Always answering the call of duty, South Street Digital has been named Small Business of the Year for 2021 by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News.

Since South Street Digital first opened its doors in 2014, its owners have given generously of their services, products and personal time.

Lydia Chaney and Audrey Post have included Eric Horn in the ownership of their design and print shop.

"We made him co-owner because when we retire, he is taking over," Chaney said last week.

In addition to the trio, high schooler Sterling Nicholas works part time as an administrative assistant.

Chaney and Post moved to Tehachapi with the intent to semi-retire; however, they found a great need for a printing business after they arrived.

"I missed printing," said Chaney, "That's when we said let's open a print shop, and so that's what we did."

Chaney said she was very excited to find out South Street Digital won the award.

"We are very heavily involved in the community, and it was very nice to get the recognition because it's not only the work we produce, and yes we are in business to make money, but we also have a real strong connection with the community," Chaney said.

Post said winning the award was very humbling.

"It's very appreciated," Post said. "We enjoy what we do, and we enjoy what we do with the community and for the community. We are finally living in an area and in a neighborhood where we are not just another number, and that's important to us because we like making a positive impact."

As the newest owner, Horn said winning the award is a huge honor to him.

"It is really important to be a part of the community and to give back," Horn said. "This place is just so welcoming to us that we have been able to take it and run and grow."

Part of South Street Digital's tagline is, "and more..."

That is why they strive to provide products that make their customers proud.

Said Post, "The Tehachapi community has not hesitated to exercise South Street Digital's ability to provide products that test our limits. It has and continues to be just as rewarding to complete one-off jobs for customers that need just that special touch to their project as it is to research and discover new ways to complete this for our customers."

Chaney has been in the printing business for more than 40 years and has a college degree in graphic communications. Post also went to college for graphic design; in fact, that is how the two women met years ago.

In 2019, South Street Digital was awarded the Woman Owned Business of the Year by the Central California Small Business Development Center Regional Network for exemplary public service and civic contributions to the community and county of Kern.

As with most businesses, small and large, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the printers, forcing them to expand their services while helping out fellow business owners.

During the pandemic, South Street Digital provided several local restaurants with Food To Go banners at no charge. In addition, they completed the photo shoots for Jacobsen Middle School's yearbook after its regular photography company declined to perform.

Said Chaney, "We're excited about it because we get to go out and see the kids and it's nice to be able to give them something that they are used to every year after they already had their year messed up."

The printers also started making yard signs for the families of graduating seniors in recognition of their achievements in lieu of a graduation ceremony.

Also, they provided three Adventist Health hospitals with various COVID-related materials.

"South Street Digital is an amazing asset to our community, and we are excited to honor them as Small Business of the Year. Always answering the call when help is needed though donations, sponsorships and volunteering their time," said Ida Perkins, president of the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce.

Another reason for winning the award is because all employees serve on multiple boards within the community, including the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation, Tehachapi Police Foundation, Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council, Cheers to Charity, Friends of the Depot Platform Project and the GranFondo committee. 

South Street Digital has become a printing force for the east Kern area, including Rio Tinto, Mojave Air & Space Port, Lehigh Cement, Golden Queen Mining, AV EDGE, The Spaceship Company and numerous wind energy and solar companies.

South Street Digital fulfills all signage needs, including large and metal, as well as digital printing services.

"Whatever is needed, we try to put our heads together to get it done," Chaney said, adding, "we love what we are doing and we have a good time doing it. We love coming into work."

For more information, visit southstreetdigital.com, their Facebook page, or in person at 20825 South Street, Suite B, or call 823-4908.