RD) is excited to celebrate America’s rural entrepreneurs—leaders who are critical to our nation’s economy.
To celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week, USDA RD will share news and information to help people in rural communities start and grow their own businesses. All week long, watch for tweets from our account, usdaRD for informative messages with links to resource guides, newsletters, and the National Entrepreneurship Week panel discussion. Follow the hashtag #NatlEshipWeek and watch for these National Entrepreneurship Week topics and more on social media:
• To kick off the week, we are unveiling a new resource guide to help rural entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, create good-paying jobs and strengthen America’s economy. Download it today!
• Have you seen our Resource Guide for Rural Workforce Development yet? All the info your rural community needs to start and expand employment opportunities and create a sustainable workforce is inside! Find it here
• Be sure not to miss great information this week by subscribing to the Rural Workforce GovDelivery list
City of Tehachapi 2022 S.W.O.T. Analysis
January 12, 2022
The City of Tehachapi is looking forward to the challenges and the opportunities in 2022. There are still several unanswered questions to address, exciting new business starts to announce and other initiatives that will strengthen this community in the years to come. As part of that process, we took the time to produce the following SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of the economic climate in the City of Tehachapi and share that with the public as we move into another year.
Strengths: Diversity within the Tehachapi economy continues to be our most beneficial strength. It assists in limiting the impact felt to the community due to any one job sector in uncertain economic times and provides for a myriad of business opportunities when expansion is in the cards. Tehachapi is strategically located near several successful industries making our city a key supporter of several expanding job opportunities including renewable energy, space exploration, aerospace and mining in East Kern, and many professional, legal, and business services in the southern San Joaquin Valley. A robust construction climate as well has bolstered that industry for both public and private projects. Kern County leads the state in renewable energy production and development of new energy technologies, Tehachapi residents and companies benefit from the economic impact of these projects and will continue as those markets expand.
Weaknesses: With all these expanding sectors, especially in East Kern, new employees need housing. Tehachapi is the top choice for many of these companies when their employees are new to the area. After several slow years, housing production is starting to ramp up in the City of Tehachapi, but a lack of inventory has increased prices dramatically both in the City and in the Greater Tehachapi Area. Prices that are too high because of lack of inventory create unaffordability for both the next generation of locals and potential new employees for growing businesses. There are currently 138 homes of various price points in four tracts under construction in the city, while the Tehachapi Planning Commission recently approved the precise development plan for the 250-unit The Address at Tehachapi project. That approval clears the way for construction to begin within the next 12 months. Other previously approved developments continue to work towards their construction process. These new units should settle the housing market, opening availability for professionals and benefitting business expansion so employees can afford reasonably priced homes.
Opportunities: There are several areas locally in the retail sector that have plenty of room for growth given the lack of supply but a steady demand for those goods. According to STI Market Outlook, there is over $2 million in unmet demand in the City of Tehachapi trade area in each of the following categories: home furnishings, specialty food stores, health and personal care, clothing and shoe stores, limited service and special food service restaurants. These areas continue to be targets of economic development and real estate broker efforts in 2022.
This year will also continue the shift of how people work, and Tehachapi is prepared to meet that shift. While many used the pandemic as a reason to start a new business or become self-employed, 2022 is the year that the resources they need to both be successful and grow their businesses become available. Places like the Village Collective will be complete downtown offering new boutique office space and a shared co-working environment. Coupled with the completion of the Race Communications fiber optic project throughout the city, internet demand will be met with this high bandwidth technology. In addition, several of the aforementioned housing projects under construction are taking the way many live and work into consideration and offering housing models with dedicated separate spaces for potential home offices. There were 167 new business licenses filed in the City of Tehachapi in 2021, an indication of the new entrepreneurial spirit and the City is prepared to offer support and tools for success in 2022.
Threats: The City of Tehachapi can benefit from being located in the State of California and can also be threatened by that reality as well. Sacramento money grabs and unfunded mandates from the State Legislature weaken the ability for both residents, businesses and even City government to operate in an efficient manner. Millions of local dollars have been kept by Sacramento in recent years, impacting local services and the ability to make our economy and community even stronger. Restrictions of how businesses operate, new mandates and laws continue to drive the cost of doing business up, leading to higher prices and other trickle-down impacts due to Sacramento’s one-size-fits-all approach. Finding ways to establish more local control of funding will be critical to address this threat moving forward.
Inflation is also a contributing factor to higher prices and a threat to consider in 2022 for the local economy. The consumer price index rose 7% in December, the fastest pace since 1982. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI was up 5.5% over last year, the biggest increase since February 1991. With a large commuting population, higher prices at the pumps will contribute to an adjustment in spending elsewhere.
While 2022 will mark the two-year anniversary of COVID-19, the area is still dealing with the fallout. With some exceptions, life has returned to normal in Tehachapi, but the economic impact remains, ever shifting and conflicting guidance from the CDC, the California Department of Public Health and Cal OSHA make it difficult to keep businesses efficiently staffed. Decisions will have to be made in 2022 to figure out how to start living with these less-potent variants of COVID-19, less the impact to the workforce start causing disruptions to the economy not seen since the initial COVID-prompted shutdowns of 2020.
ICSC Retail Convention Continues to Show Promise
December 15, 2021
This year’s Innovating Commerce Serving Communities (ICSC) conference was one of the most productive in history for the City of Tehachapi despite the smaller and limited format.
Following a 2020 cancellation and a 2021 delay, the normally-massive retail convention held in Las Vegas was limited from several halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, to the North Hall, however the intimate atmosphere served the City of Tehachapi better, making conversation with potential new brands to invest in our area much easier.
There were several companies that in the past were reluctant to explore the potential of Tehachapi, however, shifts in our demographics, an increased trade presence and in some cases a change in market focus for some brands meant the City of Tehachapi is now a realty. Most of the time ICSC means building relationships for future investments—places like Walmart, Home Depot, Big 5, Panda Express are just a few deals born out of this convention, however this year there was some confirmation from others who intend to come to the City of Tehachapi in the coming 12-24 months, an indicator of the attractiveness of this market.
For more information about the ICSC experience, you can listen to the latest episode of “TehachaPod” as attendees Greg Garrett and Corey Costelloe break down the experience and explain the economic development department’s role in assisting private businesses to invest in our City.
'Buy 1' Initiative for the Holidays Returns
November 30, 2021
The City of Tehachapi is once again encouraging residents to make the effort to buy at least one gift at a local independent retailer this holiday season. The annual ‘Buy 1’ campaign aims to not only ask residents to shop local for their gift needs, but also to pay special attention to the independent retailers that grace our community.
With the success of the “Small Business Loyalty Program” back in March, the hope is that residents are more familiar with the local offerings after the overwhelming response to that program and will remember those businesses during the holiday season. The City of Tehachapi has several local independent retailers in both the Downtown and Tucker Road areas that provide unique items while other ideas for local purchases include restaurant gift cards, specialty service gift certificates and handcrafted items available from local artisans.
Shop locally this holiday season, but please think about making that one special purchase at a local independent retailer that will not only provide a unique item, but will also support the small businesses that are a vital part of our community.
City Recruitment Video for In-N-Out Goes Viral
October 26, 2021
The City of Tehachapi took business recruitment to the next level on October 21st when they released a video targeting In-N-Out burger and touting the advantages of doing business in their city following reports of a closure of a location in San Francisco for refusing to check vaccine status of their customers.
Tehachapi has had brief conversations with In-N-Out over the years but understandably the popular burger chain has passed on Tehachapi for other locations in larger cities. Along with touting the economic strength of Tehachapi which includes strategic highway location, heavy car counts and more, City Manager Greg Garrett and Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe also promoted the City’s stance on allowing In-N-Out to do business “as you see fit” without restrictive government interference.
The video went viral receiving local and national media attention. The City’s social media networks have had over 130,000 views of the video while it was shared 1700 times from Facebook alone reaching over 300,000 people. It also appeared on MSN.com, Yahoo News and a host of other sites. It even made the rounds in the Bay Area as a news story on KRON 4 and Oakland News Now and has been a news story on local stations in the Midwest.
The video gained the City of Tehachapi an additional 500 Facebook followers and increased traffic across all of its platforms. As to the question whether In-N-Out has acknowledged the video, the answer is yes, if that leads to any conversations about potential development is still to be seen and a continued goal of the many economic development efforts in the City.
