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What makes our town different?

In the thirty-plus years since I left Southern California and decided to open up my Farmers Agency in Tehachapi, I’ve been asked this question a lot, “why Tehachapi?” What would motivate you to leave an Agency in Sherman Oaks to come up here? What makes Tehachapi different?

Like many of us who transplanted from the L.A. area, I was used to driving in bumper to bumper traffic with the sounds of horns as your constant companion. The air was so smoggy that on a bad day you couldn’t see the mountains three miles away from the freeway on which you were driving. Because of the stresses and pressures of living in the city people were different, nerves were frayed and the rat race was a part of everyday life!

A trip to Tehachapi was a breath of fresh air, literally! You couldn’t see the air you were breathing, and a traffic jam was three people at the stop sign. A local gas station had a sign, “pump first then pay this is Tehachapi, not L.A.” You were two hours away from the city but miles away as far as lifestyle and attitudes. It felt like America the way it was meant to be lived!

So, what besides the clean air and lack of traffic makes Tehachapi different? Could it be our sense of community? I’ve never seen a town get behind projects and help on another like our town. When we started the Pregnancy Center 25 plus years ago the community embraced it like no other community. Projects put on by Main Street and the Chamber receive wide support not seen in big cities! Our Toys for Tots and Project DEFT drives are embraced by our community and are always successful.

What about the pandemic; what has Tehachapi done differently? I’ve been amazed as a resident and a business owner to watch how our community has responded. The innovation from local businesses to continue to provide goods and services has been incredible. The City has worked with businesses to keep them open as much as possible during this crisis. Our city and businesses have worked together to keep as much business local as we can.

The last thing in my mind that makes Tehachapi different is the pride in our community. We may be small, but we’ve got a big heart and that heart is on display in our relationships and the work we do. I’m proud to call this town my home!

Marty Pay has been the Farmers Agent here in Tehachapi since 1990, his office and staff are at 212 W. F St. in Tehachapi.