Entrepreneur aims to help others
Cummings shares acumen with chamber
MOJAVE — Entrepreneur Nikki Cummings has led successful companies over the years. Now she is taking that experience and working to help others be successful and in turn, help the community to thrive.
Cummings shared her vision with the Mojave Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, providing examples of efforts of bringing local businesses together in Tehachapi that may inspire the Mojave community.
Cummings and her husband Buddy moved to Tehachapi with their renewable energy company, World Wind and Solar. They had started the firm in San Diego in 2007 and traveled all over the country building wind and solar power plants before settling near Tehachapi, where Buddy’s family has lived since 1854 and where
Nikki also grew up.
“It was the best decision we ever made,” she said.
The company grew to be the largest employer in the greater Tehachapi area, with more than 500 employees, she said.
The couple decided to retire from their energy firm last year, moving on to new challenges.
“Now we are really focused on our community,”
That focus on community is fitting for a family with deep roots in the area. While the Cummings were among the original settlers in the area and have operated a cattle ranch for generations, Nikki’s family members are relative newcomers — since 1970 — who previously published the Tehachapi News for 30 years.
“I have ink in my blood,” Cummings said, which she has translated today into working with social media and marketing.
Raising three children ranging in age from two to 11 years old, the Cummings feel it is important to teach them about serving their community.
“They’re seeing us serve and they’re understanding that it’s important to give back,” she said.
Some of that has come in the form of Cummings’ work in Tehachapi’s Economic Development Council, a group of business owners and residents who are passionate and proud of their community.
“It was an amazing group
of people, and I feel like this Chamber is that for Mojave,” she said.
That passion and pride is their own best advertising, especially through social media campaigns, she said.
Working together, championing each other through shared marketing efforts and branding can make a difference across the board.
“There’s so much local business can do to rally together to lift each other up,” she said.
It comes down to the idea of “bloom where you are planted,” Cummings said, embracing your community and what you can do to improve it.
In her own story, Cummings could not wait to leave her small town when she finished high school, heading off to college in San Diego.
“I could not get out of town fast enough. I went to the biggest city nearest the beach with the warmest weather,” she said.
From there, she moved to Hawaii to work for the sixth-largest newspaper in the country.
“I wanted to see what the world had to offer, I wanted to spread my wings and I thought I was way too big for Tehachapi,” Cummings said. “Fast forward 20 years later, and I am living my best life in East Kern and I love it.”
Cummings’ latest project is renovating an old building in downtown Tehachapi that once held a market to offer workspace for individuals and small companies, who need some type of office space at least sporadically, but do not want or need the overhead of a full, long-term office lease.
The Village Collective on Green Street will is envisioned as a innovative, supportive community for varied small businesses.
In addition to space, plans call for offering classes and other services to help businesses succeed.
Entrepreneur Nikki Cummings speaks to the Mojave Chamber of Commerce about how local businesses can band together to help the community as a whole.