Below is a list of websites/stations that covered the story:
KRON 4 San Francisco
CBS 47 Fresno
California News Times.com
City Supports Investments With Infrastructure Maintenance
September 29, 2021
Maintaining vital infrastructure continues to be a facet of economic development in the City of Tehachapi and a slough of recent projects are once again proving that priority with action.
The City of Tehachapi recently re-paved three local roadways as part of a series of maintenance projects. One roadway, Green Street, received new asphalt from Tehachapi Boulevard north to the Tehachapi Municipal Airport gate, as well as from ‘F’ Street south past ‘D’ Street. With those portions joining the recently slurry-sealed section of Green between Tehachapi Boulevard and ‘F’ Street, the road that serves many local businesses, special events and the airport has received a complete makeover in the last six months.
In addition, Davis Street from Tehachapi Boulevard to E Street received much-needed pavement while Snyder Avenue, a major route for Tehachapi schools and connector from Valley Boulevard to Tehachapi Boulevard was also paved, weaving together a pair of projects, the first of which included new curbs, gutters and sidewalks and the new pavement for a new safer path of travel for both pedestrians and vehicles alike.
In addition, the recently-completed Rail Corridor Enhancement and Pedestrian Safety Project was recognized as “Transportation Project of the Year” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Rail Corridor Pedestrian Safety & Enhancement Project included sidewalks and fencing along H Street on the North side of the train tracks between Mill Street and Hayes Street. Sidewalks and crossings on the East and West sides of Green Street, Hayes Street and Dennison Road. The crossings provided a much safer path of travel for pedestrians, cyclists, and those in wheelchairs. It also meant the installation of medians at the crossings to prevent vehicles from driving around railroad gates and potentially into the path of crossing trains. The Tehachapi Rail Corridor Pedestrian Safety & Enhancement Project had a total project cost of $2.1 million dollars, and the construction was completed in approximately 12 months. The project was funded by the Active Transportation Project grant.
The rail corridor project served an important role in extending the ability for visitors and shoppers to access ‘H’ Street, a natural extension of Downtown. The area has attracted investments from microbreweries and small retail shops in the last few years with more small business investments under construction.
Not only providing opportunities for investment, but also delivering the ability for those investments to thrive with maintenance of infrastructure, police protection and continued support of businesses of all sizes continue to push the City of Tehachapi as a great place for success.
Planning Commission Approves Chipotle on Tucker Road
August 10, 2021
The City of Tehachapi Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposed Chipotle Mexican Grill that recently applied to develop at the Tehachapi Junction center on the corner of Tehachapi Boulevard and Tucker Road.
The proposal includes a 2,400 s.f. restaurant with a drive thru window that will also have some outdoor dining and other improvements to the site adjacent to Starbucks and sitting just below Panda Express.
Like it’s neighbor to the south, Chipotle was another company that has been working with the City of Tehachapi for the last several years to find the perfect home. As expected, the addition of Walmart, Panda Express and the development of other outparcels nearby, the first of which will house Valley Strong Credit Union, strongly encouraged Chipotle to find a location in the City of Tehachapi.
Relationships with local commercial brokers Cushmann &Wakefield and Pacific Commercial Realty Advisors helped attract the restaurant to the lone remaining pad in Tehachapi Junction, already a popular destination with the presence of Starbucks and the soon-to-open Round Table Pizza which is putting the finishing touches on their renovated restaurant space. The intersection of Tucker Road and Tehachapi Boulevard sees an average of 26,000 cars a day, making the visibility of the site a key factor.
This project is another testament to the attractive nature of investments in the City of Tehachapi and the ongoing business attraction efforts of the city’s Economic Development, Development Services and Planning departments. The ability to place nationally attractive brands in high-visibility locations while meeting the demands of a growing community continues to be a priority and one that is seeing results.
With the approval, Chipotle will begin engineering the site with hopes to begin construction in 2021.
New Data Shows Tourism Recovering Above 2019 Levels
July 27, 2021
Through a partnership with Placer AI, the City of Tehachapi has been able to access the economic recovery dashboard that is showing a 115% recovery of the tourism industry in Tehachapi following the COVID-19 related shutdowns.
This data, compared to the same time periods in 2019, shows that both domestic (>51 to 150 miles) and national tourism (<150 miles) to Tehachapi has recovered at 115% of the levels show in 2019. This is based on foot traffic to the tourist attractions in the City and Greater Tehachapi area. The most recent numbers, recorded in June 2021, show an estimated 128,500 visitors to Tehachapi compared to 115,000 in June of 2019. The weekly numbers do show nearly 20,000 additional visitors during the July 4th weekend than the 2019 festivities with national tourism increasing 150%.
An encouraging sign is the hotel occupancy with 108% recovery since the Summer of 2019. This falls in line with the increase in tourists from distances greater than 150 miles.
Other news related to recovery shows the retail industry has recovered at over 118% compared to the same time in 2019, most of that credited to the expanded trade area of Tehachapi with increased traffic from surrounding communities. Grocery stores are still below pre-pandemic levels at 76%, but the trend of panic buying impacted the foot traffic to stores as residents shopped for more items on one trip rather than visit a grocery store on a weekly basis. The local restaurant industry, heavily impacted by COVID-19 shut downs has recovered at 93% compared to 2019. Home improvement stores and superstores have recovered well above 100%.
With a variety of events scheduled and the presence of additional tourism-related activities in the Tehachapi area, this recovery should continue through the summer and autumn months.
Largest July 4th Events In History Highlight Comeback
July 14, 2021
The City of Tehachapi experienced the largest All-American 4th of July Festival since the inception of the event two decades ago. The first major event to be conducted post-COVID-19 restrictions was met with overwhelming crowds at Philip Marx Central Park, a welcome sight for vendors, non-profits, and entertainers.
The variety of food vendors experienced heavy customer traffic throughout the day up until the festival ended around 4 P.M. The reports back from the vendors confirmed a very profitable day in the Tehachapi sunshine celebrating Independence Day with great live music and socializing with friends and visitors highlighting the afternoon.
The local entertainment lineup consisting of Averee Napier, Ryan Sillifant and Muleskinner Revival brought crowds to the northwest stage where folks gathered to listen to their talents and appreciate returning to a normal 4th of July celebration. Local arts and craft vendors organized by the Tehachapi Valley Arts Association also saw robust sales and support for their efforts after a year removed from public events. The Tehachapi Warrior Booster Club who assisted both the football and soccer programs with their pancake breakfast and hamburger/hot dog sales respectively reported over $9000 in profits for their efforts. Those funds will go to those two teams to assist with equipment and other needs in the upcoming season.
The crowds at the All-American 4th of July Festival also spilled over to the Tehachapi Event Center and Rodeo Grounds where the Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association hosted the Bad Bulls bull riding event. Traffic getting into the venue caused major delays due to the capacity crowd on had for the first professional sporting event in Tehachapi since 2019. While inconvenient for many, the robust attendance was a strong sign of economic recovery for many organizations like TMRA who spent nearly 24 months not hosting any events due to pandemic regulations.
The one-day events attracted visitors from all over the state and poured thousands of dollars into the local economy and proved Tehachapi’s desirability as a destination for visitors in and outside of Kern County. The weather, organization, promotion and execution of these special events continues to bring people to Tehachapi to capture a part of the small-town nostalgia gone from larger surrounding communities.
As an indicator of future summer and fall events to come, those organizing events in the City of Tehachapi are preparing for larger than normal crowds while local businesses should also prepare for an influx of business during the events and festivities.
Data Shows Tehachapi Customers Returning
June 30, 2021
The first six months of 2021 have shown an increase in traffic once again to the City of Tehachapi. According to City partner Placer AI, there have been an estimated 168,000 additional customers to the city limits compared to this same period from a year ago. Of those customers, many have returned on multiple occasions as well, showing a recovery of sorts from the pandemic-restricted movement in 2020.
This is a promising trend for local businesses, event organizers and potential investors as the consumer habits are normalizing in the City of Tehachapi. Some of the top spending categories for the consumer base ranks above the national average for food and right at the national average for entertainment spending.
