Key budge, The Community Engagement Specialist with the City of Tehachapi, says they want to help businesses who have been most impacted by the pandemic. He says, “We’ve done everything we can to support small businesses, mom and pops, because small business is the backbone of America.” He adds, “local businesses are owned by our neighbors. These are the people that live next door to us. We need to help each other. And if we don’t take care of each other, who else is going to?”
Budge says shoppers who spends up to $100 at locally owned businesses through the month of March in Tehachapi, can then bring their receipts to City Hall. Where they’ll give you a $20 gift card to one of 10 restaurants that you can choose from. Budge says, “It’s a small amount of money, but it can generate a lot more if the community gets out there and does their part as well.”
Budge says the city purchased five $20 dollar gift cards from each restaurant totaling out to 1,000 dollars. Some of these include; Kelcy’s , 4 Seasons Cafe, Village Grill, and more.
“Things have been slow for them and they shared that with us through our economic development. So we’ve chosen these different restaurants, based on their need.“
He said these gift cards are a way to put money into the business immediately, with more money to follow in the future. Budge says, “So that they have that money up front and then those that redeem it and get a gift card, they’ll be able to go and spend a little bit more, and maybe even try some place new. That's what it's all about, it's a reward for shopping locally within the city.
And Budge says this idea all started after hearing of a similar program on the Central Coast, near Grover Beach. And they liked it so much that the city took the idea and molded it to Tehachapi. And he says if it all goes well, residents may see a second phase of this program roll out. Budge says, “The City Council approved this. It comes out of the General Government budget. So it’s $1,000 the city decided to spend. Also, they said if the program was successful they would give us another $1,000 to put back into the program.”
Now there are a few things to note if you do take part in this program; you don’t have to live in Tehachapi in order to receive these gift cards, but rather all items should be purchased within the city limits. These items can be purchased at any small business. Whether that’s a hair salon, nail salon, or even restaurant. However, there are some items that will not be eligible These include, fuel Tobacco, or alcohol.