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At 75, Adelaide’s still blossoming

After 75 years, Adelaide’s of La Jolla continues to flourish in La Jolla. With only $6, a love of flowers and a cart located on a plot of land she purchased along Highway 101 in Encinitas, Adelaide Phillips’ dream of independence has blossomed into a third-generation, family-run business with more than 45 employees.

Now Gina Phillips, her granddaughter, runs the business and credits her father, Harry Jr., with growing Adelaide’s into what it is today.

“He just took it and ran with it,” she said. “He was never scared of growth.” An Air Force pilot with a degree in engineering from UCLA, Harry Jr. expanded into La Jolla and opened the first store in 1949.

Phillips said it wasn’t until being asked by his mother to join her that he realized he had a flair for the business.

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At it for 23 years

Born at the old Scripps Hospital on Prospect Street, Phillips has been working in the business for more than 23 years with the help of her sister Lynn Jahn.

Prior to officially taking over the reins four years ago, Phillips was the general manager for more than a decade.

As she reflected upon her years working her way up through sales, she explains that it wasn’t a given that one day she would eventually take over.

“You had to earn it with my dad and that’s the way my grandmother was,” she said. “You had to earn everything.”

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Feeling fortunate to have a business that sustains itself, Gina acknowledged that she doesn’t take anything for granted.

“It’s wonderful to feel that people support you,” she said. “I never want to lose that sense of community.”

Change is coming

Phillips said she knows that Adelaide’s must be ready to embrace change as gracefully as possible.

“I love going into Warwick’s and seeing Nancy not be scared to change things from what her dad did,” she said. “And this is what we’re doing. We’re changing things from what my dad did.”

A staunch supporter of independent stores, Phillips expressed a strong desire for La Jolla to maintain its personality, but acknowledges that family-run businesses are in danger of becoming extinct due to large corporate-run stores.

“To be able to breathe the ocean air and not have any parking meters, to be able to walk down the street and see people that you bump into all of the time and to see businesses that are striving to be part of the community, that’s what makes La Jolla such a special place to live and shop,” said Phillips.