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New Tehachapi grant program reimburses small business owners for new sign costs

The grant reimburses business owners in the city for up to $3,000 back for new or upgraded signs
Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-24 21:26:38-04
  • The new sign grant program helps small businesses with the cost of buying or replacing signs, up to $3,000 back
  • Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe hopes the reimbursement will help local businesses build their client-base and stay open in Tehachapi
  • Full details on the program and requirements can be found on the Tehachapi City Website


Walking through downtown Tehachapi, you’ll notice signs advertising local businesses. The cost of those, however, can be a lot for business owners. A new grant program from the city that hopes to ease that burden.

"With the money that I got back, I was able to buy more inventory. I was able to do little touch-ups in the store—so it's definitely helped getting some of that money back," explained Kristen Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Firearms.

Running a small business isn't easy, and costs can add up quickly. For Hamilton, this sign grant program came during a much-needed time.

"We literally just spent all the money on inventory, and I was like, 'Okay what am I going to do next?' We gotta do a couple different things. It was like one of those things when you don't expect it and it's like, 'Oh, thank god.'"

The small business sign grant program, run by Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe, started on a routine visit to a new local shop.

"The idea just came about when the City Manager and I were visiting a new local business and they talked about, 'Well, eventually we're gonna get a sign,' and we walked out and said, 'We should figure out a program to help,'" Costelloe said.

The grant reimburses businesses for 50% of the sign cost. The city will match between five-hundred and up to three thousand dollars.

For small businesses, whether they are just starting out or already established, that extra money can be a major benefit.

Costelloe said this grant will help to retain small businesses within the city.

“I hope that will encourage people to use that money elsewhere in their business and just, lower their bottom line a bit, and overhead, so they can be successful and continue to operate in the city for a long time,” said Costelloe.

Hamilton first opened her store in Tehachapi in August. She says that the city has helped her as a small business owner, and she encourages other business owners to reach out.

“I definitely know it’s stressful opening your own business and having to revamp certain things, but just know that the city is there to help you,” Hamilton said.

While the program mainly focuses on reimbursing costs for new signs, Costelloe said exceptions can be made for upgrading historic signs throughout the city. For more information about the sign program, visit the City of Tehachapi website.

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