Happy Birthday to Tehachapi Natural Market!
Tehachapi Natural Market
January 16, 2021
According to the United States Bureau of Statistics, 20 percent of all small businesses fail in their first year; roughly 50 percent fail by the end of their fifth year.
Tehachapi Natural Market, at 20221 W. Valley Blvd., is celebrating their third year in business this month and they are grateful to the community for helping them make it this far.
"Our first year in business was incredible," said Teresa Dunlop, the original owner. "People were peeking in the windows and knocking on the doors before we were even open. The business practically ran itself. By the second year the excitement and newness had worn off and things started to slow down. We had an amazing core of loyal customers but there were still a lot of people who didn't know we were here. That's when I decided to bring on a partner. I needed some new eyes and fresh ideas to get the word out about the market. Late in 2019, Sarah Rose came on board and really shook things up. I'm super excited about the changes that have already happened and changes to come."
Tehachapi resident, Sarah Rose, was one of those loyal customers Teresa was speaking of and when the opportunity came to partner with Teresa, she went for it.
"I had just graduated from Cal State Bakersfield with a degree in business administration and I was looking for a way to put my new marketing skills to work," Sarah said. "I loved the market as a customer so I brought my love of what Teresa was already doing and combined it with new ideas that I thought others in the community would enjoy as well."
Those new ideas included expanding the number of artisans who have their pieces for sale in the market along with a used book center, vendor events in the parking lot and an expanded menu from the juice bar. They started making a different fresh soup every day that is dairy-free and gluten-free and added a very nice selection of ready-to-eat salads. Next was the addition vegan, gluten-free brownies, lemon bars and marshmallow crispies.
Upcoming menu additions include even more smoothie and acai bowl options, Panini sandwiches and more hot drinks such as golden milk. The improvement they are most excited about is an online ordering app.
"I'm working as hard as I can to get our new menu completed so it can be entered into a new online ordering app," Sarah said. "Customers will be able to order and pay in advance from their phone or computer. They can either come in to pick up or do contactless pickup outside. My goal is to have that up and running by February 1."
Opening a small business is certainly not for the weak of heart and keeping one going, especially during a pandemic, is enough to give anyone gray hairs. Teresa and Sarah are determined to keep their doors open and keep providing what the community wants and needs: a place that welcomes them warmly and provides healthy and delicious foods and drinks.