La Jolla’s downtown gets off to fair holiday start


The Village was a little busier than usual on Friday with things starting out slowly but picking up momentum throughout the day, though nothing extraordinary.

That was how merchants in La Jolla’s downtown area described business on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving kicking off the Christmas shopping season that derives its nickname from the color for profit.

“It’s been poppin’ since I got here at 11 a.m.,” said JoAnn Brown, a clerk at Meanley & Son Ace Hardware at about 12:15 p.m. Brown guesstimated business was 2 percent more than a typical Friday. “We’re almost always busy,” she added. “We’re the only game in town.”

Out in front of Meanley’s at 7756 Girard Ave., Neal Wichard, an antique car restorer, and some colleagues were showing off a couple of oldtime race cars including a 289 Cobra, promoting the upcoming Motor Car Classic antique car exhibit presented by the La Jolla Historical Society in January at the Cove.

“We’re doing a (antique) car tour this year the day of the event starting at the Antique Car Museum in Balboa Park,” Wichard said.

The mint-condition roadsters drew the attention of visiting out-of-towners like the trio of Mary Paul, Jeana Paul-Urina and Douglas Pratt from Texas.

“We came out here because we thought it would be less crowded,” said Mary, noting her group had already visited a jewelry and a shoe store as well as Meanleys. “We’re avoiding the malls today.”

Further down Girard another group of visitors — Joan Lonergan, John Merrow and Jeff Hines — visiting from Palo Alto, was strolling with their dog Maggie.

“We’re here (La Jolla) to have a good time,” said Joan, noting she’s usually not a Black Friday shopper. She did, however, have one particular sale in mind. “I think we’re going to go to Banana Republic and take advantage of the two-for-one cashmere sweater sale,” she said.

At Adelaide’s Florists, which has been decked out in Christmas finery since the store’s Nov. 11 open house, employee Lynn Jahn said poinsettias were moving well already as were delicate white orchids.

“That’s a gift that goes year-round,” she acknowledged of flowers.

At Geppetto’s toy shop, clerk Molly McCarthy said Black Friday for them “started out kind of slow,” because people usually “wake up late” the day after Thanksgiving. “So far, it’s been pretty good,’ she said about lunchtime. “It’s busier than a usual Friday.”

“People are buying already,” she said. “We’re doing a lot of gift wrapping.”

A traditional toy store without a lot of high-tech or electronic gadgets, the old reliables — board games and Lego products — were moving as usual at Geppetto’s.

“We’re starting to get the bigger-ticket items for Christmas, “ added McCarthy, noting a popular item this year is “Sleep Sheep.”

“It plays soothing sounds that help kids fall asleep,” she said. “That’s very popular for babies.”

At Warwick’s Books and Stationery, owner Nancy Warwick described the shopping action as “jumpin’, with lots of book sales. “

My experience is the day after Thanksgiving is becoming increasing popular,” she said. “People aren’t going up to the malls. They’re looking for a quieter shopping experience.”

Black Friday had a very homey feel at Warwick’s during the first shopping day of Christmas.

Said Warwick: “A lot of families come in. For those people whose kids are back from college, they come here because they have come here for years.”