Timing is everything in business as in life.
In the case of the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, the momentum generated by its well-attended 10th anniversary bash on Oct. 18 and open house on Oct. 20 came to a sudden halt when fires began to rage Oct. 21 throughout much of San Diego County.
Although Solana Beach residents evacuated the area, on Oct. 23 they were allowed to return to their homes and businesses, which were, at least structurally, none the worse for wear. But will this brief hiatus likely impact the bottom line?
“I don’t think we will take a big hit,” said Stephen Hersh, president and chief executive officer of Timeless Furnishings & Patio. “I believe, with the holidays coming, San Diego will carry on with spending and preparing their homes for the holidays, especially now.”
Recalling the recent anniversary celebrations, Hersh observed that, “It was exciting to see the street like that , like something out of L.A. and Miami. There was a band every few hundred yards, wine and cookies and cheeses in the stores. It was great to see the whole street pull together like that.”
Sean MacLeod, who helped spark the development of the design district, also believes it will get back its momentum after the fires.
“There was lots of ash and soot, and everything outside is very dirty,” he said. “You had three days when the street was effectively closed down, because everyone was concerned about losing homes. But, I suspect that we will rebound quickly.”
Christy Shikiya, designer and sales representative for Muttropolis, a high-end boutique for doted-on dogs and catered-to cats, expects to feel the bite in the short term. Although Solana Beach itself was spared from the flames, some of her upscale clientele , such as those from Rancho Santa Fe , weren’t as lucky, she observed.
“People are buying necessities, not luxury items, so we might take a hit this week,” said Shikiya.
But she too is optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.
“I’ve been with the company for two and a half years, and I’ve lived through some holiday seasons,” she said. “They are getting better and better, and I think that this will be a good holiday season.”
Solana Beach-based Designcorp, which operates an exclusive retail store, as well as a commercial design service for businesses, doesn’t rely as much on the foot traffic on the avenue. For Chris Jordan, company president, diversity has been key.
In addition to her retail and corporate business, Jordan has, for the last year and a half, carried the DIRTT (“Doing It Right This Time”) line , high-end, eye-appealing and portable wall panels manufactured by a company out of Calgary, Canada.
During the first quarter of next year, Jordan plans to roll out a line of tables that she will be designing for both commercial and residential markets.
She said she anticipates that her sales revenue could fall from 10 percent to 25 percent due to the brief shutdown during the fires.
“It was sad for the whole street,” she said. “We had just had the anniversary, with a big kickoff, and there was a lot of business. We had all spent money on advertising, parties, food.”