La Jolla Village Merchants eyes upcoming holiday season with online events and locals discount card

halloween pumpkin
Can you do better than this? The La Jolla Village Merchants Association will host a social media-based pumpkin decorating contest, with the winner receiving a prize from a local merchant.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is eyeing the upcoming — and undoubtedly unconventional — holiday season, planning for an online pumpkin decorating contest for Halloween and a local’s discount program with area merchants participating for shopping needs.

In the coming days, LJVMA marketing and promotions chairwoman Morgan Barnes said at the Oct. 14 meeting, the organization would release the details of the pumpkin decorating contest on its website ( and social media outlets.

“We are looking for merchants and locals to decorate a pumpkin and send the photo to us, or tag us on social media,” she said. “The prizes will be gift cards to local merchants.”

The social media-oriented celebration replaces the “Pillage the Village” community trick-or-treating event that was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The board is also looking to do a “La Jollalty Plus” card for the holidays, through which those who acquire a discount card for a suggested donation of $10 to use at local merchants also get a gift card to a participating merchant.

Through the ongoing La Jollalty card program, participating merchants offer discounts to cardholders. The list of merchants and discounts can be found at

However, the holiday version needs a sponsor to provide $5,000-$10,000 to fund the complimentary gift card so the project is “stuck” right now, said LJVMA executive director Jodi Rudick. Nevertheless, she said she would like program rolled out by the holidays.

Other LJVMA news

Election results: Nine candidates came forward to fill nine LJVMA board seats up for election. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ballots were mailed, hand delivered and picked up. The ballots were opened and counted by an election official during the meeting.

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.

“I am really excited about this board,” Rudick said. “I see this group as having an on-the-ground presence … we have such a well-balanced board, with restaurants, tourism, fitness, salons, retailers, health care, professionals, marketing and other industries represented. I cannot wait to see what this board accomplishes.”

The nine new members will be sworn in next month, at which time officers will be elected. Current president Brett Murphy will term out.

Offices to be relocated: By the middle of next month, LJVMA operations will relocate to new offices on Herschel Avenue to save money and better meet the board’s needs. “We have been talking about this for a few months,” Rudick said. “We are going to relocate to a space on the first floor of the Crosby building at 7734 Herschel Ave. We’re very excited to be in the heart of The Village, where merchants and visitors can pick up information and publications. It’s going to be a good move for us.”

The new space will cost less in rent, saving the board $8,000 a year.

MAD update: Speaking for the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District, Enhance La Jolla president Ed Witt gave a recap of this year’s MAD activities, such as emptying trash containers beyond what the city provides, power washing the sidewalk, picking up litter, repainting rusted SDG&E structures on the public right of way, graffiti abatement, abandoned news rack removal and more.

“We’ve accomplished a lot, but we have so much more to do,” he said. “We work to ensure the public right of ways are kept in prime condition. We work with landowners and retailers whenever possible to ensure this happens. We want all of you and prospective investors considering La Jolla for investments to be impressed by what you and they see. With a lot of storefronts being closed, I see it as our responsibility to ensure that those areas are kept up and made to look prime.”

He added that Enhance La Jolla — which administers the MAD — is partnering with the La Jolla Community Foundation to execute a streetscape plan of broad Village improvements. The first project therein is replacing benches and trash containers in The Village.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, online. Learn more at