Village Merchants Association names new president and gets two new board members

Cody Decker (right) has been elected the new president of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.
Kensey and Cody Decker are co-owners of Decker’s Dog + Cat on Ivanhoe Avenue in La Jolla. Cody Decker has been elected the new president of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association board underwent some changes during its March 10 meeting: Its president, Brett Murphy, stepped down; a new president was elected; a new member was seated; and another new member was accepted and will be sworn in at the next meeting.

Murphy said his gym, La Jolla Sports Club, will reopen under a new name and new ownership in coming weeks, and he therefore doesn’t have a valid business license in The Village and no longer qualifies for a board position.

“Thank you for allowing me to be on the board and having me as president the last couple of years,” he said.

Brett Murphy is the departing president of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick noted that Murphy was going to term out this year and that “this is already something we were working on, because having a succession plan was very important to me.”

Vice President Cody Decker was elected the new president and Morgan Barnes was elected vice president.

Decker is the co-owner of Decker’s Dog + Cat, a pet supply store that opened in 2019 on Ivanhoe Avenue. He will formally assume the president’s role at the board’s next meeting.

Murphy said Decker “approached me awhile back asking about what a good president would look like and how to do the job, and he has been working hand in hand with me to understand, so I think this would be a smooth transition.”

Decker said he looks forward to “serving the Merchants Association even more than before and getting as many things done as we possibly can.”

LJVMA also welcomed J. McLaughlin retail store manager Natalie Aguirre as a new board member. She nominated herself last month and was accepted.

Murphy stepping down opened a seat on the board. Mermaids & Cowboys restaurant owner Michael Matthews nominated himself and was accepted. He will be sworn in at the next meeting.

Mermaids & Cowboys restaurant owner Michael Matthews
Mermaids & Cowboys restaurant owner Michael Matthews introduces himself during the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s March 10 meeting. He will be sworn in as a new board member at the next meeting.

“I am always looking to contribute to the greater good in any way possible,” Matthews wrote in his nomination form. “My goals in the early going would be to provide support and develop a solid partnership with our fellow businesses in The Village. I feel I’ve learned so much already in the meetings I have attended and look forward to learning and participating even more as an official member.”

Rudick said that “when I look at the group we have and our executive board, I cannot believe the creativity and the passion. I am just thrilled to work for you all.”

Other LJVMA news

Seal Cam update: LJVMA’s plans are progressing to install a camera atop the La Valencia Hotel to view the sea lions at La Jolla Cove and another camera on the Children’s Pool lifeguard station to view the harbor seals there, all through a livestream on a website.

Rudick has said the website would be modeled after the Ocean Beach Webcam and that costs were estimated at $4,000 for installation and maintenance.

“If we stay the private enterprise route, the cameras can be installed quickly,” she said. “It would be so much fun to get this launched for Earth Day and give people from all over the globe the ability to see the most beautiful place on Earth.”

Rudick said she intends to have more details by next month’s meeting.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose district includes La Jolla, said he would work with Rudick and lifeguards to have a camera mounted on the lifeguard station.

New member packet: Decker said he is working on a “new member welcome packet” for businesses that open in The Village.

“With the help of our awesome interns ... we are almost 100 percent done with this,” he said. “It will be a physical folder with everything on there, and we will have a digital version on our website … with who to ... talk to to get involved.”

He said a final draft will be presented at the next meeting.

Rudick said that once a final draft is approved, she will hand-deliver the packet to new merchants when they open.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, online. Learn more at