Coming: Village Merchants survey to ID desired tenants


Tired of empty storefronts in La Jolla, the Economic Development Division of La Jolla Village Merchant’s Association (LJVMA) is refining its short-term and long-term goals to make the Village of La Jolla more marketable to prospective – and desired – retail tenants. To help in the process, a survey for locals will roll out next month.

“We’re going to launch the survey at the Farmers Market and through our businesses, and look at national data as to what kinds of businesses would thrive in areas similar to ours,” said team leader and LJVMA trustee Elsie Arrendondo. With a short-term goal of filling empty storefronts, and a long-term goal of creating a marketing package based on local wants and national data, she added the team has been active for over a year.

As reported in La Jolla Light in February 2015, Arredondo sent out a three-question survey to 2,482 La Jolla and greater San Diego residents and visitors. The survey found the No. 1 reason respondents came to La Jolla was its restaurants, followed by shopping and then business in the area. Inquiring as to the types of businesses needed in the Village, including specific branded companies, other questions yielded narrative answers. The open-ended questions showed a demand for both cost-effective and upscale options in dining, shopping and furniture, and organic markets.

“Now we are drilling the results down,” she said. “We’re taking what we learned from that survey, which included tourists, and making it strictly local and more specific to the type of businesses.”

Short-term goals

Focusing on Fay Avenue, she said, “We’re contacting the owners of the (empty) buildings to learn more about the spaces.” The team is also reviewing data compiled by LJVMA president Claude-Anthony Marengo that outlines La Jolla’s “districts,” such as its restaurant rows, the entertainment district marked by The LOT movie theater and planned Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, and the health and beauty district, marked by salons and fitness centers.

Hoping to find businesses that would complement and thrive in these districts, she said, “We’re trying to organize and recruit businesses and talk to realtors.”

Added team member Brett Murphy, “The biggest thing we’re finding (from this effort) is that there isn’t really any synergy between the building owners and the businesses that go into these spaces. That’s why we love the district idea, it helps us build this nice package to create some synergy.”

Long-term goals

Using the data collected last year and the survey going out next month, the long-term goal, said Fazzio, is “to take the qualitative and quantitative data and create a marketing package for La Jolla for prospective businesses. It would promote what we’re about here and sell the business area.” He said the team would ultimately like to create “some recommendations for types of businesses we could really use instead of it being willy-nilly.”

Arredondo added they would use international data and local responses, to proactively seek out desired businesses.

In other LJVMA news

Eight board seats open: To fill eight seats that will be up for grabs this fall, LJVMA is accepting nominations, including self-nominations, for a spot on the board. “It’s a volunteer position and you have to have an active and current City of San Diego Business Tax License. You also have to be the owner or manager of the business, or designated by the owner or manager to be a voice for the business,” LJVMA executive director Sheila Fortune said. The eight seats are for two-year terms.

Nominations will be collected at the July meeting, and then the board will create a ballot to be mailed to eligible voters. The results will be announced at the October meeting.

New planters potted: Richard Walker, a member of LJVMA Design Division, reported that in late May, new concrete pots and benches were placed at the corner of La Jolla Boulevard and Pearl Street, and a palm tree was planted at the corner of Girard Avenue and Silverado Street, replacing a tree stump.

— Next meeting: La Jolla Village Merchant’s Association meets 3 p.m. second Wednesdays at La Jolla’s Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.