Numbers have also shown a drastic increase in highway traffic as travelers return to the roadways for summer vacations. This is an economic opportunity for highway-centric businesses and those others that draw the traveling public off the highway for hospitality services and meals. Data shows Tehachapi is a major stopping, resting, and refueling point for traffic traveling from the greater Fresno area to the Las Vegas region and vice versa. Local traffic for commuters has also returned to near pre-COVID levels with the busy intersection of Tucker and Tehachapi Boulevard experiencing over 26,000 vehicles per day.
With business restrictions lifted in the wake of COVID-19, it is clear to see that Tehachapi businesses have a great opportunity in the summer of 2021 to recover from a challenging 2020 and return their operations back to pre-pandemic levels while shoppers, consumers and tourists return to Tehachapi.
Grand-Reopening Events Scheduled for June 15th.
June 8, 2021
Several local organizations that played a hand in assisting the local business community during the COVID-19 pandemic will have events to commemorate the re-opening of California’s economy without restrictions on June 15th.
The City of Tehachapi announced last week the “Grand Re-Opening” and ribbon cutting ceremony to be held on Green Street Downtown on June 15th at 8:30 AM. The event will include remarks from Mayor Phil Smith, local dignitaries and a ceremonial ribbon cutting effectively re-opening the Tehachapi economy. Businesses from all over the Tehachapi area are invited to attend and cut their own ceremonial re-opening ribbon and take a photo to mark the occasion. Businesses interested in participating can contact community engagement specialist Key Budge at (661) 822-2200 ex. 119 or email email@example.com to ensure enough ribbons are available.
“Many small businesses have struggled to make it through the past year with all of the restrictions put in place by the state. We need to celebrate life returning to normal and let everyone know that Tehachapi is open. We reached out to our Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council with our idea, and they were happy to partner with the city to mark this special occasion,” said Greg Garrett City Manager.
In addition to this event, the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce will be holding their first in-person Chamber Luncheon at 12 PM at Big Papa’s. Keynote speakers will be Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett and Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe. The cost is $15 for Chamber Members, $20 for Non-Chamber members, which includes lunch. Reservations are required.
Please make your reservation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 661-822 4180. Reservation deadline is Friday, June 11, 2021.
To cap the day, the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council will be having a mixer for investors or potential investors at the Visitor Center from 5pm-7pm on the corner of Curry and Tehachapi Blvd. The event will include refreshments, local wine and a chance to network with other business owners and representatives from the Tehachapi area. The GTEDC is a non-profit organization that holds monthly networking meetings and supports of variety of local interests such as the Tehachapi Wine Grower’s, Tehachapi Arts and Tehachapi Tourism Commissions.
“The GTEDC is excited to partner with the City to celebrate the June 15th reopening,” said Lydia Chaney, President of the GTEDC and owner of South Street Digital. “Start your day with the ribbon cutting and end your day with a GTEDC mixer at the Visitor Center.”
Each event is intended to mark the occasion of the re-opening of the California economy without COVID-19 restrictions as announced by Governor Gavin Newsom, and to celebrate the resilience of local businesses that adapted, thrived and survived the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
City of Tehachapi Leverages Placer.ai for Economic Data, Business Success and Efficient Operations
May 26, 2021
The City of Tehachapi has recently partnered with Placer. AI on a new artificial intelligence platform that will assist the economic development and other efficiency efforts within the City.
The technology leverages cell phone data to better capture trips to businesses, the trade area, brand affinity, demographics, and spending habits the City and surrounding trade area. These reports are especially useful for recruitment and expansion efforts, understanding customer patterns and trends and to assist with COVID-19 recovery of small businesses by gaining access to data before and after the pandemic restrictions.
This platform is updated daily with information and includes several tools to allow city departments to operate more efficiently and can even assist special event organizers with expectations based on previous attendance from prior years with data going back to 2017.
Early benefits of the program are allowing for better preparation for the upcoming Farmer’s Market downtown with expected traffic flows and visitor counts based on historic data. In addition, the data provides some demographic information which can assist with vendor recruitment, price points for goods and advertising best practices for return-on-investment spending.
The multiple data sets help provide an accurate picture based on a scientific algorithm drawn from cellular data. The information is also valuable for departments such as public works, engineering, and development services to help with traffic counts, design of projects and best practices for customer efficiency. The data has already been leveraged and cited in conversations with potential investors as part of the International Council of Shopping Centers virtual conference currently taking place. This information paints a clearer picture of the desire for specific brands, best locations and puts the City on the same playing field as many of the largest brokers and retailers who already use such data for site selection.
The technology will allow the City of Tehachapi to be leverage operations and other resources as a result of the data and resident’s needs and habits. Business owners that are interested in reports for their businesses can contact Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe at email@example.com or 661-822-2200 ex. 121.
Tehachapi Businesses Hiring But Face Challenges
May 11, 2021
Hiring continues in the City of Tehachapi as businesses start recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the job opportunities are out there, attracting employees back, many of which benefitted from state and federal aid while not working, continues to be a challenge nationwide and Tehachapi is not immune to that challenge.
Searches on job boards such as Indeed.com, Monster.com & Zip Recruiter show a wide variety of opportunities in the community ranging from food service to physicians and wind/solar technicians. A quick drive around the community shows help wanted signs are abundant at several restaurants including places like Panda Express and Tacos El Superior who have hosted several ongoing recruitment events. Other local restaurants continue to advertise for help while other retailers try to meet Tehachapi’s demands with the labor available.
The lack of employees has caused some businesses to cut operating hours and offerings, something that hampers the ability to recover post COVID-19. The variety of jobs available in Tehachapi range from entry level to management positions in differing fields and areas of expertise. Many of these positions are accepting applications for employees as young as 16 years old creating one of the most open summer job markets for high school students in recent history.
Below is a list of City of Tehachapi businesses that have multiple jobs available. Search the referenced sites above for application information or visit their physical location for more information.
Bank of the West
Good Sheppard Preschool
Jack in the Box
Love’s Travel Center
NYC Subs & Grill
Pathways of California
Tacos El Superior
World Wind & Solar-Laborers, Solar Techs
Restaurant Recovery Fund Prepares for Applications
April 27, 2021
The restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit sectors during COVID-19, and while indoor dining has returned to local restaurants, the impact of months of shut down continue to lead to challenges during recovery.
While many restaurants in the City of Tehachapi benefitted from a loyal customer base that went out of their way during COVID-19 to support their local establishments, the fallout of the shut downs remain. The City of Tehachapi contributed recently with the successful “Small Business Loyalty Program” which awarded gift cards purchased from local eateries to those who shopped locally, but there is so much more assistance needed.
As part of the recently-approved “American Rescue Plan Act’ over $28 billion was earmarked for the ‘Restaurant Recovery Fund’ which to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses (bakeries, breweries, wineries, inns, pubs, bars) keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
With what we have seen in the past, federal funding is very competitive and preparation is important especially given the fact that funding is coming directly from the U.S. Department of Treasury and not an independent financial institution as was the case with other economic grants and loans. As a result, the Small Business Administration has created a webpage with all the necessary forms and paperwork needed for an application when the funding window opens. Those with paperwork prepared ahead of time will be better positioned to apply. The SBA has also created a variety of webinars and videos to assist with the process. You can visit that website here.
Locally, continue to monitor the City of Tehachapi social media channels and website for information about local webinars from the CSU Bakersfield Small Business Development Center covering the Restaurant Recovery Fund and applications for funding.
Small Business Loyalty Program Ends After Huge Success
March 30, 2021
Demographics and Economic Opportunity Dashboard Launched
February 9, 2021
Tehachapi on Moneywise Guys Radio/Podcast
January 28, 2021
The City of Tehachapi and our economic development efforts were recently featured on a “Getting Down to Business Friday” segment of the Moneywise Guys Radio and Podcast originating from KERN 96.1 FM/1180 AM Bakersfield.
Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe recapped 2020 and previewed some projects and initiatives coming in 2021. Hear the entire interview below.
2020 Economic Development Quick Recap
January 13, 2021
Despite the challenges in 2020 presented by COVID-19, the City of Tehachapi continued to see small, medium, and large business investments as economic development efforts continued.
The City of Tehachapi saw $6 million in new commercial permits and commercial improvements/renovations in 2020. This included a new Panda Express Restaurant as well as remodels for four additional new restaurants that opened in previously vacated spaces in 2020. Those were Tacos El Superior, NYC Subs & Grill, Prime Bar & Grill and 4 Seasons Café.
There were several other small business additions and new locations for businesses like Bowe Construction who received planning commission approval in 2020 to build a new Tehachapi headquarters in 2021.
