Village Merchants Association looks at partnerships to promote La Jolla

Members of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association meet April 13 at the Empress Hotel.
Members of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association discuss upcoming partnerships and promotions at LJVMA’s April 13 meeting at the Empress Hotel.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is pursuing several partnerships in coming months, from as near as local business owners for the Concours d’Elegance and First Friday Art Walk to as far as Disney for a “Lion King"-themed scavenger hunt this summer.

The LJVMA board discussed the plans at its April 13 meeting at the Empress Hotel.

For the record:

6:16 p.m. April 19, 2022This article was updated with the correct spelling of Cody Petterson’s last name.

Concours d’Elegance

During the Concours d’Elegance car show April 22-24, businesses will be encouraged to participate in a window/storefront decorating contest with a car theme.

“Just like Del Mar had the Breeders’ Cup [horse racing] and allowed it to take over the town, that’s what we want to do with the Concours and what this event will be all about,” LJVMA President Amber Anderson said.

First Friday Art Walk

For LJVMA’s ongoing First Friday Art Walks, trustee and Lik Fine Art gallery manager Katey Longo said businesses are coming forward to sponsor food and/or drink options at local galleries, but the board is seeking more.

During the Art Walk, area galleries stay open later on the First Friday of the month and partner with area merchants to provide food, beverages and entertainment. LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said the goal is to have at least one business partner with each participating gallery — one to provide or sponsor refreshments and one for in-house entertainment. To get involved, email

‘100 Days of Summer’

For the upcoming “100 Days of Summer” promotion, LJVMA will join with sister organizations in Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach to form a partnership of “the three iconic beach communities of San Diego,” Rudick said. The effort will promote events and activities in each community.

“We’re looking to make a triad and focus on the distinct natures of each of our communities — what OB is known for, what PB is known for and what La Jolla is known for,” Rudick said.

For each day of the promotion, a specific event or activity in one of the three communities will be highlighted. All three will dedicate a staff member to curate the events and assign funding for advertising.

Rudick will meet with representatives of the communities in coming weeks.

‘The Lion King’

Following in the footsteps of a partnership that had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, LJVMA is looking to hold a safari-themed scavenger hunt in The Village around the time Broadway San Diego will stage a production of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

In March 2020, Rudick said, there was going to be a scavenger hunt in partnership with Broadway San Diego with the theme of the 2013 Disney film “Frozen” to coincide with a play based on the film.

“We kept the relationship with the local Disney promotions company, which has the promotion rights for ‘The Lion King,’ ” Rudick said. The resulting event will be “ecological-themed ... which is such a big part of who we are in La Jolla.”

The plan — which is still being developed — will be held around August or September (Broadway San Diego will present “The Lion King” onstage Aug. 24 through Sept. 11 at the San Diego Civic Theatre) and could include a “photo safari” in La Jolla to find images of wild animals at local galleries and businesses. Rudick said the board also is considering hiding images of “Lion King” character Simba around town to be found by participants.

LJVMA will receive a stipend for its participation.

County Board of Supervisors

Though not a formal partnership, LJVMA is working with the office of San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to apply for grants to provide extra income for the events it would like to hold.

Cody Petterson, representing Lawson-Remer, said LJVMA was being nominated for a $15,000 “financial hardship” grant. “It is not official because the board has to vote on it … but it is very likely the grant will be given,” he said. “We are committed to helping this community.”

The LJVMA board voted unanimously to accept the grant should the Board of Supervisors decide to bestow it.

“I didn’t think we qualified for this grant originally, since we were able to keep doors open and everything was still going on,” Rudick said. “But the county informed us that if we spent any money that was specific to COVID that took away from other activities, that was financial hardship … and it leaves the door open to apply for a community enhancement grant, and we are working on that as well.”

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at