Village Merchant Association holds meetings on strategic planning
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 01/27/19 - 10:05 AM | 1615 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In December, La Jolla Village Merchant Association vetted how best to bring business to La Jolla Village.

In January, the merchant group approved a “game plan” for accomplishing that.

On Dec. 12, La Jolla’s business improvement district broke into interactive small groups to brainstorm ideas in several strategic areas: organization, economic vitality and merchant development, design and ambience, and promotion, marketing and publicity.

“We need to create a better experience for our customers when they come to the Village,” pointed out LJVMA executive director Jodi Rudick. “It’s about heads in beds, and feet on the street.”

Rudick noted everything LJVMA does in strategic planning has to favorably answer the question, “Does this idea bring business to the Village?”

“If we focus on that – we’ll be successful,” Rudick said.

On Jan. 9, LJVMA president Brett Murphy unveiled the final 2019 Strategic Plan Initiatives list which included:

• Creating a shop local discount program;

• Developing a media kit/rate card;

• Recruit student interns/volunteers;

• Develop an associate member category;

• Develop a parking plan with creative solutions;

• Host education workshops;

• Increase and promote merchant resources on the website;

• Upgrade design amenities (benches, flowers, trash cans, etc.);

• Improve lighting;

• Improve storefronts;

• Promote monthly events;

• Host partnership with third parties;

• Collaborate with other civic groups;

• Write up a marketing plan;

• Correct negative misconceptions about La Jolla.

Current LJVMA president Brett Murphy noted consistency is a prime concern.

“We need to consider feedback we got from the tourism authority in planning great events people will want to come out to,” he said. “We need to be consistent. If we have an event every Friday night, it can’t be pie in the sky. It needs to be consistent, so everybody knows what’s happening.”

Grant Wright of (W)right on Communications noted branding was a key component of promotion.

“Branding is what people say about you when you leave the room,” Wright quipped adding, “If you try to be everything for everybody – you end up being nothing for nobody.”

Wright, who’s PR firm handles destination marketing for places like Yosemite, pointed out it’s important to be selective about what segment of the market is being targeted. He also cautioned that, “A slogan is not a brand.”

“There really is no brand for La Jolla anymore,” Wright contended, adding, “La Jolla needs to refine, define and polish its brand.”

LJVMA vice president Don Parks said there is a need for “removing negative connotations about parking.”

LJVMA board member and hotelier Laurnie Durisoe suggested existing valet parking could be built upon to help people realize parking exists throughout the Village in both above- and below-ground lots.

“It’s a true Village now because the merchants are helping themselves and getting to know their neighbors,” Durisoe noted.

LJVMA board member Robert Mackey suggested reactivating Friday night wine-dine gallery shopping, as well as creating new events.

“We could have wellness events in Scripps Park and other places drawing wellness people into the Village,” Mackey said adding it’s important to work harder to tie Village merchants into existing successful events like the classic-car Concours D’Elegance, the La Jolla Half Marathon and the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival. 

“Local merchants could possibly decorate their windows, stay open later or do other promotions to tie-in to a big event,” Mackey said.

Mackey also recommended reviving summertime Concerts in Scripps Park, a successful live music event previously held on Sundays during the summertime that was previously discontinued due to sponsorship issues.

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