La Jolla Merchants Association seeks new office space


The La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) is looking for a more prominent location in the Village, which it hopes to occupy when its lease at 7734 Her- schel Ave. expires Jan. 1.

Plans are for the new space to also house the La Jolla Visitor Information Center, which is operated by the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (ConVis) and currently located at 7966 Herschel Ave., near Prospect Street.

The LJVMA hopes the shared space will boost the visibility of the merchants association and visitors cen- ter, the latter of which needs additional room.

“We could stay where we are, but we want to take this opportunity,” said LJVMA President Phil Coller, noting some limitations of the cur- rent lease. “If anybody’s got ideas on new property we’d love to (hear about them).”

Coller said the merchants association has applied for grants to assume manage- ment of the volunteer-run visitors center, while ex- panding aspects of its part- nership with ConVis, which seeks to have a greater im- pact and presence in La Jolla.

In Other LJVMA News

Activating Associate Memberships:

During its June 13 meeting at the Cuvier Club, the board voted to offer associate memberships to businesses and organizations located outside its Business Improvement District (BID). Businesses located within the BID area are automatically granted mem- bership via a city-mandated BID assessment.

Associate memberships would be granted to businesses located within the confines of the La Jolla Community Plan map, which the city last updated in 2004.

Associate members will receive the same benefits and voting rights as existing members, though they cannot sit as directors per LJVMA bylaws.

The rate for associate memberships is $350 for businesses with 1-10 employees, $600 for businesses with 11-40 employees, and up. The highest associate membership is $2,000 for businesses with 200 or more employees.

The average annual rate for assessed members within the BID is about $350.

Associate memberships will be granted on a case-by-case basis by the LJVMA board, Coller said, noting that the board could waive or reduce fees for nonprofit organizations.

“The business improve- ment district leaves out some very important businesses that are outside of the membership area,” Coller said. “We want to give those businesses opportunities to

become members. ... We think it will really bind the community together.”

Haute La Jolla Nights Recap:

Though the first Haute La Jolla Nights event only drew a couple hundred people to the Village on Saturday, June 9, the LJVMA deemed the event an overall success.

Village merchants and galleries kept their doors open to 9 p.m. or later, offering specials, food and wine or activities, while bands and musicians performed throughout the Village.

Event organizer Julie Matibag said she would seek sponsorships with signage for each live mu- sic space in the future. The next Haute Nights event will be 6-9 p.m. July 21.

Tree Trimming Troubles:

Board member Egon Kafka reported three magnolia trees were recently planted in front of Herringbone restaurant, and three flowering Cassia trees were planted in front of Warwick’s Bookstore to replace several small palms.

Throughout the Village there are some 250 trees in the public right of way. Though the city was once responsible for trimming the trees, it abandoned the task about six years ago due to budget cuts, said Erin Demorest, a representative for District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner.

Kafka, who proposed that the LJVMA take on the responsibility for trimming the trees,said he obtained six bids, and called for the board to allocate $15,000 for the work. The money also would be used to purchase additional brackets and hanging planters in the Village, and to kill the root systems of diseased trees recently felled by the city.

Though the city is not maintaining the trees, Demorest said the merchants association would need to obtain a city permit before it is allowed to take on the annual or semi-annual job.

“If a tree limb falls and hits somebody on the head, who’s liable?” Coller asked, noting the liability of the LJVMA taking on the work. “It’s a city safety issue, so I don’t see how the city can gut it from its budget.”

Cups owner Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach asked Demorest if the city could make the merchants association immune from liability should it assume the task, and requested that Demorest arrange a meeting with city officials to address the issue.

LJVMA board member Claudette Berwin suggested the association draft a letter to “exert some pressure” on the city. “They need to do what they’re supposed to be doing,” Berwin said. “This is totally unacceptable.”

In the end, the group decided to wait to hear from city officials on the tree trimming, and instead allocated up to $1,500 for the hanging planters.

Watering Bids Needed:

The city notified LJVMA that it must put its contract for watering its planters — about $900 per month from July 1 to Dec. 31 — out to bid. A motion was made to seek five bids for the work.

Bench Prototype Coming:

The association will also order a prototype bench as a possible replacement for the 17 it owns and maintains in the Village. The bench under consideration is made of recycled plastic that resembles mahogany and has a 10-year warranty.

La Jolla Art and Wine Festival:

Sherry Ahern and Andrea Dahlberg updated the LJVMA on the next La Jolla Art and Wine Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 13-14 in the Village. The event, to include stilt walkers, jugglers and other roving circus performers, as well as flash mobs, is expected to draw as many as 20,000 people.

“We want the merchants to shine with us, because we’re all family,” Ahern said.

Though about 100 artists have rented space for the festival, another 100 are still being sought. Application forms are available at

  1. Tented booth rental fees range from $350 to $900.