The Village of La Jolla Merchants Association spent much of its December meeting talking about the future — the near future with a merchant holiday window decorating contest, the not-so-distant future with a health and wellness bingo game planned for January, and the long-term future of the organization.
Window decorating contest
The LJVMA has appointed a secret panel of judges who will tour the village between now and Christmas Day, December 25, to view the festive decor of area traders. Judges will select their three favorite windows based on overall holiday spirit, aesthetics and effectiveness in attracting attention.
LJVMA Executive Director Jody Ruddick said the board has held a window decorating contest in the past, but is stepping it up this year.
“We started a while ago [the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020], but we stepped it up during COVID because in the first year people weren’t coming into the stores,” she said. “So this year we have an artist, a gallerist, a former retail executive who specializes in merchandising, and an interior designer who will walk around The Village at their leisure and tell me their top three picks.”
Winners will be announced at a future LJVMA meeting.
Health and Wellness Bingo
Noting that 40 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions — about half of which are health-focused — the board will launch an initiative next month to promote health and wellness businesses by creating a bingo-style board of healthy activities for participants to complete.
So far, 11 local businesses have agreed to participate, Ruddick said this week, and she is looking for more. The board contains 25 squares with activities that include “Take a yoga class” and “Eat a healthy meal with a friend” at participating businesses.
“This is a very exciting project for us… because [health and wellness] is a segment of our community that hasn’t gotten the same amount of love as maybe our restaurants or retailers,” Ruddick said.
While it’s customary for the LJVMA to devote its December meeting to its annual strategic planning session, which provides a blueprint for the board’s initiatives in the coming year, this year the effort was more nuanced to create fewer, more realistic ideas. .
As in the past, the December 13 session featured whiteboards located throughout the room where participants could write ideas within the core categories of Organizational Excellence, Dealer Engagement & Professional Development, Promotions, Arts & Culture/First Friday Art Walks and advertising and social/digital media.
But this year, Ruddick said, only 10 to 15 minutes will be spent on a brainstorming session followed by the groups prioritizing the ideas. “We will then look at the feasibility of these ideas,” she said. “Do we have the resources and the time to do this, or do we have to find another way to do them?”
She said only the top one or two ideas that are considered the most feasible will be included in the long-term plan. Between now and the January meeting, the best ideas will be posted and shared for additional feedback, and the board will vote on whether to adopt and integrate them into the annual plan at the next meeting.
She said so is the board continuing his efforts to attract people who visit local attractions like La Jolla Cove to The Village to shop or dine, and looked for new ideas on how to do that.
Next meeting: The next meeting of the Village of La Jolla Chamber of Commerce is at 4 p.m., Wednesday, January 11, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