The real estate market continued to see growth as the desirability of Tehachapi led to a 10-percent increase in average home sales price in the City last year. 74% of those sales were completed within 30 days of the home being listed. In addition to resale, new home developers picked up housing tracts such as Applewood Estates and Mill Street Cottages building new residences and selling them very quickly with more builds coming in 2021. The new housing project “The Address at Tehachapi” a 238-unit master planned community received approval in 2020 and could break ground in 2021 following engineering work.
The new year has brought renewed hope for economic stability as the TownePlace Suites by Marriott project continues construction in Capital Hills which has sparked even more development interest in that area. In addition, Valley Strong Credit Union is under construction on Tehachapi Boulevard adjacent to Walmart and Round Table Pizza has finished plan check and is permit-ready to renovate a former restaurant space nearby at the corner of Tucker Road and Tehachapi Blvd.
Retail vacancies remain low as even long-vacated spaces are being leased by new tenants beginning business ventures in the community. There are a variety of projects in the works showing early that 2021 should continue to be promising for new and existing Tehachapi businesses despite the odd climate of COVID-19.
The City of Tehachapi was proud to offer a variety of support for our business community in 2020 under unprecedented circumstances. Whether that was assistance with outdoor operations or simply allowing businesses to make their own decisions on how to survive, that approach has helped keep much of our small business lifeblood alive and looking forward to a prosperous 2021.
Panda Express Opens Tehachapi Restaurant
December 17, 2020
The lines were long as they are when any new business opens in Tehachapi, even those like Panda Express, food most residents have sampled elsewhere but as with anything it just tastes better when it is produced at home.
After six months of construction Panda Express opened their doors on December 10th, culminating years of relationships with the City of Tehachapi and commercial developers. This new location is the fifth new restaurant to open in the City of Tehachapi in 2020, despite fluctuating restrictions for the restaurant industry. Panda Express features some restriction-friendly options including a very-efficient drive thru, order-in and carry out and online/mobile application ordering which streamlines the payment and pickup process.
Panda Express marks the first of many commercial projects slated for the outparcels on the land adjacent to Walmart. As expected within 18 months of the Walmart opening, the first new business on the site opened while others are under construction. The northeast corner is currently under construction with the Valley Strong Credit Union branch as well as development of the parking lot and additional retail/restaurant pad. There are three other lots on the site owned by Walmart which are expected to eventually develop as well.
Panda Express has long targeted the Tehachapi market for expansion and were able to create the ideal location for their newest restaurant which has brought new job opportunities to the area and another dining option for residents and retail customers.
The Chinese kitchen joins 4 Seasons Café, Tacos El Superior, NYC Subs & Grill and Prime Bar & Grill as new restaurants calling Tehachapi home in 2020. The increased retail footprint of the region and growing community continues to attract both corporate and small restaurant owners, a trend that will hopefully continue in 2021 despite current COVID-19 related challenges.
Deco Du Jour Opens Tehachapi Store
November 17, 2020
Gina Dumania has lived in Tehachapi just shy of a year after relocating from Southern California last January. Upon getting acquainted with the community she recognized a lack of offerings in an area she happens to specialize in, furniture and home furnishings.
Gina, her mother Dorothy Dumania and Shawn Bineau decided to come together and partner in Deco Du Jour, a retail store offering popular styles from Los Angeles showrooms including farmhouse rustic, classic, mid-century modern, contemporary, and modern home furnishings.
The new location is not only bringing home furnishings to shoppers in the City of Tehachapi, but also reviving an 1,890 square foot retail suite that was last a Blockbuster Video nearly a decade ago. While many of the remnants of the yesteryear video rental franchise had to be removed, Deco Du Jour has already filled the space with their first batch of inventory, ready to showcase to potential shoppers.
“I had a store in Downtown L.A. and after moving up here in January I noticed there weren’t any furniture stores out here,” Gina Dumania said. “I came across you (the City of Tehachapi) and got lucky and found this place; I never imagined I would be able to have this size of a store.”
Dumania has relied on storeroom contacts for inventory as well as the Southern California movie production studios, but is already negotiating to become an authorized dealer for several furniture manufacturers after she gets a feel for that the Tehachapi market in terms of the demand and how high of quality pieces the public is seeking.
“I really hope we blow up; people are very curious about what we are doing here, they can’t wait and are very excited about the whole thing,” Dumania said. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking because we have a lot to deliver now.”
The home furniture offerings include couches, chairs, dining sets, beds, coffee, and end tables along with a collection of chandeliers acquired from Originals 22, a company out of Chino, Calif.
“They fabricate their own chandeliers. They are super-elaborate, handmade, they are works of art,” she said.
Deco Du Jour hopes this initial investment in the City of Tehachapi will result in a long tenure in the community. They are located next to the Sears Home Town store, providing the perfect neighbor to the appliance store for shoppers looking to furnish their homes in one trip. Deco Du Jour is open Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm and on Sundays from 10am-6pm at 831 Tucker Road. Those wishing to preview the inventory can do so by visiting their website www.Decodujour.com.
Panda Express Hiring for Tehachapi Location
October 27, 2020
Panda Express, a subsidiary of Panda Restaurant Group will be holding a hiring event on Friday, October 30th for their Tehachapi location set to open within the next few months. Construction on the project started mid-summer and the new location on Tucker Road is moving briskly through the construction process and now staffing the new restaurant is becoming a priority.
Panda Restaurant Group will be hosting a “Virtual Interview Day” for their nearly 40 positions that are expected to staff the Tehachapi location. The interviews will be held on Friday, October 30th from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Positions include Service & Kitchen Team members along with Restaurant Managers. According to Panda Restaurant Group, full-time associates are offered progressive compensation packages with bonus opportunity, paid training, career and leadership development, medical and dental benefits along with a 401k with company match.
For more information about qualifications, job descriptions or to sign up for the event CLICK HERE.
The new Panda Express will feature a dining room as well as drive thru service and is located in the northwest corner of the Walmart parking lot.
Panda Express will become the fourth new restaurant to open in 2020 in the City of Tehachapi while bringing additional employment opportunities to the area joining 4 Seasons Café, Prime Bar & Grill and Tacos El Superior. It is estimated that each new restaurant has added nearly 200 total jobs this year.
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Commuting and Miles Driven
September 29, 2020
The commuting population in Tehachapi represents a significant portion of the eligible workforce and shapes economic development efforts as well. Prior to COVID-19, studies from the IRS and US Census Bureau spoke of 60% of the active work force commuting outside of Tehachapi daily.
That was well-represented in the new transit center and park and ride facility completed in Downtown in late 2018. For over a year the parking lot was nearly at capacity during the work week, since the shift in work habits since COVID-19, a handful of cars are slowing trickling back in. Also aiding in that optic are college classes as online learning at places like Bakersfield College, which provided low to no-cost bus passes via Kern Regional Transit, are not being held in person.
Aside from the empirical data one notices with fewer parking stalls full and fewer cars on the road, what was impact of COVID-19 on the daily driving habits in Kern County?
Streetlight Data recently released a county-by-county interactive tool that showcases the ability to see adjusted vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from the start of the pandemic to current day. This data and algorithm are updated every two days. While the data is not broken down specifically by city, the Kern County data paints a consistent picture with the economy, COVID-19 response and who is driving less as a result.
For example, the biggest drop was immediate, with Kern County driving 31% less on April 1st, just after lockdown measures, stay-at-home orders and many businesses were shuttered. This represents a reduction from over 26 million miles driven as of March 1st, to 17.3 million miles on April 1st. Running the numbers for just the first of every month shows a 14% reduction in May, a 17% reduction in June, a 4% reduction in July (after things had opened up slightly before being rolled back again), a 4% reduction from baseline in August and a 9% reduction as of the most recent data in September.
This data shows Kern County is still driving less than the time prior to COVID-19 but has slowly been increasing VMT over the last several months. This data is important to economic development, especially in communities like Tehachapi where the traveling public is vital to the local economy along with the major trade corridor of Highway 58. Also, new additions like restaurants, retail and other business ventures rely on either local workforce during the day or focus on commuting traffic early in the morning or in the evening for purchases.
You can access the tool here https://www.streetlightdata.com/VMT-monitor-by-county/#methodology and see how Tehachapi and Kern County are stacking up with the rest of the country.
