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La Jolla Village Merchants Association launches window decorating contest and health and wellness bingo

People write ideas for the La Jolla Village Merchants Association to consider during a strategic planning session Dec. 13.
La Jolla Village Merchants Association board members and others write ideas for the board to consider during a strategic planning session Dec. 13.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The board refines its annual strategic planning session to focus on fewer and more realistic ideas.

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The La Jolla Village Merchants Association spent much of its December meeting talking about the future — the immediate future with a merchant holiday window decorating contest, the not-so-distant future with a health- and wellness-themed bingo game planned for January, and the long-term future of the organization.

Window decorating contest

LJVMA has appointed a secret panel of judges who will walk The Village from now until Christmas Day, Dec. 25, to view area merchants’ holiday decor. The judges will pick their three favorite windows based on overall holiday cheer, aesthetics and effectiveness in attracting attention.

LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said the board has held the window decorating contest in the past but is stepping it up this year.

“We started just before [the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020], but we amped it during COVID because people weren’t going into stores that first year,” she said. “So this year, we have an artist, a gallerist, a former retail executive that specializes in merchandising and an interior designer who will walk The Village on their own time and will let me know their top three choices.”

The winners will be announced at a future LJVMA meeting.

Health and wellness bingo

This is a tentative mock-up of the wellness bingo card the La Jolla Village Merchants Association will launch next month.
This is a tentative mock-up of the wellness bingo card the La Jolla Village Merchants Association will launch next month.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Noting that 40 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions — about half of which center on health — the board will launch an initiative next month to promote health and wellness businesses by creating a bingo-style board of health-based activities for participants to complete.

So far, 11 local businesses have agreed to participate, Rudick said this week, and she is looking for more. The board contains 25 squares of activities that include “Take a yoga class” and “Eat a healthy meal with a friend” at participating businesses.

“This is a very exciting project for us … because [health and wellness] is a segment of our community that hasn’t gotten the same amount of love as maybe our restaurants or retailers,” Rudick said.

Strategic planning

While it is customary for LJVMA to dedicate its December meeting to its annual strategic planning session, which provides the blueprint for the board’s initiatives in the coming year, this year’s effort was more refined to produce fewer and more realistic ideas.

As in the past, the Dec. 13 session involved boards stationed across the room on which participants could write ideas under its core categories of organizational excellence, merchant engagement and professional development, promotions, arts and culture/First Friday Art Walks, and advertising and social/digital media.

But this year, Rudick said, only 10 to 15 minutes would be spent on a brainstorming session, followed by the groups prioritizing the ideas. “Then we’ll look at the feasibility of these ideas,” she said. “Do we have the resources and time to do this, or do we need to find another way to get them done?”

She said only the top one or two ideas deemed most feasible would be included in the long-term plan. Between now and the January meeting, the top ideas will be posted and shared for additional feedback, and the board will vote on whether to adopt and integrate them into the annual plan at the next meeting.

She said the board also is continuing its effort to draw people who visit area landmarks such as La Jolla Cove into The Village to shop or dine and has sought new ideas on how to do that.

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