TEHACHAPI, Calif. — Tehachapi’s downtown district is seeing big changes. Local companies are starting to turn old storefronts into new businesses.
A decade ago the city used public money to fix up some local landmarks, redo sidewalks and crosswalks. Now the economic source is local companies investing downtown. One of those companies is World Wind and Solar. They’ve spent millions turning the old Ace Hardware store on Tehachapi boulevard into their world headquarters and the thrift store on South Green Street into a shared office space with café.
Nikki Cummings is one of the co-founders of World Wind and Solar. She said, “We also hope it will inspire other people to do the same. There are already a handful of businesses that are renovating downtown buildings. And hopefully we will continue to see that here. We love living here and we’re proud to be a part of Tehachapi.”
Another business is Stray Leaves Vineyard. They’re turning the old First Interstate Bank Building on South Green Street into the downtown’s first wine tasting venue. As new businesses look to move in, city officials say they’re planning to keep a local feel downtown.
Corey Costelloe, who is assistant to Tehachapi's city manager said, “The downtown is more reserved for the non, the non chains, the mom and pops, the independent operators the small business owners. And that’s what’s helped us really have a strong small business economy.”
These new developments mean more things for locals to do downtown. And they say they need that.
Debra Yungkurth lives in Tehachapi with here children and husband. She said, “I think it’s a great idea. Tehachapi is booming in population, but they do need more local resources and nobody wants to look at an empty building for years on end.”
While Tehachapi newcomer, Eli Lockwood, said, “It’d be great to have family come in and to bring them out and go to the wine tasting, go see the sights and enjoy what Tehachapi has to offer. Right now there’s so much here but there doesn’t seem like there’s a great way to actually experience it.”
But there is one concern to the new development.
Brandon Myrick has lived in Tehachapi most of his life, he said, “I just hope it doesn’t get too big. Having a nice small town feel is nice. Just having a few extra businesses help out it does help.”
Walmart is also getting ready to open later this summer, which many locals are excited about. Also across the tracks from the downtown district a new breweries, Westlane Brewing, is still in their soft opening phase. Costelloe said that part of the city could be incorporated into the downtown district soon.