La Jolla’s village business owners mixed on impact of art, wine fest



Staff Writer

How well local businesses fared during the second annual La Jolla Art and Wine Festival on Oct. 9-10 seems to have a lot to do with the nature of the business and their proximity to the event.

Girard Avenue Collection profited this year, as it did last, from having the festival nearby.

“It was very good for us, it brought a lot more foot traffic in the Village and we appreciated that,” said Shannon Turner, Collection owner. “Any time there’s a special event in town it brings a lot of energy.”

Seaside Home next door to Girard Avenue Collection at 7509 Girard Ave. also did a brisk business both days.

“We had a lot of people in the store,” said designer Dalia Bazilwich, adding people coming in were asking “some serious questions” about the merchandise.

But not every business near the event had such a favorable reaction to it, like Ultimo For Hair at 7446 Girard Ave. Ultimo claimed it was too close to the event to derive any benefit from it.

“One main concern was losing parking in the back as well as on-street parking,” said Ultimo hairstylist Craig Morgan. “People were using our parking lot and staying there all day.”

There were other problems too, said Morgan. “They had a fabric of tents butting up against each other right in front of our businesses — I called it the Great Wall of China — effectively blocking the view of any of the businesses on this side of the street from any of the people attending the festival,” he said. “They told us the festival would be really great exposure. But there was no exposure.”

A couple of blocks away in the Village at 7734 Girard Ave., Tabu Sushi chef Tony Parker worked on Saturday and said the impact from the art and wine fest was negligible.

“Our numbers were OK on Sunday, but we don’t know if it was from the art show or not,” he added.

Dennis Wills owner of D G Wills Books at 7461 Girard Ave. noted event proceeds helped La Jolla’s public elementary schools. While acknowledging some local businesses were challenged with parking and access due to the event, Wills noted, “This is only one weekend a year … there are always going to be speed bumps in the road when putting on a big production, which they hopefully will improve upon next year.”

Nancy Warwick owner of Warwick’s, down the street a ways 7812 Girard Ave., said her bookstore was very busy on Saturday.

“A lot of people were talking about the art and wine festival,” she said. “It was definitely good for business.”

La Jolla Elementary principal Donna Tripi noted the event is young and there’s still a lot for organizers to improve upon.

“We’re learning, it’s only our second year,” she said. “We made some changes that were very positive, there were dancers and singers and ballet.”

Tripi stressed fundraisers like the art and wine festival are needed because it’s clear the state financing for local schools won’t be improving any time soon.

“Every year we’re taking hit after hit,” she said. “With fundraising events like the farmers market and the art and wine festival, we’re providing the community with something and they’re coming. We’re not asking our parents for more and more support. We’re getting it from the larger community.”