La Jolla merchants board ratifies plan for a busy 2019

It promises to be a busy 2019 for the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) board, which ratified a 21-point strategic plan at its Jan. 9 meeting at the Riford Library.

High among the plan’s goals were new revenue streams, including a new associate membership for local merchants lacking a physical location.

“I use the analogy of Bird scooters,” said LJVMA president Brett Murphy. “This would be a way of them to make sure everyone plays on the same ball field.” (Murphy ran the meeting in the absence of executive director Jodi Rudick, whom Murphy described as on “a much-needed vacation.”)

Other income streams in the plan included applying for a community enhancement grant and revamping LJVMA’s public-right-of-way access program for consistency in billing and design.

Also highly prioritized were the development of a parking plan, a shop-local discount program and a media kit, in addition to aligning with the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District to maintain and upgrade design amenities under LJVMA’s purview.

LJVMA’s promotion-specific goals for this year include holding monthly events (such as possibly a First Friday or La Jolla After Dark), developing strategic tie-ins with third-party events and writing a marketing/media plan.

Committees were formed to develop benchmarks and a timeline for implementing the goals.

Stronger Concours partnership

LJVMA also voted unanimously to green-light a formal partnership with the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance to attempt to involve more merchants in the annual car-show weekend, April 12-14.

In the partnership — the details of which are to be worked out later — the LJVMA will provide assistance with merchant outreach, volunteer coordination and street banners prior to and during Concours weekend. In return, the LJVMA will share some revenue through ticket sales.

Concours chair Michael Dorvillier, who also serves on the LJVMA board, devised the partnership because many merchants are “just not prepared” for the onslaught of tourists. “A lot of them wake up on Friday morning and just notice a bunch of Bentleys and Dusenbergs driving around La Jolla,” Dorvillier said. “The Merchants Association could go around and inform them that we have this event.”

Dorvillier said he was inspired by the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in which nearly 100 percent of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s merchants participate.

“When you walk down their main street, every one of those stores has car something,” he said. “If it’s an art gallery, they have car art. It’s just amazing how much product is sold in Carmel that weekend and we’re tying to replicate that in La Jolla.”

OH! partnership

Carol Chin, program director for Open House San Diego (OH! San Diego) discussed La Jolla’s first involvement in her free annual event, happening March 23 and 24. Launched in 2015, OH! San Diego provides tours of architectural sites of interest led by architects and designers. Ten Village sites were chosen by the La Jolla Historical Society — which has partnered with OH! San Diego, along with LJVMA.

“This fits right in with The Conrad (Performing Arts Center) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego),” Murphy said. “There are people coming into The Village who could spend money, and we’re trying to capture that.”

When Chin asked the LJVMA to come up with “some sort of collateral” such as “a discount for the weekend to entice our visitors to visit your business,” Murphy promised to make the proposal an action item for the LJVMA’s next meeting (Feb. 13).

Budget boons

The board unanimously voted to approve a mid-year budget modification, as allowed by the City, in which both LJVMA’s personnel and its design and beautification budgets were reduced by 20 percent — the former due to the three months LJVMA went between Sheila Fortune’s June resignation as executive director and Rudick’s September hire, the latter due to the inactive state of Enhance La Jolla. The modification commensurately increased LJVMA’s outreach and promotion budget by $11,000 and increased its special event budget by $10,000.

Murphy reported “great” December financials, with $79,000 in the bank and $85,892 in assets and liabilities balancing each other out. LJVMA’s total income for July through December 2018, Murphy said, was $82,030 and expenses were $75,752, yielding net income of $6,278.

Also at LJVMA

Education and information sessions: Monthly meetings will be held, it was announced, to focus on ways the merchants can connect with and profit from Village events and happenings. The first will occur in early February, during which the focus will be on The Conrad, the Concours d’Elegance and other events.

Ribbon-cutting: LJVMA vice president Don Parks announced that, as part of LJVMA’s pledge to provide more merchant support, it will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Browboss Brow & Beauty at 7863 Girard on March 23.

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets 3 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 13 at La Jolla Library, 7555 Draper Ave.