Bird Rock experiencing a business renaissance

After months of dust and road work, things are looking up

Many are calling it the Bird Rock renaissance.

Now that the community’s five traffic-calming roundabouts are finally in and the arduous construction process involved in building them is over, things are returning to normal in Bird Rock’s La Jolla Boulevard commercial strip.

Early signs suggest the community’s business district is slowly rebounding from recent hard times caused by construction and traffic disruption. Clear evidence of this is the advent of new, start-up mom-and-pops beginning to emerge, as well as the reappearance of high-profile chains. Both are looking to fill niches in the community’s growing marketplace.

Two new businesses taking root in Bird Rock are Artsy Smartsy at 5709 La Jolla Blvd. and Something Special at 5759 La Jolla Blvd.

“I’m a different type of business but it’s one we needed around here,” said Mira Simic, owner of Artsy Smartsy. “We offer arts and crafts for children, call ourselves the Creative Learning Center for Children.”

Simic’s new business caters primarily to ages 2 to 6, though arts and crafts involved appeal to older children as well. “There isn’t so much out there for them (children) in this field,” Simic noted. “They have art in school, but after school the little guys don’t have much.”

A Bird Rock resident who previously nannied for a family with five children, Simic noticed a lack of alternatives in after-school activities for youth. “There wasn’t much out there other than active sports,” she said. “A lot of people wanted to enroll their kids in different art classes.”

In Simic’s classes, children work on different art projects in groups. “They make things using natural and disposable materials that promote recycling,” she said.

In one recent project, five Artsy Smartsy female students crafted a huge ocean canvas using paint, seashells and cotton balls to suggest ocean movement.

Thus far, about 90 percent of Simic’s customers have been Bird Rock residents. Once school resumes this fall, she hopes to add to her after-school classes.

Hours at Artsy Smartsy are currently 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A seven-week art class costs $140.

For more information about Artsy Smartsy, call (858) 459-9292.

Another fledgling Bird Rock business, Something Special, offers unique home handcrafted decor and gifts.

“We do a lot of our own products,” said Marilyn Henzie, who, along with Sally Telford, recently opened the new shop. “We have 20 or more coordinated dinner or tea sets.”

Something Special carries porcelain and china items consisting of tea sets, dinnerware, vases, cups, saucers and mugs. “My sister in Oregon designs and makes those,” said Henzie. “She’s been doing it for eight years.”

The new decor and gift shop also carries a line of seaside cottage linens in a style Henzie describes as “country chic.”

Something Special also carries furniture and accessories for infants. Said Henzie: “We have special infant bedding, blankets and lampshades, all one of a kind.”

The store also stocks an eclectic line of mosaic furniture.

Store hours at Something Special are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information call (858) 729-0753 or visit


A couple new well-known chains, Boll Weevil restaurant and Longs Drug Stores, are also opening outlets in Bird Rock early in August. “We are excited about meeting our new neighbors and we will be having a grand opening celebration Friday, Aug. 1 from 4 to 8 p.m., which will include refreshments, games for prizes, and costume character appearances in front of the store,” said Mark Holz, spokesman for the new Longs, which is on the site of the old Sandpiper Plaza and Seahaus’ sales office. Festivities for Longs’ Bird Rock grand opening will continue on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. highlighted by a noon ribbon-cutting.

Despite its relatively small size, the Bird Rock Longs will carry a selection of product categories very similar to those found in the chain’s larger stores. A wide selection of health and wellness products, as well as a full line of beauty products, will be handled. The new store will also have a convenience food section for in-between trips to the grocery store, plus a full-service photo department.

The new Longs has 32 underground parking spaces.

Longs hours for the main store will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. The pharmacy is open 9 a.m. to 9.p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. thru 6 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information about Bird Rock Longs call the main store at (858) 456-4830, and the pharmacy at (858) 456-4833.

Boll Weevil, which had a restaurant in the Village years ago, is returning to La Jolla at 5721 La Jolla Blvd. The retail space was most recently inhabited by Delirio’s Mexican restaurant. In years past, it was the location of high-end Cindy Black’s. “We’re shooting for an Aug. 1 opening,” said April Caulk, about the third-generation, family-owned and operated business that is once again spreading throughout San Diego after a period of contraction and regrouping.

Caulk said moving into Bird Rock was practically a no-brainer. “The deal was right,” she said. “Bird Rock is full of families. We’ve been run by the same family for 41 years. So we thought it would be a perfect fit.”

Bird Rock Boll Weevil’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The restaurant’s new and improved menu will include New York steaks. It will also have an old-style soda fountain reminiscent of the ‘50s.

“It’s going to be real cool,” said Caulk, “kids can build their own sundaes. It’s going to be fun.”