“Rumbles said, ‘Some people talk bad about Trona, saying, ‘It stinks and this and that,’ but when you needed to feed your family, Trona was there. I have my ups and downs, it ain’t all been roses, but it fed my family.'”
Drive to the edge of the world, then keep going five more miles and you’ll find Trona, a town built around the one company of Searles Valley Minerals. When the company celebrated the 45th anniversary of one of its coworkers, I took the opportunity to explore this unique factory and the people who work in it.
“The Indian Wells Valley Concert Association is 71 years old. It started in 1947, making it 16 years older than the City of Ridgecrest itself.”
The IWV Concert Association has been bringing music acts to this isolated city in the desert for 71 years, but with an aging membership and increased costs, they don’t see a path into the future. Yet, with no clear path, they still march on.
“What Henry came to realize, along with many other small business owners in Ridgecrest, is that small businesses are not like a triangle-shaped block trying to fill a triangle-shaped void in town. Instead, the small business is like filling the void with Play-Doh; if the business owner remains pliable and listens to their customers, they can mold their shop to the needs of the community.”
For Small Business Saturday in 2017, I sat down with a few of these business owners to give my readers an idea of what it is that makes these shops so different, and how that comes together to make the town itself so different.