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Lompoc business owners reach milestone despite the pandemic

Lompoc business owners reach milestone despite the pandemic
Certain Sparks Music and South Side Coffee Co. partnered up to buy the historical building they are located at in downtown Lompoc.
Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 03, 2022

South Side Coffee Co. has been a staple in the heart of Lompoc since 1992.

Halle Bedford-Dyer picked up her first shift there in 2015.

“Working here for so long, I just 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 shut down because we weren’t making enough to stay open... They approached me and asked if I wanted to buy it, and so I bought it,” she explained.

Next door neighbor Randall Sena had his own obstacles.

“We moved all of our students online right away,” explained Sena, owner of Certain Sparks Music.

The music store opened in 2006 at a different location before making its way to H Street and Ocean Ave. in Lompoc.

“We started as a small recording studio and we moved to offering music lessons,” Sena said.

In 2017, Sena jumpstarted a nonprofit organization named Certain Sparks Music Foundation.

“[It] gives sponsored lessons to kids and they can get instrument and lesson scholarships,” Sena said.

Now these two entrepreneurs have partnered up to buy the historical building where they are located.

“I believe in slow and steady wins the race, and we’ve survived a pandemic, we’ve survived Amazon, we’ve survived all these other factors that are impacting small business, and I think we did it by being creative,” Sena said.

Both Sena and Bedford-Dyer attribute their success to the community’s support.

“Our bread, pastries, milked locally, everything is local,” Bedford-Dyer said.

The only thing that separates Certain Sparks Music and South Side Coffee Co. is a glass door, which for the most part of the day, remains open.

But there is more than just a door that keeps these two businesses connected.

“A number of people that teach with us were employees at the coffee shop at one time including myself, and I used to play concerts over there next door, so it’s kind of a trip to now be the owner of the building,” Sena recalled.

They bring business to each other.

“They have student of the month with their music classes, so they’ll get gift cards from us or the teachers will walk their students and get them an Italian soda,” Bedford-Dyer added.

For customers such as Vincent Culliver, the coffee shop is date spot for him and his wife.

“Fifteen years ago, I've been coming here every morning. I get off from work, we meet up here and I buy her coffee or she buys me coffee,” said Culliver, a Lompoc resident.

Certain Sparks Music is looking forward to hosting their Little Sparks Music Hour, a program for kids under the age of seven interested in learning more about music.

“This year, with the purchase of this building, we secure our future,” Sena said.

South Side Coffee Co. is expanding its hours of operation.

Both business owners said they are committed to continuing their local philanthropic work.

In terms of construction, Bedford-Dyer and Sena will look into taking advantage of the basement and upper floors of the building.