South Side Coffee Co. has been a fixture in the heart of Lompoc since 1992.
Halle Bedford-Dyer took her first shift there in 2015.
“Working here for so long, I fell in love with it,” said Bedford-Dyer, who now owns South Side Coffee Co.
When the pandemic hit, she took a risk.
“We had to close because we weren’t making enough to stay open… They approached me and asked if I wanted to buy it, so I bought it,” she explained.
Next door neighbor Randall Sena had his own setbacks.
“We immediately put all of our students online,” explained Sena, owner of Certain Sparks Music.
The music store opened in 2006 in a different location before heading to H Street and Ocean Ave. in Lompoc.
“We started out as a small recording studio and moved on to offering music lessons,” Sena said.
In 2017, Sena started a non-profit organization named Certain Sparks Music Foundation.
“[It] gives sponsored lessons to children and they can get instrument and tuition scholarships,” Sena said.
Today, these two entrepreneurs have joined forces to buy the historic building where they are located.
“I believe in slow and steady wins in the race, and we’ve survived a pandemic, we’ve survived Amazon, we’ve survived all these other factors that impact small business, and I think we’ve got it. ‘have done by being creative,’ says Sena.
Sena and Bedford-Dyer attribute their success to community support.
“Our bread, our pastries, locally sourced treats, everything is local,” Bedford-Dyer said.
The only thing that separates Certain Sparks Music and South Side Coffee Co. is a glass door, which is left open most of the day.
But there is more than just a door that connects these two companies.
“A number of people who teach with us were employees of the café at one point, including myself, and I used to play concerts there next door, so it’s kind of journey to now own the building,” Sena recalled. .
They bring business to each other.
“They have student of the month with their music lessons, so they’ll get gift cards from us or the teachers will walk their students around and give them an Italian soda,” Bedford-Dyer added.
For customers like Vincent Culliver, the cafe is a meeting place for him and his wife.
“Fifteen years ago, I used to come here every morning. I get off work, we meet here and I buy her coffee or she buys me coffee,” said Lompoc resident Culliver.
Certain Sparks Music is looking forward to hosting its Little Sparks Music Hour, a program for kids under seven who want to learn more about music.
“This year, with the purchase of this building, we are securing our future,” Sena said.
South Side Coffee Co. is expanding its hours of operation.
Both business owners said they were determined to continue their local philanthropic work.
In terms of construction, Bedford-Dyer and Sena will seek to leverage the building’s basement and upper floors.