Three New Restaurants Open in the City of Tehachapi
September 9, 2020
Prime Bar & Grill, 4 Seasons Café and Tacos El Superior each opened their new restaurants within the last few weeks, bringing new tastes and long-anticipated choices to the Tehachapi food scene.
Tacos El Superior, which occupies the former Dunkin’ Donuts building on Tucker Road, attempted a pair of “soft openings” last week, only to have the drive thru que run the entire length of the property and spill out among the shoulder of Tucker Road. The restaurant hasn’t officially opened their doors but anticipate to be open full time within the week. This soft opening fed the long-awaited fan base, many of which had tried to company’s food at their flagship food truck in nearby Palmdale, CA. Tacos El Superior continues to hire for a variety of positions and based on the initial reviews and lines for food, they’ll be no shortage of working hours.
Prime Bar & Grill officially opened a few weeks ago with a heavy focus on Indian food with some American fare at their location on Steuber Road adjacent to Flying J and behind the Chevron station. This location fills the need for a restaurant in an area that boasts two travel stops as well as the Baymont Inn & Suites Hotel. Like Tacos El Superior, the restaurant opened to booming business despite offering just take out and patio dining. This is the first Indian restaurant in Tehachapi and has received rave reviews in their first week or so of operation.
Meanwhile on Saturday, September 5, 4 Seasons Café opened in Downtown Tehachapi on the corner of Curry and Tehachapi Blvd. With a large outdoor patio the Asian Fusion café also saw brisk opening weekend business which continued into the post Labor Day work week. The café features a variety of fusion dishes anchored by their Banh Mi sandwiches as well as salads, bulgogi bowls and more. With a convenient location Downtown, 4 Seasons Café quickly filled a vacant former restaurant and opened with a strong first weekend.
The restaurant continues to expand as the construction of Panda Express continues on Tucker Road and a few others are in the works including Round Table Pizza which is undergoing the building plan review process before renovating the former Pacino’s location at the corner of Tehachapi Blvd. and Tucker Road.
The restaurant investments are an encouraging sign as the economy in Tehachapi continues to recover from COVID-19. With each new establishment offering either a different taste to a classic, or a new variety of food altogether, the business has followed with excited customers during the early opening period.
Forgotten No More: Builders Revive 'Applewood Estates'
August 25, 2020
For nearly three decades a housing tract at the crossroads of Elm Street and the terminus of Cherry Lane sat incomplete, many vacant lots in this once promising neighborhood sat void of development, void of neighbors, void of completion.
That all changed just prior to the end of 2019 when Aspen II homes purchased the remaining 17 lots of ‘Applewood Estates’ that encompasses Elm Street, Sherwood Place and Jonathan Place. Permits were issued and home building in the once forgotten corner of the City of Tehachapi commenced.
“Our goal is to provide more housing within this City at an affordable price,” said Nathanael Harbison of OQP Homes who is representing one of the homes currently on the market. “We have a whole spectrum of buyers under the $300,000 range that can’t get into new construction outside of this development within the City of Tehachapi.”
The resurrection of this project is unique, the smaller lot design is untraditional, even when it was initially approved in the 1980’s. But, with that uniqueness comes opportunity for buyers to capture a piece of a limited new-construction inventory in a very competitive housing market.
Three different floor plans are available to choose from, each landing around 1,500 square feet with four bedrooms, two-car garages, and manageable yards. Harbison says energy efficiency is also one of the major selling points for this project, limiting annual expenses with assets such as a tankless water heater and R-22 insulation which leads to better heat and cooling retention.
The first of these homes is already on the market with others breaking ground shortly. 410 Sherwood Place is listed at $299,000 and includes the aforementioned four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage. Other features include Bianco Swan Quartz countertops and luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout the home.
As the only active housing tract project in the City of Tehachapi, the expectation is they will be joined shortly by others who are currently in the planning process and hope to soon break ground providing much-needed housing in one of the most desirable locations in Kern County and the State of California as seen by the 8% increase in single-family home sale prices over the last 12 months.
New Restaurants Create Job Opportunities in Tehachapi
August 11, 2020
As the local economy continues to deal with the interruption presented by COVID-19 and the impact to local employment, new businesses, specifically in the restaurant industry, are providing employment opportunities in Tehachapi.
With seven new restaurants in some sort of development within the City of Tehachapi, local managers are advertising heavily for help. This comes at an opportune time with the recent expiration of the additional federal unemployment benefits approved at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Although there has been some executive action on the subject recently, all signs point to a reduced amount coming from Washington D.C., in addition, well-documented issues with California’s Employment Development Department, have caused delays in many benefits.
With jobs available, residents have an opportunity to continue working or get back to work within a variety of sectors, with restaurants leading that charge due to the large number of local projects.
Tacos El Superior: Still looking to hire 10 additional employees to join their team. This restaurant is nearly completion and will serve as Tehachapi’s first authentic drive-thru taqueria. Those interested can apply online at www.TacosElSuperior.com.
Prime Bar & Grill: Specializing in both Indian and American food, this restaurant has redeveloped the space attached to the Baymont Inn and Suites at Tehachapi Boulevard and Steuber Road. The management team is still seeking cooks for American cuisine as well as servers and hostesses. The restaurant will open shortly to outside dining and to-go orders while still complying with COVID-19 health guidelines. Interested parties can call Kaylee Torres at (213) 308-2808 for application information.
4 Seasons Café: A new restaurant opening soon in the former Time Out Sports Bar location at the corner of Tehachapi Boulevard and Curry Downtown. This corner-café will offer a unique menu and has a variety of openings available soon. Call (864) 363-8399 for more information.
Panda Express: Construction continues on the new restaurant on the northwest corner of the Walmart development with 40 team members expected to be hired. Those interested can reach out to Ana Avila, general manager at (818) 621-9639 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other active restaurant projects include Round Table Pizza, which will be occupying the former Pacino’s Restaurant space after renovation. The hiring process is not expected to start for several months as COVID-19 delayed the construction process. In addition, renovations continue in the former Pizza Hut suite next to Albertson’s where NYC Subs and Deli is moving forward with a small takeout location.
Several other local companies continue to hire employees back as they return to normal or modified operations as COVID-19 continues. These range in a variety of business sectors including medical, professional drivers, dental and contract work.
Local Restaurants/City Come Together For Outdoor Dining Efforts
July 14, 2020
On July 1, California Governor Gavin Newsom rolled back Kern County’s re-opening by ordering all restaurants close once again to indoor dining. This move was not as simple as expected given the reality that many employees just recently returned to work following the March-mandated shutdown.
As a result of this, and the reality that the summer weather in Tehachapi is far more conducive to outdoor dining than the weather during March’s first shutdown, restauranteurs in Tehachapi went to work looking for solutions to keep employees working and serve outdoor diners.
Outdoor dining areas popped up around most all local restaurants, some sought input from the City of Tehachapi, although the formal outdoor dining permit process was waived as business owners seek to survive. Restaurants like Gracians, Kelcy’s, Henry’s Café, Jake’s Steakhouse and others built stand-alone facilities to serve customers outdoors, while others like Ichiban, Big Papa’s, Don Perico, Veritas and others utilized private parking areas or walkways near their buildings for outdoor seating.
Recognizing not all restaurants have the physical outdoor space needed for dining, especially those Downtown, the City of Tehachapi created a social media promotional initiative that mapped out local public spaces (Railroad Park, The Train Depot, Freedom Plaza, Centennial Plaza) and reminded residents of the tables available and walkable restaurants nearby. In addition, the City purchased and installed over a dozen umbrellas at three locations to increase the amount of available shade for those carrying meals out from local establishments.
A complete list of outdoor eating locations along with updated restaurant outdoor dining details can be found on our COVID-19 resource page.
New Investments Continue as COVID-Uncertainty Looms
June 30, 2020
The world hasn’t completely stopped although the moving in and out of economic recovery has been frustrating for many as the goal posts related to COVID-19 continue to change.
With that said, investment continues in the City of Tehachapi, it is a testament to our community, our quality of life and the customers that support local business. As many may have seen, the remodel continues to Tacos El Superior, the Antelope Valley-based business that is opening their first physical location in Tehachapi. Charmed by all the aforementioned qualities they chose to put down roots in Tehachapi and continue towards an opening this summer as they remodel what was once the Dunkin’ Donuts building on Tucker Road.
