A time of change for many Village businesses

Businesses and restaurants are coming and going in the Village, and at least one brick-and-mortar establishment has picked up its foundation and moved online.

Some are small, like the new newsstand on Herschel; others like the owners of Whisknladle are building on success of existing businesses.

Arturo Kassel, managing partner of Whisknladle, recently opened Prepkitchen (

), a gourmet take-out spot, with complete lunches and dinners as well as “quick bites” where Tom Yum Thai used to be at 7556 Fay Ave.

“The success of Whisknladle has been so rewarding and we are excited to further expand our signature brand with the opening of Prepkitchen,” Kassel said in a news release.

Ryan Johnston, executive chef at their Wall Street eatery, oversees the Prepkitchen offerings, which include dishes such as Roasted Jidori Chicken and handmade pasta.

Also new at 7966 Herschel Ave. sandwiched between La Jolla Visitor’s Center and the Cigar Store is La Jolla Newsstand owned by Athletic Nation owner Betsy Retana.

She opened the business because “everybody was saying they’d love to see a newsstand and we thought, ‘Why not?’ ”

Getting the news

Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, La Jolla Newsstand carries a full range of newspapers and magazines, and serves health drinks and snacks. There’s also a TV for lingerers.

Retana will give La Jollans 10 percent discounts.

La Jolla commercial Realtor Phil Wise of Collier’s International said tough economic times are reflected in vacancy rates.

“There has been an increase in the number of retail vacancies in the Village of La Jolla,” he said.

“But the number of spaces becoming available each month is slowing. In March and April, there was a lot more space becoming vacant than the month of May, when only two stores gave notice of closing. But there are more spaces available now than there have ever been.”

Electronics, too

Despite the recession, the beat goes on for business in the Village, which continues to see new risk-taking tenants. Beyond Tech, a new electronics store specializing in Sony products, opened June 5 at 7603 Girard Ave. on the corner of Torrey Pines Road. They carry everything from cameras to laptops to international access phones, said owner Bassam Alkowni.

And yogurt shops continue to flock to La Jolla. Berries and Beans just opened at 1010 Prospect St. and Dolci Mango at 7521 Fay Ave.

Meanwhile, Sheila Palmer, whose design store at 1006 Torrey Pines Road has been a fixture for 35 years, recently moved to La Jolla Shores.

She said the move was a combination of factors, from the Torrey Pines building - which houses Beyond Tech - being sold and “being right on the busy street” to finding a perfect new home in a 60-year-old cottage at 2216 Avenida de la Playa.

It’s a homecoming of sorts, since she started her store in 19974 next door to what is now Piatti’s.

Off to UTC

Also moving is Toys Etc. at 7836 Herschel Ave. The lease is expiring and the quarter-century-old business is picking up stakes and moving to UTC mall at the end of June.

“There’s been a toy store in this location for 50 years,” said David Johnston, co-owner along with his sister of the family owned toy business.

Johnston said the building Toys Etc. is in was sold in January and the landlord wanted to move into one-third of the available space, leaving Johnson with a fit too tight for comfort.

Sad sign

Scott Rudolph, who manages the building Toys Etc. is in, intends to move his mortgage business into the smaller space and is searching for a new tenant to occupy the other two-thirds.

“I would like to find a national clothing store or a restaurant or some other kind of prominent business for there,” he said, adding the retail space will likely take three to six months to remodel.

Moving to the Internet was Eurochild’s method of relocation from its store at 7863 Girard Ave., Suite 203. The new address is


“After 10 fantastic years doing business in the heart of the “Jewel” of San Diego – La Jolla – Eurochild … has now taken its business solely online,” said owner Brett Buffington, a native La Jollan and former tennis pro.

But a new children’s boutique is on the horizon at 1273 Prospect St. Wow By Alexa, children’s fine fashion, announced the boutique on its Web site,