By Kathy Day
A large turnout for the first mixer of the new La Jolla Village Merchants Association generated some ideas about how to improve the downtown area’s business climate.
Held at Karl Strauss Brewing Company on June 14, the lively gathering drew more than 85 business people interested in hearing what the new organization is up to.
In his remarks, President Phil Coller said, “People are not coming here to buy things, stay here or eat here like they should be … We need to look after the businesses of La Jolla. “
He added later that La Jolla has lost its “caché” and that the group must work to change perceptions that there are parking and traffic problem in La Jolla that are keeping people from outside the community from visiting and doing business here.
Each business in the Village business district pays a membership fee with their the business license fee, he explained, noting that during the coming fiscal year they’ll have access to about $350,000.
“We have no intention of spending it all in the first year,” he added. What is spent “will be decided on your input.”
He encouraged members to become active in the LJVMA’s committees or to form subcommittees focused within a particular industry — restaurants, hotels, design district, etc.
“Come up with ideas, “ he said. “Find out where you think you can contribute to improve your own business.”
When he opened the floor to questions, issues raised ranged from wanting to know why the streetlights remain off on Girard and Fay avenues to whether it was possible to bring some sort of “trolley” into the Village. Some offered ideas for special events or putting up “thank you” signs for shoppers and to direct shoppers to stores and cultural institutions; others offered encouragement to overcome perceived obstacles to accomplishing their goals.
Coller observed there “are a lot of new faces. That’s a great sign. There’s a consensus here we need to do something. … Don’t hold back. With a little input we can make a lot happen.”
Anyone interested in participating or more information can e-mail
or attend the meetings. The next one is at 8:30 a.m. July 13 at the La Jolla Woman’s Club, across from the Recreation Center on Draper Avenue.