Construction also continues at a brisk pace at the Towneplace Suites by Marriott in Capital Hills. This project will be our first extended-stay hotel in Tehachapi and will be a wonderful addition to the area provided much-needed hotel rooms. It offers additional accommodations near both Highway 58 and Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital, an important resource for family of patients and staff members alike.
There is movement on the projects slated for the out parcels near Walmart, which opened just shy of a year ago. There were several real estate transactions, lot creations and lot line adjustments necessary to move closer to construction but most of those hurdles have been cleared. Valley Strong Credit Union (formerly Kern Schools) has Planning Commission approval to build a branch on one of the lots along Tehachapi Boulevard. They anticipate breaking ground very soon.
Panda Express also received an approval from the Planning Commission to build a restaurant with a drive-thru earlier this year. They too appear very close to receiving their permits after working through a variety of real estate transactions in order to create the space necessary to build at the northeast corner of the Walmart parking lot. COVID-19 may have slowed but it certainly hasn’t stopped their desire to develop in Tehachapi, something they have been targeting as a corporation for nearly five years. There are a few other new businesses that are taking over available suites and starting something new, more details to come on those.
We understand the uncertainty surrounding these times and we are honored that these companies, both large and small, continue to look at our community as a place they feel comfortable investing and we are honored to share a future with them. Nothing could have prepared us for the impact of COVID-19, and some of our treasured small businesses had to make tough decisions, however, it is a testament to this city and this community as a whole that even amidst uncertainty, Tehachapi is a viable place to invest and continue to do business.
Real Estate Sales Indicate Increase In Value Even Amidst Health Crisis
June 9, 2020
The Tehachapi real estate market continues to produce sales despite the economic setbacks brought on by COVID-19. As with the case in many emergencies that increasingly affect urban communities, history has shown a shift towards a more rural lifestyle for many home buyers may be in the works.
Both the City of Tehachapi and the Greater Tehachapi area have seen an increase in prices since the Governor’s stay-at-home order was put in place in March of this year. With real estate being designated as an essential service, home buyers continued to push forward with purchases despite uncertainty around them.
Recent sales numbers in the area show a decrease in the overall volume of sales from the same period a year ago, but, due to demand and a limited inventory, sales prices remain strong and have posted modest gains in Tehachapi.
The following single family residential home sales numbers were collected from March 19, 2020 (when Governor Newsom issued his stay at home executive order in response to COVID-19) to June 8, 2020. For comparison purposes sales data from the same time period was collected from 2019.
City of Tehachapi
March 19-June 8, 2020
Total Single Family Home Sales 11
Average Sales Price: $331,000
Median Sales Price: $300,000
March 19-June 8, 2019
Total Single Family Home Sales: 28
Average Sales Price: $272,000
Median Sales Price, $277,000
Analysis: While sales volume decreased by 17 sales, the final average sales price of single family homes saw a 22% change while the median price also increased 8% from the same time period a year ago.
Greater Tehachapi Area
March 19-June 8,2020
Total Single Family Home Sales: 98
Average Sales Price: $340,000
Median Sales Price: $322,000
March 19-June 8, 2019
Total Single Family Home Sales: 139
Average Sales Price: $301,000
Median Sales Price: $287,000
Analysis: Sales volume also decreased during this time period, however like the City numbers, the surrounding communities also experienced a sales value increase. Average home sales price increased 13% to $340,000 while the median sales price jumped 12% compared to a year ago.
Tehachapi continues to be a desirable community as seen by the demand and increase in sales value even amidst a health crisis. It is to be expected that potential unrest in urban areas and the reality of life post COVID-19, could drive more potential residents into place like Tehachapi, located near California’s larger cities but removed from many of those larger-city issues and concerns.
Restaurants Open for Dine-In, Retail Opens Doors For Customers Under Phase 2 Consideration. Barbers, Salons added to Guidelines.
May 26, 2020
Following an accepted attestation from the Kern County Board of Supervisors to California Governor Gavin Newsom, Kern County was approved to reopen restaurants to dine-in service and retail establishment to customers late last week.
Each business is responsible for reopening under a set of new guidelines from both the California and Kern County Department of Public Health. The guidelines add sanitary measures to the operation, include social distancing and add some regulations to how business is conducted.
The reopening was a much-needed blessing for many business owners while others were taking more time to process the new requirements and institute the new measures into their business activities. Many local restaurants and retail establishments that elected to open on May 21st were able to take advantage of several visitors that came to Tehachapi over the Memorial Day Weekend. With nearby Los Angeles County still under a stay-at-home order with non-essential businesses closed, many visitors made the short drive to Tehachapi.
Additionally, several local residents organized a cruise in Downtown Tehachapi on Friday night, returning the City to a bygone era. The well-attended cruise turned celebratory as businesses and citizens marked the return to some sort of normal following months of closures and self-isolation in some cases. The City of Tehachapi also greeted the Memorial Day Weekend patrons with marquee message boards on Tehachapi Blvd. that read “Dine-In, Shops Open…Welcome Back.”
The City of Tehachapi has updated our COVID-19 resource page with information under “Restaurants” detailing which restaurants are once again welcoming dine-in customers and helpful links for others such as menus and online ordering options should customers continue to take advantage of those options.
As part of Kern County’s path to reopening, additional COVID-19 testing capacity is required, as a result, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital at 1100 Magellan Drive is now operating a drive-thru testing facility Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. An appointment is necessary and residents can make one by calling 661-771-8775 between 8 a.m. & 5 p.m. Monday- Friday.
Following the Memorial Day Weekend, Governor Newsom has allowed personal services such as hair salons and barbershops to reopen in counties like Kern that are moving along quicker in Phase 2. The following guidelines have been issued and can be accessed here.
No Dine In Yet, But State Issues New Guidelines For That Process
May 12, 2020
During his May 12th daily briefing on COVID-19 response, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a series of new guidelines to allow restaurants to prepare for the return of in-person dining in the future.
While these guidelines, released from the California Department of Public Health and Cal OSHA, do not open restaurants for dine-in service at this time, this guidelines are a road map that will allow restaurant owners to start implementing for when restaurants are open to dine in customers again.
The Kern County Department of Public Health continues to work on the transition for reopening sectors of the economy including local restaurants, that however requires the permission to move further along in the second phase of reopening as laid out previously by Governor Newsom. There are certain criteria released by the governor that Kern County has admitted will be challenging to meet, and further requests have been made to allow for more latitude in a large and diverse County such as Kern. Governor Newsom acknowledged that challenge during his May 12th address and has cited his willingness to work with Kern County.
In the meantime, these latest guidelines will assist restaurant owners the ability to prepare and protect their staff and customers when reopening is authorized.
To access the guidelines released by the California Department of Public Health CLICK HERE>>
For a checklist of Dine In Restaurants CLICK HERE>>>
The New Normal: When Business Reopens, What Will That Look Like?
April 28, 2020
Our direction continues to be vague about when business will “get back to normal,” but rest assured the City of Tehachapi staff has dedicated countless hours to gathering as much data as possible to help local business prepare for when whatever new version of “normal” we receive when the economy reopens.
The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit economically both locally and nationally. Estimates from Hathaway Consumer Insights claims that in a recent study 26% of consumers claim they won’t return to eating in restaurants after COVID-19 and they aren’t planning on ordering out during the current state of affairs. While some will stray from this assertion, this could lead to increased competition in the industry.
All statistics/studies are open to interpretation. This particular study was conducted in New York City, where the outbreak of COVID-19 was far worse than what we’ve seen in Kern County and Tehachapi specifically. Based on the local response and desire to support local restaurants, takeout orders have been steady and the desire to return to their favorite eateries is present. Will 26% not eat out during or after COVID-19? Unlikely the number will be that high locally but in a community with a large number of elderly and vulnerable population some decline in available customers is to be expected.
What does that mean for a restaurant owner? For starters, much of the new business practices being adopted such as online ordering, strong social media presence, curbside pickup, apps and delivery will continue to be a relevant part of the “new normal” upon reopening in full capacity. In some of our data collecting its been noted that restaurants such as Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings are experiencing an increase in business due to their previous investment in technology and curbside pickup.
Others are reporting that delivery and curbside pickups are helping ease the strain, but not completely replacing lost revenue during the shutdown.
