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Village Merchant’s Association swears in new board

LJVMA director Sheila Fortune swears in Adam Barno, Brett Murphy and Ike Fazzio.
LJVMA director Sheila Fortune swears in Adam Barno, Brett Murphy and Ike Fazzio.
Ashley Mackin

During the Nov. 11 meeting of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) at the Cuvier Club, the board swore in three new members: Adam Barno (Dick’s Liquor), Brett Murphy (La Jolla Sports Club), and Ike Fazzio (San Diego Fly Rides). A fourth newly elected member, Christophe Cevasco (Eddie V’s), was not present and could not be sworn in. Claude-Anthony Marengo was re-elected president, James Niebling vice-president, Claudette Berwin secretary and Paul Burke treasurer.

The meeting marked the first of the board’s new year. As such, Marengo reflected on 2015 and board goals for the future. Last year, LJVMA’s goals were education and outreach to merchants.

“(Our outreach efforts) opened a lot of eyes in a lot of different directions, but in my eyes, we need that message out more,” he said. “We need to have points that we can all easily share with our merchants. They need to know what’s happening other than this meeting. We want to show them the resources they have (with us).” Marengo lauded LJVMA executive director Sheila Fortune for regularly attending city meetings to advocate for the merchants.

“I want to make this a term that counts,” Marengo said. Using a “boots on the ground” approach, he said the board will update its inventory of businesses in the Village, especially in light of recent closures. In the past few months, Amici’a Pizzeria, Roppongi Sushi Restaurant, Aroma Café and several others have closed shop.

To help organize the outreach, newly elected member Murphy volunteered to be Block Captain and manage LJVMA volunteers. Under his watch, Fortune explained, each LJVMA member will take a section of the Village and introduce themselves to business owners to let them know the Merchant’s Association is there to help with any issues and share tips for success. The outreach will begin in the coming months.

In other LJVMA news

Information Center closes: Fortune announced the La Jolla Village Information Center closed Oct. 30 after less than three years in operation. The Prospect Street center had been a spot from which LJVMA could greet tourists, provide brochures and conduct meetings. However, with decreases in city funding and consistent expenses, the Center could not remain open. Additionally, the advertising model of using monitors around the Information Center desk to display images of local businesses did not prove fruitful. Going forward, LJVMA will use available funds to improve its website lajollabythesea.com

Committee forms to explore Village valet: LJVMA board member Nancy Warwick (who also sits on La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation advisory board) reported that Eddie V’s restaurant requested four more parking spaces fronting the eatery be reserved for public valet. There are currently four spaces and patrons do not need to dine at Eddie V’s to use the valet service. The topic was addressed at the Nov. 18 T&T meeting (read about the outcome in the Nov. 26 issue of La Jolla Light).

In looking at valet parking in the Village as a whole, rather than this specific proposal, several members questioned whether the venues that offer public valet could come together in one valet zone, as opposed to a few valet spots fronting various businesses. They also posed whether LJVMA could find a way to partner with the valet parking companies to bring attention to other Village merchants.

“Before you start adding spaces, let’s look to see if the current operations could be managed a little better,” said Michael Dorvillier. “Plus, there seems to be a revenue opportunity that we’re missing out on.” Marengo noted that in the past, there was a program whereby valet attendants would leave booklets with coupons and advertisements in cars, but the business owner who spearheaded the project left La Jolla.

Members also favored a validation program where valet parking would be free if drivers present a receipt from a local business. In the end, a sub-committee was formed to look at how valet parking can better benefit local businesses, which Marengo said could result in a “master plan” for Village-wide valet. Sub-committee findings will be presented at a future meeting, as well as presented to T&T.

Sparkle & Shine continues banner program: As founder of the Sparkle & Shine campaign, Warwick reported the cleanup effort would resume its banner program. Those who donate a certain amount of cash get the name of their choice – business, family, organization, sports team, club, etc. – on a banner to hang throughout the Village for the months of December, January and February. Donations are tax deductible.

The $31,120 raised thus far will be used to power wash streets, clean up tree wells and pick up trash. Donors include: Dorvillier, Warwick’s Books, Marengo Morton Architects, La Jolla Management, Needle Nook, Richard Walker, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Capital Growth Properties, Esteban Interiors, Orange Theory fitness, Torrey Pines Property Management, Grande Colonial Hotel, Meanley’s Hardware, Alcorn & Benton, Marian Warwick, Susan Barbey-Booth, Geppetto’s Toys, Jane Marks, La Jolla Village Lodge, Bridget’s Blooms, Chicklet’s Book Club, Sherry Ahern, Brick & Bell, and Gordon Wong Eye Designs and Optometry. Those interested in sponsoring a banner may call (858) 454-5718 or e-mail info@lajollabythesea.com

— LJVMA meets 8:30 a.m. first Wednesdays at the Cuvier Club, 7776 Eads Ave. The next meeting is Dec. 9. lajollabythesea.com