Tehachapi will soon say goodbye to one of its oldest tourist attractions. After 25 years of operation, Indian Point Ostrich Ranch will no longer be open to sightseers or for public tours as of Feb. 26.
For the past year, owners Joel and Marcy Brust have actively searched for someone to purchase the tourist portion of their 80-acre ranch in hopes it would remain open for the public to enjoy. Easier said than done.
"We are still talking to some people … but some of the dialogue just goes on and on, so Marcy and I decided we have to pick a date (to close the ranch)," Joel said. "If we do find somebody after the fact, they can reopen it if they want."
The Brusts have no interest in selling any of the ranch's real estate. However, should a buyer come along, they would be willing to allow their ranch to be used as an ostrich tourist attraction. They would be the landlords while they continue to reside in their cabin home there.
Said Joel, "The meat component of the business we sold two years ago, so we're not in the meat business any longer."
Joel said he and Marcy will continue to operate the ostrich oil portion of their business online. Marcy will oversee it.
"We actually have some people who may be buying the oil portion of the business on the east coast, which is fine because that can go either way," Joel said. "That's the kind of business that can be operated anywhere."
Although Joel said he still hopes a buyer will come forward, he does not believe a deal could be struck and closed in time to prevent the tourist portion from closing at 4 p.m. Feb. 26.
However, "If somebody came along and said they wanted to buy the tourist business after we already closed, it could be reactivated so easily," he said.
The Brusts plan to keep some of the ostriches they have grown to know and love, as well as continue incubating chicks for individuals interested in breaking into the lucrative business.
Said Joel, "Every year there is a marketplace for new breeders, which is pretty significant. Marcy and I decided we would keep a few birds around here and do a little hatch. It is really a growing industry."
The Brusts say they will most miss the crowds of people who have come to visit the ranch over the years, many of whom are second-generation visitors.
Said Joel, "I am pretty excited about the next chapter, because I have been in this one for so long. It's not so much that I am sad about the ranch closing, but more that I wish I wasn't in a position to have to make a decision that might disappoint people."
Looking back on the last quarter of a century, Joel says he and Marcy will continue to carry many happy memories that were "hatched" on the ranch.
Said Joel, “It’s with a smile and heartfelt gratitude, we say thank you to everyone for 25 years of sharing our glorious experience with these magnificent birds.”
Economically qualified individuals interested in purchasing the tourist attraction can call Joel or Marcy Brust at 661-822-9131, ext. 304. More information can also be found online at indianpointranch.com.