The Valentine Venture is back

Hwy. 101 merchants, past and present, being honored

After a year hiatus, the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society’s popular Valentine Venture program is back at the Belly Up Tavern on Feb. 9.

The luncheon, open to all, features the gastronomical offerings of the Wild Note Cafe and live jazz performed by the Hager Rivera Project.

But good music and food, while essential to the festivities, are not the primary purpose of the Valentine Venture.

The Civic and Historical Society hosts this gathering to honor an important part of the community. In past years, the founders of the Cedros Design District and La Colonia de Eden Gardens have been recognized for pioneering integral parts of Solana Beach.

This year, the past and present pioneers of Highway 101 and the Plaza will be thanked for their contributions to the quality of life here.

“The businesses provide vital services and places to go and gather,” said Ruby Edman, the program chair. “We count on those places to be there, they are a part of who we are.”

A half-hour recognition program will highlight the historic and continuing contributions of 11 iconic businesses or business owners, including the Solana Beach Hotel, Harker Real Estate, the Plaza 101, Eric Murfin’s Garage, Java Depot, Bob’s Barber Shop, the old Plaza pool hall, T’s Cafe, Pizza Port, the Turnball Company and a group of dentists.

Many said this honoring is appropriate as the city moves forward with redevelopment plans for the Plaza and Highway 101 this year.

Since opening his barbershop on North Highway 101 on June 6, 1966, Bob Castro has watched Solana Beach grow around him. He said the development of Lomas Santa Fe and the train station as the biggest changes to the area, but his spot remains an excellent location for business.

“It used to be a little slower pace, but things developed more and it seems like I’ve been busy ever since,” Castro said.

While he hasn’t been around quite as long, Bryan Fuller has still made quite an impact by opening Java Depot 18 years ago.

“This was a great neighborhood beckoning for good coffee and a place to socialize and hang out,” Fuller said. “It’s been a success from the get-go.”

Fuller agreed that the train station gives a tremendous boost to the businesses along 101, and looks forward to further enhancing the commercial district.

Grant Fletcher, who owns the Victorian building in the Plaza, agreed he is excited to help create a more user-friendly and vibrant downtown. But for Fletcher, this is not just about improving his hometown or good business sense, it’s continuing a family tradition.

His grandfather is none other than the original Solana Beach settler, Coronel Ed Fletcher.

“I am grateful to honor the memory of my grandfather and the vision he had for the town and area,” Fletcher said. “Now, we’re taking the final steps in a direction I think he would be pleased with.”

Valentine Venture

  • Mon., Feb. 9, noon - 2 p.m.
  • $28
  • Send check by Feb. 2 payable to SBC&HS P.O. Box 504, Solana Beach, CA 92075, note Valentine Venture
  • Include the name of each person attending. A list of paid participants will be held at the door.
  • For more information, call Ruby Edman at (858) 755-1414.