What will the new normal look like? It’s tough to say. Some basic principles mentioned by Governor Gavin Newsom two weeks ago include disposable paper menus for restaurants, reduced capacity and fewer tables as well as a potential for temperature checks at the door (although these normally require a trained medical professional in every other case so don’t put too much worry into that).
It’s hard to prepare for guidelines that haven’t been released yet, in the meantime here are a few to prepare for that will most likely be a part of new business practices:
- Continue building online, telephone, delivery and curbside pickup options.
- Build a strong photo library of your prepared dishes and continue to push on various social media platforms
- Invest in technology which includes a website, a simple online ordering platform and if possible an app to help your business be more mobile-friendly to capture the majority of the online activity.
- Find creative ways to replace, clean or bring awareness to commonly-touched spaces in your business such as doorknobs, light switches, etc. Some companies are putting bright stickers next to them which will remind employees to either wash hands or sanitize after touching them.
Studies are currently underway in countries that are attempting their recovery from coronavirus-shutdowns. Early data shows a 16% increase in only ordering in China since they reopened their economy, other data will be forthcoming as additional states in the U.S. open their doors as well.
Here’s more from Inc.com about preparing for reopening your business for a post COVID-19 economy.
The National Restaurant Association recently released some draft guidelines for opening dining rooms across America. Click the link and download the resource guide filled with best practices, many which can be planned now so you’re prepared for in-person dining as soon as it is allowable.
We will continue to gather best practices, information and communicate them as part of our economic development efforts as we focus on recovery.
USDA Unveils Tools to Assist Rural Communities Address the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 13, 2020
USDA’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide Lists Federal Programs That Can Help Rural Communities, Organizations and Residents Impacted by COVID-19. This Resource Guide Has Been Added to The City of Tehachapi COVID-19 Resource Guide
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.
“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19,” Perdue said. “This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time.”
USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
COVID-19 Impact and Small Business Impact
March 18, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 virus and its impact on national and local economies as well as small business, several resources have been made available for business owners to reduce strain.
The City of Tehachapi held a special City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 on the steps of City Hall where at the suggestion of the Economic Development Department, authorized a temporary program to defer utility payments for small businesses in the City of Tehachapi.
The temporary policy adopted unanimously by the Council includes the following:
- An opt-in program to defer utility payments (water, sewer, trash) for the usage in the months of March and April 2020. Each account shall be paid by the business with the balance of the account spread over the billing period for the next six months (May-October). This will allow the amount due to be paid when business resumes to normal levels.
- The program will be available to small businesses consistent with the United States Small Business Administrations’ size standards.
- Following the two-month deferment period, this program may be extended to certain businesses on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the City Manager.
Additionally, all utility accounts in the City of Tehachapi will benefit from the suspension of late fees for the next two months and all water shutoffs will be suspended until May 31, 2020. The intent is to allow for more leniency in payments for all accounts and those who are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy.
Businesses can opt-in to the deferred payment plan but emailing Hillorie Thomas at email@example.com or by calling 822-2200 ex. 107
At the direction of President Donald Trump, the Small Business Administration has announced loans of up to $2 million for small businesses impacted by Coronavirus. According to the SBA, the agency will work with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loads to small businesses that have severely been impacted by the situation.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Approved California state emergency declaration for small businesses;
- This action was required to authorize disasters loans in the state; and
- Applies to all 58 counties in California.
- Streamlining SBA process so applications can be approved more quickly;
- Can loan up to $2 million for a small business.
- 3.75% interest rate for businesses,
- 2.75% interest rate for non-profits; and
- Loans are 30 year loans.
- To apply, go online to: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ .
Here is the process for accessing SBA’s Coronavirus Disaster Relief Lending:
- The Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
- Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
- Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, there are several other resources and information available for business owners in the wake of Coronavirus.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has compiled helpful information for employers and employees.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has also arranged helpful information for workers and employers in regards to sick leave, work scheduling, etc.
Those with travel-related businesses or those who benefit from tourism, Visit California has put together a variety of studies and reports on the potential impact of the virus to the industry.
City Council Updates Connection, Water/Sewer Fees
February 25, 2020
The Tehachapi City Council recently approved a new slate of water and sewer connection fees that result in a net-decrease for new businesses looking to invest and build in the City of Tehachapi.
Led by the Development Services Department, the City of Tehachapi contracted with MKN and Associates for an in-depth study on the rates for new commercial and residential construction projects as it pertains to potential expansion of the City’s water and sewer treatment facilities as growth is appropriate. The intent of the studies does not specifically target an increase or decrease in fees, but to ensure the proper amount is being charged to new development.
MKN produced updated, detailed water and sewer system atlas maps displaying up-to-date information about existing systems for use by the City Utility Department and the City Engineering Department. This data was then input to a detailed hydraulic model for the City’s water and sewer system and the models were then used to evaluate the City systems for any anomalies or deficiencies. Working with City Staff, MKN produced projected 10-year growth scenarios for the City itself, based on these growth projections, MKN modeled the impacts to the City utility systems and projected required system improvements to address these growth impacts while establishing updates to the City water, sewer, and sewer trunk main fees.
As a result, several of the fees were reduced, for example the water connection fee went from $6,708 to $2,047 per equivalent dwelling unit (EDU), sewer treatment and disposal fees were reduced from $7,259 to $4,822 per EDU as well. There was one increase to the businesses looking to build on the Tucker Road commercial corridor as the sewer trunk fee increased from $600 to $1,935. Additionally, the City did adopt a new ‘water entitlement fee’ for developers that increased the price per EDU from $500 to $3,148. This fee will be used to purchase water rights on the open market in the adjudicated Tehachapi basin, assist in constructing the Groundwater Sustainability Project or import a 20-year water supply to support the development from Tehachapi County Cummings Water District, the local water master. Developers that possess water rights would have the option of turning those rights over to the City in lieu of the fee.
The new fee structure results in a net reduction for many projects, for example, if a developer was interested in developing a fast-casual restaurant along Tucker Road, under the old fee structure the total due would have been $119,621. After the adoption of the new fee structure last week, that total for water/sewer connection, water entitlement and Tucker Trunk connection is reduced to $91,283. These savings are increased in other areas of the City where the trunk connection is not necessary.
These type of studies, updates to facilities and appropriate fees are in line with the direction of the Tehachapi City Council who believes that development pays their own way, not current residents and users of the City utility systems. This latest update strikes a balance that assures necessary expansions when appropriate but doesn’t overburden new development.
TK Pizza Expands Again, Adds Outdoor Patio
February 11, 2020
There has not been a shortage of investments from the owners of TK Pizza & Pasta, the local Tehachapi favorite since the business was purchased by Tyler and Wesley Shryock in 2013. Located at 640 W. Tehachapi Boulevard adjacent to the former K Mart building, the investments continue, despite the anchor tenant closing up shop a few months ago.
Since taking ownership of the business in 2013, the Shryocks have transformed the once-struggling Tehachapi restaurant into the pizza and craft beer powerhouse it is today. That journey began with the business purchase in 2013, an expansion into a second suite in 2016, the purchase of the building in 2019 and now with the building under their control, TK Pizza is expanding once again.
This time it’s a new 980 square-foot patio area that will include fire pits, room for games, standing tables and a few more surprises to make outdoor dining a realty in the favorable weather months.
“It’s the next step for us,” said owner Tyler Shryock. “The community has supported the business very well so we wanted to give something in return.”
There are also plans to replace parking lot lighting once under the control of Kmart, so TKs patrons can continue to have well-illuminated places to park.
Shryock adds that the patio will be pet-friendly and will help ease the overcrowding at the popular destination, create a unique environment for enjoying the surroundings, increase the value of the business and the building all while proving the shopping center is still valuable in the absence of the large neighbor.
“At the end of the day we have to do what’s best for us and the community,” Shryock said. “We hope by investing in our building and appearance we will help attract another tenant in there and that helps us all.”
With more room for special events, their well-attended “tap-takeovers” from craft breweries and some extra space for more patrons and guests, the new TK Pizza & Pasta patio continues to help write the story of local business success in Tehachapi. Since the revitalization of the brand under the Shryock’s ownership, TK Pizza is a small-business that has made a name for itself in Tehachapi and with a dedicated following of customers who stop in during their visits to the area.
Tehachapi Plans Announced for Three Companies
January 28, 2020
Three new restaurant offerings are in the various stages of processing for the City of Tehachapi as the 2020 calendar year started off with a bang.
