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So, what's in a name? The true story of the Apple Shed


My name is Mano Lujan and on January 1, 2015 my wife Meimei, and I purchased the business formerly known as The Apple Shed. In doing so, one of the first things that we did was to legally change the name to The Shed.

To tell you the truth, much thought went into this and the decision was not easy. I consulted everyone from my attorney, to friends in the industry, to marketing people.

After hearing me out, the mass majority of them agreed that the name should be changed, and changed quickly. But, how do you just up and change the name of a beloved and well known business?

The fact of the matter is that the business name was tainted, and the reputation had really slipped. Now this is not a blame game. It is no one person’s fault that this once thriving business had basically gone out of business, and I’m not going to point fingers, and try and drag people through the mud. That is not me, and I will not do that.

The Apple Shed went out of business and, in doing so, the founders of this business reacquired it and hired me to fix it, with the intent that I would eventually buy it. Which I have done.

So, why change the name to The Shed? Because, I wanted to pay homage to what this place really was, and still is.

Now a bit of history.

In 1941 J.C. “Jake” Jacobson began a packing shed business here in Tehachapi next to the railroad tracks. He started grading, packing and shipping his potatoes. The building burned down twice and each time it was rebuilt. The concrete box on the west side of the building was used to wash potatoes before they entered the packing shed.

During WWII, 50 to 100 railroad cars were filled with Jacobson potato sacks and shipped to military facilities. Soon thereafter, Jacobson started shipping other crops from his shed. Potato seed, sugar beet seed and Kentucky bluegrass seed all went through this shed.

The large seed hopper is still in place on the roof and the seed chutes remain above the dining room. The oak hardwood floors were put in place so that spilled seed could easily be swept up.

In 1970, after nearly 30 years of running this shed, Jacobson sold it to the Nunes family. The Nunes family operated the shed as an apple packing business for just a few years and then went out of business. The old shed fell into a derelict state and it sat in ruins for a long time.

In the early 1990s, George Novinger and his wife, Anne Marie (niece of Jacobson), had a wonderful idea to help revitalize the downtown Tehachapi area. They purchased the old rundown packing shed and, with the help of their friend Shirley Fuller, decided to open a restaurant.

In 1996 the Apple Shed opened. Anne Marie chose the name because it sounded quaint. They sold apples and apple products, and served lunch.

Soon they started selling breakfast, and Anne Marie really focused on the gift shop and book store.

The Apple Shed was a success. Things were good but, their outstanding general manager Mike Fuller passed away in 2005.

In August of 2005, they sold the Apple Shed and a new era began. Unfortunately in 2013, the Apple Shed went out of business.

George and Anne Marie were once again thrust into ownership of their dream.

This is when I entered the picture.

After many meetings and lots of conversation we all agreed on what I wanted to do.

I want to take this place into the future. This wonderful town of ours has and is changing. I want to pay homage to what this place really was and is, a shed. I embrace its history and the fact that it was such a huge part of our community for so many years.

There are lots of changes coming as I am focusing on turning this place into a full blown restaurant that serves real handcrafted food.

Make sure you read my next article in The Loop, as I will address all the rumors that are going around.


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