Merchant group is hopeful


Businesses taking steps to improve

It seems in Del Mar, when one door closes another door opens. While some businesses have closed this year, new ones have quickly sprung up in their place.

“Del Mar Village is healthy and staying vibrant during this tough economy,” said Jen Grove, executive director of the Del Mar Village Association. “Store closures have been minimal, and store openings have been predominant.”

Grove said business owners are investing in the city by improving their spaces and adding features such as sidewalk cafes.

She said the Del Mar Village Association has done its part to bring people downtown to discover local shops and eateries with events such as the Taste and Art Stroll this month. The next big event will be the upcoming Holiday Wonderland on Dec. 6, kicking off the holiday season.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we continue to stay strong this next fiscal year,” Grove said.

There are still some empty storefronts, where Medici closed in Del Mar Plaza, a spot next to Salon J and where Lululemon closed. But new or re-imagined businesses have quickly come to town.

“Del Mar, in terms of locations, is such a sought-after venue,” Grove said. “There’s only so many street frontages and they are swept up pretty quickly.”

Grove said several long-standing restaurants and shops have changed hands — there are new owners at Zel’s, Java Kai coffee shop became Rumi Cafe, J’s Japanese is now Shimbashi Izakaya, Palm Tree Yoga is now Asana Yoga and Cafe Secret also has new owners.

Annmarie D’Ercole Jewelry on 15th Street has also opened up a second branch called La D’Ercole across the street.

In the Del Mar Plaza, two new boutiques have opened, Saratoga Saddlery and Southern Cross. Saratoga offers equestrian-inspired attire such as boots, hats, belts and clothing in both rugged Western style and the more romantics English Country look.

Southern Cross has clothing for women and children, home accessories and furniture at its new home next to Harvest Ranch on the middle level.

The hot corner appears to be between 10th and 11th Streets, where there are three new businesses taking the place of shops that shuttered this year. New in town are Seaside Yogurt, Dream Wellness and Belloccio.

Now open, Seaside Yogurt offers self-serve yogurt (the pomegranate and cookies and cream flavors have been a hit with locals) and Dream Wellness next door will offer chiropractic services, massage, meal delivery, fitness and cooking classes.

Belloccio has been open for two months, with a staff of Del Mar locals.

Belloccio aims to be a “women’s wonderland,” manager Jennifer Young said. The store offers looks for a casual walk to the beach with comfy tees and pants or a night out with sparkly statement dresses. Clothing lines come from New York, Italy, Israel and they have handmade sweaters coming in from Peru.

“We’re here to support Del Mar business — we couldn’t be anywhere else than the heart of Del Mar,” said owner Eve Faucett.

“Seeing all the shops closing down was really sad,” said Young, who grew up in Del Mar. “We want to keep this little town alive, keep it going.”

Belloccio is Faucett’s second business; she used to import marble and granite, hence the shiny new floors in the shop.

“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Faucett said.

Young stresses that the prices are affordable, “We don’t have the ‘ouch factor’ that many boutiques have,” she said.

In addition to clothing and jewelry — the crochet metal necklaces and belts by Stelios are a highlight — Belloccio also has a hair salon, makeup application by makeup artist Monica Flores, spray tanning, massage and acupuncture by Dr. Sang You.

Village going pink in November

The Breast Cancer 3-Day walk launches every year from the Del Mar Fairgrounds, passing through Del Mar Village on their first few miles. This year, Del Mar will be an official cheering station.

“We’re going to paint the town pink,” said Jen Grove, executive director of the Del Mar Village Association.

Shops and restaurants will be encouraged to dress up their storefronts in pink and Grove hopes to get a lot of people out on the streets to root for the walkers from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. that day.