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The building at 122 S. Green St. is slated to be renovated and become a coworking space in downtown Tehachapi.

Local business owners may have a new way to save on expenses, share ideas and mingle downtown in the planned coworking space, called The Village Co., in the building at 122 S. Green St. most recently occupied by the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. 

“The coworking space will be open to small business owners who want to work in a hip environment with shared amenities, avoiding the full burden of operating expenses related to owning or leasing a full space,” said Nikki Cummings, new owner and president of World Wind and Solar.

Buddy and Nikki Cummings, owners of World Wind & Solar, purchased the building last year and in October 2018 the Tehachapi Planning Commission approved an architectural design and site review plan.

Construction is slated to begin this year, developing the look of the building into “an urban contemporary feel with warm rustic elements” both inside and out. The building will be separated into multiple open and private office spaces with conference rooms and other areas. It will have a large communal kitchen, lounge area, and outdoor seating, said Nikki Cummings.

A new cafe in the same building will be open to the public. Tenant applicants are being considered with the decision on cuisine still in the works, said Cummings.

“The space will bring together a community of small businesses, fostering collaboration and support. It will offer first-class accommodations at an accessible rate. It will be a center for innovation and business growth, offering classes, seminars and networking opportunities to members,” said Nikki Cummings.

Coworking spaces are becoming more popular.

Small business owners value flexibility to work on their own schedule, to ask for feedback from surrounding businesses, and to rent an area that fits their budget — be it a space at a table or a private office. Coworking space allows members to share printers, internet access, conference rooms and other amenities, according to the Harvard Business Review.

More than 200 workers, managers and founders interviewed in a recent study said being in a coworking space was helping them improve their skill sets, feel valuable in projects and be part of the community, according to hbr.org.

“We are thrilled to be creating a space that will offer a new dining experience, as well as a separate venue that will bring together small business entrepreneurs. As local business owners, and residents, we are passionate about this town and investing in enhancing our business community and working to develop our vibrant downtown,” said Buddy Cummings.

Some buildings in the downtown area have separate offices, although many do not share appliances or resources.

"A coworking space could be successful in the city. With so many commuters in our community, 60 percent-plus — there are bound to be some people who could telecommute at least part time if there was a quality option available," said Jay Schlosser, development services director for the city of Tehachapi.