Big dreams become reality
August 3, 2019
When World Wind & Solar outgrew their facilities on Tehachapi Willow Springs Rd., Buddy and Nikki Cummings, the CEO and President of WWS, had to make a decision. They knew the company needed to grow, but where and how? They began to investigate all of their options for the future home of their corporate headquarters and training center. They visited numerous commercial buildings for sale and lease, as well as potential building sites. They really wanted to be downtown and to find a building with some character.
The Cummings originally visited the old Ace Hardware building on Tehachapi Blvd. in 2015. It is 109 years old, one of the oldest buildings in Tehachapi with wonderful bowed truss ceilings, brick walls and great heavy sliding doors. Nikki and Buddy loved it, but it would require a great expense to structurally reinforce the building, to bring it up to code for earthquakes prior to construction even beginning. Many people wanted to tear it down, but what if that space could be saved, preserving it for the town and still create a space that would fit the WWS campus? The idea set Nikki's creative juices flowing and soon Mountain Top Real Estate Holdings, LLC purchased the building.
The couple enlisted Bakersfield contractor John Ulman Construction who assured them "we can make it work and within budget." After nine months of reinforcements, constructing walls, creating a second floor and dealing with the unexpected problems of working with an old building, the new headquarters emerged with office and classroom space on the first level and executive offices and conference space on the second floor.
Nikki said she has always loved interior design, and her influence is obvious throughout the interior of the building from the first floor conference room table, created by local woodworker Brent Bradley, to their personal offices on the second floor, complete with desks for their children. There are other unique meeting spaces including a small meeting room created in an actual shipping container. Forever hunting for just the right items to set off a space, Nikki and Buddy found an old 48-star American ship flag that is now displayed on the wall of the WWS reception area.
WWS moved into their new space during the month of May and "the staff loves it," said Nikki. She feels that being in the center of Tehachapi can be a real boost for the local business community.
"We have 10-15 new trainees weekly," she said, "they stay at the hotels and eat out three meals a day. Plus, our administrative team who love to walk to Kohnen's, Kasagiri, Petra and the other downtown establishments for lunch."
In answer to the question asked by many, yes, there will be a sign on the front of the building; they are waiting for the patina of the metal on the building to fully develop.
There is an official Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting scheduled for the new World Wind & Solar facilities on August 7 at 4 p.m.
While the WWS project was well under way, Nikki and Buddy became aware, along with most of Tehachapi, that the old St. Vincent de Paul Society store on Green St. was for sale and no one had jumped up to grab the building that had at one time also been a grocery store. Again, they thought "what if"- what if the space could be turned into a co-working space where business people who work out of their home could come to meet clients or use office services.
With that thought, Mountain Top Real Estate Holdings, LLC acquired the property and The Village Co. was born. Although still in the planning stages, The Village project has been approved by the Planning Commission and will include co-working space that can be rented by the day, or month, and a cafe or bistro in the front of the building. Current thinking for the cafe is healthy fusion food with a cold-pressed juice bar to be open for breakfast and lunch. Buddy and Nikki are courting possible partners or tenants from outside the area who might be interested in expanding to Tehachapi. Salon space is planned for the back of the first floor. Short, and long term office space is included in the current plan for the second floor. Needing minimal staff, they plan to hire a general manager, a facilities receptionist and janitorial.
"There are lots of options and as entrepreneurs, we're flexible and excited about how this project will evolve," said Nikki, obviously excited about the project.
She expects The Village to be underway this year. Preliminary plans are done and, unlike WWS, there is no structural work to be done. "Our initial action after permit approval will be asbestos remediation," she said.
In the meantime, the Cummings family is focusing on their own new home which is under construction in Hart Flat. Experienced campers, they are living in an RV on the property until its completion.
Nikki said she loves what is going on in Tehachapi with the re-purposing of many of the old buildings, citing Ryan Beauchamp's remodel of the old Masonic Lodge into the new Tehachapi Kern County Library as an example.
"We are always looking for new opportunities," said Nikki. "Our local government is well-run and the city has been an excellent partner."