La Jolla Village Merchants approve budget and 'Monopoly' game plan

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The La Jolla Village Merchants Association hopes to raise money by selling advertising in a ‘La Jolla-opoly’ board game (which proved a successful fundraiser for Ocean Beach’s BID group).

By Pat Sherman

Following a cash flow shortage that hampered some of La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA) plans for 2013, its current board trustees say they aren’t playing games when it comes to generating income.

The are, however, hoping people will want to play the “La Jolla-opoly” board game it plans to sell, and participate in the association’s first fund-raising golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

The LJVMA receives about $12,000 per month from a tax assessment on Village merchants that it uses to create business-boosting events and a pleasant shopping aesthetic within La Jolla’s business improvement district (BID). It also relies on grant money and discretionary income generated from events, advertising and promotions to pay for many of its objectives.

The board game, one of the income-generating items in a fiscal year 2014-2015 budget approved by trustees during the LJVMA’s Feb. 12 meeting at Empress Hotel, is estimated to produce $22,500 in discretionary income for the association.

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A La Jolla version of the classic Monopoly game was produced in 1994.

That game plan proved successful for Ocean Beach Mainstreet, a group similar to the LJVMA that manages Ocean Beach’s BID fees. Denny Knox, executive director of Ocean Beach Mainstreet, said her organization ordered two batches of 1,000 games last fall, produced by the company, Late for the Sky. The first 1,000 games sold out within four days, she said. It cost between $15 and $22 apiece to produce, and sells for $40 each.

LJVMA Executive Director Sheila Fortune said La Jolla’s game would be sold online and in the group’s La Jolla Information Center at 1162 Prospect St.

Hoping to replace some of the income-generating events that the LJVMA lost organizational control of in recent years, the board also approved holding its first fundraising golf tourney, tentatively scheduled for Friday, May 16. Fortune estimated the first event would cost around $42,000 to produce, and raise about $50,000.

“That’s conservative numbers,” Fortune said of the event, later adding that most tourneys do not make money until they are branded and have a following.

Tickets will cost $250 each; the tourney would accommodate 144 players. Fortune said she would rely on board members to help procure sponsorship and players for the event.

Budget discussions

The LJVMA’s budget for July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 (to be forwarded to the San Diego City Council for approval) includes income of $535,350 and expenses of $531,210 (for a net gain of $4,140).

A total of $37,250 is budgeted for four seasonal Haute La Jolla Nights music and shopping events (which were scaled back from six events last year due to lagging sponsor participation). Of that amount, $15,000 is earmarked for musicians’ fees and $10,000 is slated for a December Haute Night that would include a Festival of Trees, where people would compete to decorate holiday trees, menorahs and gingerbread houses, Fortune said.

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During its February meeting, members of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association approved the group’s fiscal year 2014-2015 budget, and a strategic plan template that includes the association’s first fund-raising golf tournament. Pat Sherman

It was noted the LJVMA’s transportation service from the Farmers Open Golf Tournament to the Village lost about $300.

LJVMA trustee Claudette Berwin stressed the need to turn non-income generating events that the LJVMA partners with, such as the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival and Concours d’Elegance auto show, into events that generate income for the association.

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