La Jolla merchants group to launch text messaging system to engage businesses ‘in a different way’

La Jolla Village Merchants Association members Bill Podway, Summer Shoemaker and Karen Roque
La Jolla Village Merchants Association members Bill Podway, Summer Shoemaker and Karen Roque are pictured during the group’s July 12 meeting at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Looking to improve communication with businesses about upcoming events and promotions, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association is launching an opt-in text messaging system for merchants in coming weeks.

The board voted to support the concept and approve the $400 annual expense during its meeting July 12.

Merchants in The Village currently communicate largely through a Facebook group “that is not used very often,” said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick. “We needed to find a better method.”

After researching options, Rudick selected Textedly, which says it “sends large-scale mass text messages.”

“The exciting thing is that this is one more tool for our tool kit,” she said. “We are going to start with the merchants … to engage them in a different way.”

Phase 1 of the rollout will be focused on getting merchants signed up to receive alerts such as traffic, safety, security, election reminders and more.

Phase 2 will focus on seasonal promotions such as the association’s window decorating contest.

Phase 3 will expand to reminders about LJVMA-owned activities like the First Friday Art Walk.

The fourth and last phase will send messages about sponsored events such as the Concours d’Elegance car show.

LJVMA board member Summer Shoemaker called the messaging system a “must-have” and “wonderful.”

Board member Karen Roque said she is “really excited about this.”

Other LJVMA news

Wayfinding grant: Though the initial rollout of LJVMA’s directional sign program hasn’t taken place yet, the board has already been approved for a $25,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant from San Diego County to pay for the next phase in the 2024 fiscal year.

“This is a phenomenal grant that will push us to get more signs … into the community,” said LJVMA member Bill Podway.

A rendering of directional signs presented to local boards last year
A rendering of directional signs presented to local boards last year was minimally altered (the text below the map was changed from orange to blue) before being approved by the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

The directional, or wayfinding, signs are intended to encourage people who visit La Jolla’s beach areas to explore shops, galleries and restaurants in The Village. During the first phase, the signs will be posted on the coast and around Scripps Park.

The proposal and design have been submitted to the city of San Diego and, once approved, the signs will be made and installed.

It isn’t yet known where the signs funded with the recent grant will be placed or whether they will replicate the design of the Phase 1 signs.

Art & Wine Festival: LJVMA voted to lend its support to street closures associated with the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival on Oct. 7-8 along Girard Avenue.

Founder and event volunteer Sherry Ahern said the festival is entering its 15th year as a juried art show. “We have about 165 artists that we line up back to back on Girard,” she said, “It’s a fine-art show, but there is something for everyone, so you might get something for $50 or $25,000.”

The event also has a ticketed wine and beer garden, free children’s activities and entertainment.

Child care: Starting next month, LJVMA will offer child care at its meetings “for our young, diverse members,” Rudick said.

The board meets at the La Jolla/Riford Library, where a space will be dedicated for a volunteer babysitter to watch and play with any children whose parents or caregivers are attending the meeting.

“This is a really big deal because what we’re saying is that everyone has a place here,” Rudick said. “We are going to work out the details, so more to come.”

Next meeting: LJVMA next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at ◆