La Jolla Village Merchants Association plans goals for 2020

La Jolla Village Merchants Association executive director Jodi Rudick presides over her second strategic planning meeting since taking over the job in 2018.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA) final 2019 meeting, Dec. 12 at the Riford Library, was dedicated to strategic planning for 2020.

The format — inspired by the Main Street America Association — broke officers, board members and members of the public (including City Council District 1 candidates Joe LaCava and Lily Zhou) into five groups offering opinions on how to improve the La Jolla Business Improvement District (BID) in each of five key areas: 1) organizational excellence; 2) economic vitality and merchant development; 3) design and ambiance; 4) promotion (events and experiences); and 5) promotion (marketing and publicity).

Each group wrote its best ideas on a whiteboard, then rotated around the library meeting room to the four other areas. Here, they prioritized the previous group’s ideas. Another rotation and each group assigned each of the previously prioritized ideas a feasibility grade from A to F.

Each group eventually rotated back to its starting point and delivered a final presentation of the ideas.

The new suggestions emerging from this process included:

Monetizing Enjoya La Jolla and/or developing a revenue-generating component;

Actively promoting associate membership to neighboring businesses in Bird Rock and La Jolla Shores;

Helping merchants recruit and hire quality staff;

Creating more Instagram-able spaces in the Business Improvement District;

Handing out La Jolla shopping guides at regularly scheduled trolley tour drops;

Creating a fundraiser in connection with the July fireworks; and

Using a harbor seal character as La Jolla’s mascot on signage at The Cove, to help convince tourists not to leave after seeing the pinnipeds.

“I think those ideas are really great,” said executive director Jodi Rudick.

The suggestions will be edited and tweaked by the executive board, then presented at LJVMA’s Jan. 8 board meeting for a vote to adopt as the official 2020 strategic plan.

Financial report

To Nov. 30, LJVMA has $120,00 in its bank account, which president Brett Murphy said was “an all-time high since I’ve been here.” Total assets, liabilities and equity were balanced at $127,808, and annual income was up 20 percent over last year, to $19,208, which Murphy said was due to an audit last year, which investigated businesses in the district that weren’t paying their dues.

“And with that, I’d like a motion to give me a raise,” Rudick joked.

Also at LJVMA …

Three new associate members approved: Northwestern Mutual financial planner Joe Rogers, Ahmed Wellness Pharmacy owner Ahmed Eldahmy and Rodan and Fields Skincare owner Elsbeth (who provided no last name) joined the association. Rudick reported more than $5,000 in revenue from associate memberships this year.

Later meeting time: LJVMA meetings will start at 4 p.m. next year, an hour later than 2019. The group meets at the Riford Library on the second Wednesday of every month. And Enjoya La Jolla will take place three hours earlier, from noon to 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month, to allow restaurants to participate.

Saturday Sidewalk Sale: A Village-wide sidewalk sale and all-day happy hour (allowing restaurants to get in on the theme) is planned for Saturday, Jan. 11. LJVMA has secured permission to use the public right-of way as allowed by law. So far, seven merchants have signed up.

In sync with shoppers: Thanks to its monthly Enjoya La Jolla event, LJVMA’s e-mail list of active consumers nearly doubled — from 3,000 last year to 5,500.

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.