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La Jolla Business Roundup: New art galleries debut; floral shop opens in former Sur La Table location; more

Krista Schumacher stands in her pop-up gallery on Wall Street in La Jolla.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Boosting La Jolla’s artistic offerings, two new galleries have opened in The Village in recent weeks, one as a pop-up and the other intending to provide a place for budding artists.

Four years to the day after she moved to La Jolla, artist Krista Schumacher celebrated the opening of her own pop-up gallery Sept. 1.

“La Jolla has been extremely supportive of my artwork,” Schumacher said. “My first exhibition was at the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, so most of my work is inspired by the area.”

Specializing in oil on canvas and using only a palette knife, her works often depict landscapes and seascapes.

“A lot of my inspiration evokes the emotions that the landscapes make me feel here,” Schumacher said. “So they take on more of an abstract, impressionism view of the scenery here. Because I moved here as an outsider, I saw everything with fresh eyes and wanted to interpret La Jolla through my artist experience. I want to capture what it feels like to be here.”

All the works displayed at the gallery are for sale. Schumacher said she is available for commissions.

The gallery, at 1113 Wall St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays until Jan. 31. Learn more at (850) 621-3643 or kristaschumacherart.com.

B Free Studio

To provide a place for up-and-coming artists to showcase their work and provide something new for La Jollans to see every few weeks, La Jolla resident Barbara Freeman opened B Free Studio on Aug. 9.

Freeman, a retired venture capitalist, said “art is the thing that calms me” and that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she realized “the universe kept sending me artists as friends or artists as people that I would meet. Many of them have no place to show their work or be featured in a show.”

Having served on the boards of other art institutions, she said the time had come for her to do something on her own that combined her love of art with supporting budding artists.

“I wanted to provide a place for someone that is either just starting or midcareer,” she said. “I want to be a place where they can come and have a beautiful show.” The plan is to rotate exhibiting artists every two weeks or every month. The gallery’s calendar is already booked through February.

The sculptures of Max Roemer and Harold Sweet, along with a small collection of paintings and prints by Avi Kiriaty and Eduardo Bolioli, are on display through Sept. 18.

B Free Studio, at 7857 Girard Ave., is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and by appointment. Learn more at (619) 510-7204 or bfreestudio.net.

More business news

Floral Palette

Floral Palette opened June 1 in the former Sur La Table space at 7643 Girard Ave. to provide flower arrangements, baked goods and gifts.

The business, founded by owner Natalie Maxwell, offers full floral services and bouquets created in-house that are billed as a “blend of elegance with a modern twist.”

In addition to flowers, the store carries green plants, succulent planters and containers.

The floral department shares the space with a retail store that offers gifts, clothes, candy, body care products, home goods, packaged foods and more, which can be combined in gift boxes.

Floral Palette offers flower arrangements, baked goods and gifts on Girard Avenue in La Jolla.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Since Sur La Table had a kitchen for its classes, Floral Palette repurposed the kitchen space into a bakery with desserts and breakfast items such as croissants.

Floral Palette’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Learn more at (858) 352-6982 or floralpalette.com.

Nitevybe app

The Nitevybe app, which founder and Windansea resident Eric Fletcher describes as “part Yelp, part Waze and part dating app,” launched recently to provide real-time conditions at entertainment venues in La Jolla and Pacific Beach.

“Nitevybe gives real-time ratings of venues, such as the crowd, the age range, the male/female ratio, how long the line is and more,” said Fletcher, who added that the app is in a prototypical phase. “It’s also a place where venues can market themselves and their events, and a place to search for whatever type of atmosphere or event you might be looking for.”

As someone who helped launch apps for other companies, Fletcher often traveled and would want to go out. “There were too many times I would get in an Uber, drive to a venue only to find the line was an hour long or there was nothing going on there,” he said.

As he looked to provide real-time information, he started with La Jolla and Pacific Beach because they are close to home and provide a test market, he said.

“There is the demand for nightlife in La Jolla … and just because La Jolla isn’t known for its nightlife, that doesn’t mean it can’t become that,” he said.

Fletcher said he will be looking for investors to improve the app and expand into other markets. Nitevybe currently is available for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Learn more at instagram.com/nite_vybe.

Pacific Catch

Later this month, Bay Area-based fish house Pacific Catch will open its first Southern California location inside the Westfield UTC mall at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive.

The first Pacific Catch was opened in 2003 in San Francisco by restaurateurs Aaron Noveshen and Keith Cox and has grown to 11 locations in Northern California, according to a news release.

The Pacific Rim-inspired menu offers poke, ceviche and fresh-catch entrees, as well as signature dishes such as Chicken Katsu Sando, Asian Chimichurri Salad Bowl and Traditional Baja Tacos.

Pura Vida

The new Pura Vida store at Westfield UTC mall opened in August.
The new Pura Vida store at Westfield UTC mall opened in August.
(Brian Luu)

Local jewelry company Pura Vida opened its first brick-and-mortar store last month at Westfield UTC.

The company was started in 2010 by Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, who decided on a surf trip to Costa Rica that they would sell colorful bracelets handmade by artisans they met there.

Since then, Pura Vida, which translates to “pure life,” has expanded from bracelets to other types of jewelry, accessories and clothing.

To learn more, visit puravidabracelets.com. — Pacific San Diego

Spiro’s anniversary

Spiro’s Mediterranean Cuisine celebrates the first anniversary of its La Jolla restaurant at 909 Prospect St. on Thursday, Sept. 9.

The Chaconas family, which has owned and operated Spiro’s Greek Cafe at the Coronado Ferry Landing since 1995, reimagined its original concept for La Jolla to spotlight traditional recipes of the Mediterranean region, according to a news release.

Like its sibling in Coronado, the La Jolla location offers seasonal house-made Greek mezes, gyros and souvlaki, artisan salads, kabob plates and family meals, house-baked desserts and Greek beer and wine. It also features specialty foods including Greek salts, olives and cheeses, as well as gift items. ◆