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By Corey Costelloe
Assistant City Manager for the City of Tehachapi 

Tehachapi: a desirable location for businesses of all sizes

City of Tehachapi


April 20, 2024


Corey Costelloe, Assistant City Manager for the City of Tehachapi.

The City of Tehachapi continues to be the premier economy in Kern County in which to invest, do business and seek a return on investment. From small to large businesses, the City of Tehachapi continues to thrive benefiting from our location, diverse surroundings, full time police force and a dedication to code enforcement and quality of life.

The City of Tehachapi benefits from a geographic location that drives traffic from surrounding communities into our shops, service stations, small businesses and large retail locations. With a location off Highway 58, the City of Tehachapi is a popular stop for travelers commuting through the area for work or pleasure. Utilizing location-based A.I. software, the city has positioned itself, and confirmed, the traveling public's preference to stop in Tehachapi for goods and services during trips from the Central Valley of California to popular destinations such as Las Vegas and beyond.

While the traveling public is certainly a major impact on the City of Tehachapi's economy, the city also benefits from local residents, not only the roughly 10,000 that call the city limits home, but the surrounding 30,000 residents in unincorporated communities that utilize city-located services such as major retail, restaurants, small businesses, schools, festivals and events. In 2022, city voters approved "Measure S," a one-cent sales tax increase which has been allocated to the city's general fund to cover expenses related to public safety, infrastructure maintenance, protecting local businesses and jobs. More. A.I. data showed that 80% of those utilizing some of the City of Tehachapi's largest businesses were doing so from outside the city, including surrounding communities like Mojave and California City. This means that city residents and business owners receive a 4-to-1 return on their own payments, which is returned on increased city services, maintenance and vital support.

These unique benefits mean the City of Tehachapi is punching well above the weight of a normal 10,000 resident city. In fact, recent reports show the "Trade Area Population" of the city as an estimated 215,000 people, paving the way for profitability for businesses of all sizes.

One of the largest economic benefits to the City of Tehachapi compared to surrounding communities, is the presence of the dedicated Tehachapi Police Department. The men and women of TPD, along with the only full time local 24-hour emergency communications center in the Tehachapi area, are providing valuable protection for businesses. This includes a proactive approach to community policing, engagement with business owners and investigative follow-through of incidents. Crime statistics show that organized retail thefts are a major issue in the State of California following a series of laws that changed the prosecution threshold. Despite that challenge, TPD continues to be proactive in arresting and investigating crimes and returning stolen merchandise.

Given our location and low crime rate, City of Tehachapi businesses are often targeted by offenders living in other cities, recently, two major organized retail thefts across multiple cities, including Tehachapi, were solved and the alleged perpetrators taken into custody outside of the area thanks to the investigation of our police department. This led to the return of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise to our local business owners. This dedication to crime prevention continues as the City of Tehachapi is investing in a FLOCK camera system, which will help identify suspect vehicles and allow for information exchange with surrounding law enforcement agencies to catch organized offenders.

As the City of Tehachapi and surrounding communities grow, the impact to city economic development efforts is enhanced. New residents mean additional customers for businesses, a shift in demographics to help support businesses that in the past believed Tehachapi would not be a market for them. In fact, this year alone it is anticipated that two more nationally recognized names will be calling the City of Tehachapi home after years of meetings and showcasing our market. This will lead to additional job opportunities, support revenue from other businesses and an addition of offerings to residents and visitors alike.

The City of Tehachapi continues to position itself as a desirable location for businesses of all sizes, and our surrounding industries help support job growth not only within their job sector, but support jobs that are created. As mining, construction and public administration jobs are some of the highest job sectors within our community, those jobs have a high multiplier impact on the city, creating new opportunities within the service, restaurant, retail and hospitality industries. Even projects located in East Kern impact Tehachapi as not only the place for construction teams to stay overnight, but also as the permanent residence for the full time employees seeking a great place to live.

With several different components spinning, the City of Tehachapi continues to promote our local economy as a resource for recruitment, retention and expansion of businesses of all sizes, while also making strong investments in public safety and other quality of life aspects that make the community attractive for business and residents alike.


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