At the January 13th Planning Commission meeting an investment group received approval for a 6,005 square-foot retail center in Capital Hills just off the Mill Street exit. This center will be anchored by a third Starbucks location and the second with a drive thru in Tehachapi. It will rely heavily on the visibility from Highway 58 as well as the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital, Holiday Inn Express and when it is opened in 2021, the Towneplace Suites by Marriott which recently started construction.
After weeks of speculation, the owners of Tacos El Superior, a restaurant group out of Lancaster, announced the close of escrow on what was the Dunkin’ Donuts building on Tucker Road just south of Walmart. The facility is still pending some modifications for a full kitchen and approval by the planning commission but the fast casual eatery is hoping to open sometime in the spring. Tacos El Superior is currently recruiting several positions including restaurant general manager, cooks and front counter staff.
After years of working with the City of Tehachapi, Panda Express Restaurant Group submitted plans and will soon be seeking approval from the Planning Commission to build a 3,000 s.f. drive thru restaurant on the northwest corner of the Walmart parking lot. Panda Express has had interest in the City of Tehachapi for years and was waiting one of two major commercial developments to be constructed before selecting their site. They are hoping to be open in November of this year.
The balance of businesses coming to the City of Tehachapi shows both the corporate interests such as Starbucks and Panda Express, but also the small business influence like Tacos El Superior, a small brand that is joining others and expanding operations in Tehachapi.
As 2020 begins, 2019 Left a Lasting Impression on Local Economy
January 7, 2020
In 2019 the City of Tehachapi experienced incredible economic growth. From new businesses, expanded retail opportunities and private reinvestment into Downtown that has set the stage for another great year in 2020. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from 2019 in our local economy.
Adventist Health sparks healthcare growth in the City of Tehachapi. Expanded hospital offerings in 2019 meant more employees in the health care industry and more services for Tehachapi residents. 2019 was the first full-year of operation for the new facility in Capital Hills, since opening other companies such as Dignity Health opened a new clinic while Kaiser Permanente and Omni Family health added physicians and other services for local patients, cutting down on necessary trips outside of the area. Tehachapi is contributing to health care being the fastest growing job sector in Kern County.
More Grand Openings. 12 local businesses celebrated grand openings in the City of Tehachapi in 2019 through the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce. Their were a few others that opened but didn’t have an official grand opening ceremony. Some of the notable grand openings included Walmart, Cricket Wireless, World Wind and Solar and the Tehachapi Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Private downtown reinvestment flourishes. 2019 saw the renovation or continued renovation of a variety of downtown buildings including World Wind and Solar at 228 W. Tehachapi Blvd and Lucky’s Barbershop and T.A.D.A. at the corner of Green and E Streets. The former Moose Lodge at the corner of Curry and F Street as well as the former St. Vincent de Paul thrift store all were purchased in 2019 and are currently being renovated. In the next 12 months those projects, along with the Stray Leaves wine tasting room at the corner of Green and Tehachapi Blvd. will be completed and open to the public.
Walmart opens, brings jobs and additional investment. After 13 months of construction Tehachapi’s Walmart opened in August quickly proving the pent-up demand for retail with a very successful grand opening and corresponding months of business. The parcel also includes several out lot developments, one of which was purchased by Kern Schools Federal Credit Union who will being construction shortly on a new Tehachapi branch. Panda Express has also submitted plans for their restaurant that will front Tucker road in the northwest corner of the Walmart property.
Local landmark returns to former glory. After operating for only special events, Kelcy’s Restaurant reopened to full-time business hours in 2019. The restaurant has a long history in Tehachapi as seen by the photos adorning its walls. The new version of Kelcy’s is open for breakfast and lunch daily from 7 am to 3 pm and is already once again a popular spot for locals and visitors to Tehachapi.
Education Expands. Cerro Coso Community College added a variety of course offerings at their Tehachapi Campus which has been recognized as the fastest growing campus in Cerro Coso’s territory. The campus also physically expanded leasing additional classroom space from the Tehachapi Unified School District at the Tehachapi Education Center on Snyder Avenue.The campus is also slated to operate its first police academy in 2020.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs bring new wrinkle to doing business. The City of Tehachapi and surrounding communities were without power on a few occasions in the month of October as a result of Southern California Edison’s PSPS protocol. The public safety move, meant to prevent wildfires, does cause concern for small business owners due to lost revenue and backup power costs. These events are expected to be commonplace as the local power grid is updated and will be something businesses will need to budget and prepare for annually. The City of Tehachapi continues to work with SCE about solutions to reduce the economic impact in the area as much as possible.
Marriott starts construction. Towneplace Suites by Marriott started construction on a new $6.5 million 82-room hotel in Capital Hills. The hotel is the first extended-stay facility and becomes the sixth full-service hotel offering in the City of Tehachapi. It is expected to open in Spring of 2021.
Towneplace Suites by Marriott Breaks Ground in Capital Hills
December 10, 2019
Towneplace Suites by Marriott turned the ceremonial shovel on December 4th for the first extended-stay hotel offering in the City of Tehachapi. H2H, the Kern County-based investment group bringing the hotel to Tehachapi will build an 82-room facility on Magellan Drive, is part of a planned business park situated just one block from Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital.
The brand offers studio and one-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, as well as separate living/working and sleeping areas. The suites include adjustable workspaces with built-in shelves and lighting, large flat screen televisions and flexible storage and closets. On-site food options include outdoor Weber grills, a 24-hour ‘In a Pinch’ market and coffee service. Other amenities at the new Towneplace Suites include an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, meeting space, laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi and copying, faxing and printing services.
While the building itself will be impressive, the economic impact of the project will benefit the entire community.
First construction, Klassen Corporation out of Bakersfield has been hired for the construction of the three-story project that is estimated for completion in summer of 2021. With larger rooms and more work than a standard hotel the 16-month construction timeline is expected. Klassen anticipates having an estimated 100 workers on the job site at the height of construction. This means additional revenue for nearby restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores. This was the similar case to the recently-completed Walmart project in which construction crews bolstered surrounding businesses during the year-long construction process.
On the employment front, the hotel will add an estimated 30 new jobs according to Hotel Equities, the Atlanta-based company who will operate the property. Hotel Equities develops and operates hotels throughout the United States and Canada including five others in Kern County, several of which are under development. 12 of those jobs are expected to be full-time positions.
“We are proud to progress into the next phase of development for the Towneplace Suites Tehachapi,” Greg Presley, vice president of business development for HE said in a press release. “We initially entered the California market a number of years ago and have delivered tremendous results. Those high-performance results for great owners, like our partners at H2H Group, have resulted in our continued growth out west. We’re proud to work alongside Ajay Anand, managing partner of H2H Asset Group, to open this hotel to guests in summer of 2021.”
The development of the Towneplace Suites brings the total number of full-service hotels to six. It is estimated that the hotels in Tehachapi have an average of 80-percent occupancy rate each night, creating a demand for additional accommodations, especially with Tehachapi’s busy event schedule and growth in a variety of tourism industries.
Towneplace Suites by Marriott Receives Permits, Set to Break Ground on December 4th
November 26, 2019
An 82-room Towneplace Suites by Marriott, approved by the City of Tehachapi Planning Commission in early 2019, has officially received building permits and will break ground on December 4th.
The new hotel becomes the fifth full-service hotel in the City of Tehachapi and the second to be built in Capital Hills. With the opening of Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley in Capital Hills the area is attracting new investment, including the Towneplace Suites with their extended-stay and larger room setup geared towards those visiting patients. It is also very functional for family and business travelers who require additional space within the extended-stay model.
This hotel also becomes the second Marriott product to open in Tehachapi joining the Fairfield Inn by Marriott located on Tehachapi Boulevard. The Towneplace Suites has a different ownership group. The new hotel will be over 46,000 square feet and brings the total number of full-service hotel rooms in the City to 483 while becoming the first extended-stay style hotel in the area. With a growing tourism industry, travelers coming through the area on Highway 58, multiple summer festivals and the year-round attraction that is Tehachapi, the additional lodging options will be beneficial for visitors, business travelers and residents alike.
With the hospital and a new hotel development, the potential for Capital Hills is being realized in various forms. The highway visibility, location of services and available land have placed it at the forefront of development albeit several decades after its initial inception.
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.”