The city of Tehachapi has been blessed to be able to assist in the continued economic vitality of our region. It has been a busy month or so as we have made several decisions to help support our friends and neighbors.
A few weeks back, the Tehachapi City Council approved the Small Business Loyalty Program, an initiative that will reward customers who shop at independently owned small businesses in the city of Tehachapi. Shoppers who bring $100 or more worth of receipts to City Hall will receive a $20 gift card to a local restaurant. Qualifying purchases include retail, professional services such as hair, nail, and salon treatments, automotive, even meals at restaurants. The hope is to not only encourage local small business purchases, but also send customers back for gift card redemption, which almost always means additional purchases. Complete rules and regulations for the program can be found on our website, LiveUpTehachapi.com.
In addition, the council approved an initiative for the spring which will encourage neighbors to nominate one another for recent beautification of their homes and yards. This program includes a yard plaque for the winners and recognition by the City Council. There have been several improvements, renovations and remodels that have brought life into many older homes recently and this program will not only recognize those, but others who maintain and keep curb appeal at the highest levels on a regular basis.
Additionally, the city of Tehachapi stepped forward as a major donor to the Friends of the Tehachapi Depot Loop viewing platform project. This project has floated around for several years and is finally in the fundraising stages. This will bring a safe viewing platform to Woodford-Tehachapi Road for visitors to the Tehachapi Loop. Currently the area is not very safe and consists of just a dirt shoulder and a few monuments.
Although the project is outside city limits, Mayor Phil Smith and the council agreed that the impact of the Loop, the tie-in recognition between that marvel and our own Tehachapi Depot Museum, and the involvement of FOTD, which operates the Depot Museum, was justification enough to make the monetary contribution. The city joins a list of major donors that have come on board during the early phases of fundraising with the public campaign set to kick off in March. We believe visitors worldwide will donate to this project that will enhance our Loop.
Finally, the city recently released our new “Demographics and Economic Opportunity” report and dashboard on our website. This comprehensive analysis paints the picture of the large shopping base that is served by businesses in the city of Tehachapi. Retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot and Tractor Supply certainly drive a lot of that traffic, but the impact those shoppers visiting from eastern Kern have on our local eateries and other shops in measurable. The online dashboard allows potential investors and even current business owners to see who is shopping in our community and adjust their business practices accordingly.
2021 has proven to be a quick start despite our ongoing COVID-19 challenges. We look forward to continuing this momentum and finding more ways to serve our business community.
Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.