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La Jolla Village Merchants Association touts accomplishments in annual report

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association gave posters to local retailers.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association gave posters to local retailers. The distribution was cited as an accomplishment in the board’s annual report.
(Courtesy)

Reflecting on its accomplishments over the past fiscal year and its “creative” responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association discussed its annual report during its online meeting Sept. 9 and voted unanimously to submit it to the city of San Diego.

The report is required by the city and was produced by LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick, who said it is her “favorite thing to do” and that she was “very proud of” the accomplishments it highlights.

For example, Rudick said, when there were midyear vacancies on the board, they were filled within 30 days. “That is a testament to the leadership we have on our board,” she said.

Reflecting on the board’s mission of bringing businesses to The Village, Rudick said, “This year, of course, we had months where we couldn’t bring people to The Village, but we were able to help with the to-go orders for restaurants and curbside pickup for retailers.”

She touted the update to the board’s strategic plan to incorporate COVID-19 crisis management, and its diversity initiatives, internship program and solidified relationships with city departments and other communities, among other accomplishments.

“We are optimistic. The numbers aren’t stellar, but we are optimistic,” Rudick said. “To assist businesses during the pandemic, we’ve put out posters, signs, social media to make people feel comfortable [shopping and dining] in The Village. We’ve seen other business improvement districts and other communities really struggle with the image that it is not a place they want to go. I think La Jolla has done a stellar job making our visitors feel safe from the virus. ... We brought in a lot of creative solutions during a time of crisis, and we are looking to the future, but doing it safely.”

Additional plans include increasing awareness of available parking in garages through directional signs and having community events in a way that is COVID-safe.

“I have been on this board for six years and have seen six annual reports, and I feel the best about this one,” LJVMA President Brett Murphy said. “It’s more focused, even though it is very vast, on the mission at hand and action-oriented. It’s extremely important, and the city wants to see what we have done, and this is phenomenal.”

Other LJVMA news

Election update: Nine candidates have come forward for nine Village Merchants Association board seats up for election next month.

The six incumbents are Life Time La Jolla General Manager Jo Cullen, Blue Apparel owner Gabby Guevara, Lik Fine Art gallery director Katey Longo, La Jolla Golf Carts owner Robert Mackey, Granite Escrow & Settlement Services account executive Kelli Metcalf and La Jolla chiropractor Nevin Ramona Hussion. The three new candidates are Kamla Hotels/Empress Hotel director of sales and marketing Karen Finerman, La Valencia Hotel General Manager Summer Shoemaker and San Diego Fly Rides General Manager Will Whittle.

Ballots are posted at lajollabythesea.com under “business documents,” and voting is open to all 1,256 businesses currently in good standing with LJVMA. Each business may vote once. Ballots may be mailed, emailed, hand-delivered or picked up by Rudick by request.

Ballots must be collected by Oct. 9 and will be opened at the Oct. 14 board meeting in the presence of a city official.

Pillage the Village canceled: LJVMA Marketing Committee Chairwoman Julie Wright announced that Pillage the Village —the area tradition on Halloween — has been canceled due to COVID-19. “But we are trying to come up with some Halloween activity that is safe for people to do in this environment but still festive,” she said. Details are coming,

Pillage the Village normally invites children of all ages to trick-or-treat on Halloween at participating retailers along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street.

A place to park: The La Jolla employee discount parking program has been revived to “get employees off the street and into local garages at a discounted rate” of $75 a month, Rudick said. For more information or to apply, email jodi@lajollabythesea.com.

Murphy noted that parking in his building is $130 a month and said the discount is “a steal.”

A similar program was in place under the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board but was discontinued in 2019.

LJVMA next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, online. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com.