If you are a business owner, or a potential business owner, understanding the spending habits of consumers within the city of Tehachapi would be a vital tool in gauging the local market. Recently, the city of Tehachapi has enlisted the help of eImpact by uploading a new Demographics and Economic Opportunity dashboard to its website at LiveUpTehachapi.com.
According to Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe, the dashboard includes an updated study with information and graphics from a variety of data sources and includes an increased trade area that is presently being served by city of Tehachapi businesses.
“The anecdotal evidence over the last few years was telling this story, but it is great to see the actual data presented in a way that shows that our city businesses of all sizes are serving a considerable customer base,” Costelloe said.
According to Costelloe, spending habits are calculated primarily through cell phone and credit card use and collected by consumer companies.
"It is monitored by a variety of things," Costelloe said. "Cell phones and credit cards tell a major story."
As far as getting the latest in updated information, Costelloe said he is happy to have a means to capture the most recent sales data.
Business owners and developers can now also access this information simply by logging onto the city's website.
"The demographics tell the story... who is shopping where," he said. "All that matters."
Costelloe went on to say that the introduction of larger corporate entities such as Walmart, Home Depot and Tractor Supply over the last decade has also helped position the city of Tehachapi as an economic destination for surrounding communities lacking the retail offerings in their own communities.
"The surprise was the total retail sales, especially in general merchandise. That is a big tribute to what Walmart has done," he said.
The positive impact to small businesses is also evident with new independently owned businesses opening Tehachapi storefronts as the consumer base increases.
Said Costelloe, "Our retail leakage is done, and people are spending more money locally whether they live here or are coming into the area. So that's good news because we are keeping those purchases here in town."
According to City Manager Greg Garrett, the dashboard is an important tool to understanding the city's economic health.
"Several years ago... we found that the revenue was leaving our community and being exported to Bakersfield, Lancaster, Palmdale," Garrett said. "The shocker was the amount of money that Tehachapi was spending elsewhere. That was because there was limited shopping opportunities."
Garrett went on to say that the city began to focus on filling these holes with small, medium and large businesses.
Said Garrett, "We have been doing this for the past several years, and wanted to update our economic study. Now, we have found that the pendulum has not just swung the other way, but we are finding that East Kern (consumers) now come here, and we have become a retail shopping destination. Instead of exporting our dollars, we are importing them into our community."
For more information about economic development or business opportunities in the city of Tehachapi, contact Corey Costelloe at 822-2200 ex. 121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.