Merchants divided on future of monthly car show

Vintage autos on display during a recent Nuts4Cars show on Girard Avenue. File Photo
Vintage autos on display during a recent Nuts4Cars show on Girard Avenue. File Photo
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Vintage autos on display during a recent Nuts4Cars show on Girard Avenue. File Photo

By Pat Sherman

A monthly car show on Girard Avenue has drawn both praise and criticism from merchants in the La Jolla Village.

The event, titled Nuts4Cars, began last year with five shows that each drew between 30 and 60 auto exhibitors, said organizer Howard Singer.

Bookstore owner Nancy Warwick and Realtor Claudette Berwin expressed displeasure with the event during last August’s meeting of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA). Though the event was originally held in the 7800 block of Girard Avenue, between Silverado and Wall streets, March’s show was moved a block south to accommodate some merchants’ concerns about a shortage of customer parking and other issues.

The event, held one Sunday per month from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., has thus far taken place without a city permit or street closure — something Singer said he felt was unnecessary.

“I’m very concerned about people walking around the cars in the street,” said Claudette Berwin, of Gallery Properties. “I’m also opposed to loitering — people sitting in chairs in the street next to their cars and on the sidewalks. I don’t think that’s conducive to the Village atmosphere and the merchants.

“I’ve always believed that it’s a great event,” added Berwin, who sits on the LJVMA board of directors, “but it needs to be moved to a different location.”

LJVMA board president Phil Coller said organizers of events, such as Nuts4Cars, are required by the city to obtain a special events permit. However, to obtain a permit an event must first receive the approval of community boards such as the LJVMA, Traffic and Transportation and the La Jolla Community Planning Association.

Singer said his frustration lies with the LJVMA, and that Coller and the organization’s executive director, Rosemary Murrieta, refused to meet with him — though Nuts4Cars was recently placed on the LJVMA’s April meeting agenda.

The LJVMA board lent its unanimous approval to the La Jolla Historical Society’s upscale annual car show, Concours d’Elegance, which took place last weekend.

“The merchants association has no objection to events being held in the Village, as long as they follow city regulations, and will assist people, if possible, if they follow the city’s regulations and permit process,” Coller said. “We’ve sent Howard, at his request, our procedures for holding events.”

Coller said the LJVMA also asks those requesting the association’s buy-in to obtain the approval of 80 percent of the merchants or businesses that will be impacted by their event.

Last week, Singer received signatures from 17 of 18 merchants in the 7700 block of Girard Avenue who support Nuts4Cars.

Bob Meanley, owner of Meanley’s Ace Hardware, was among the signatories. Though Meanley doesn’t work on Sundays, he said his staff reported favorably on Nuts4Cars.

“They seemed to think it was a fun, interesting event that made being in La Jolla on Sunday a more interesting experience,” Meanley said. “Business didn’t appear to be hurt by it.”

Meanley said Singer promised to leave some parking open for his customers. “I appreciate that cooperation,” Meanley said.

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