Looking Back On 2020 And Looking Forward to 2021

Blog Post - December 29, 2020

Category: What's New

The Carlsbad Village Association (CVA) staff and volunteer board of directors truly thought that 2020 was going to be an amazing year for Carlsbad Village. Well, it was most definitely an amazing year, but not for the reasons we were expecting. CVA started the year energetic and quickly had appointments booked for its third annual Heart of Carlsbad Village Blood Drive, hosted in partnership with Engel & Volkers. We were anticipating our upcoming Spring Shop Hop, the much-anticipated State Street Drainage Project, a new Mother's Day event, our new June date for the 22nd annual Art in the Village (moved from August), and were even picking out movie titles for our Flicks at the Fountain outdoor movie series. We had the first six months planned. Then Covid-19 hit in March and just one week after the grand reopening of the Village Faire Shopping Center courtyard, we were facing our first stay-at-home order. 

CVA quickly pivoted, like everyone else, and began an unprecedented collaboration with the City of Carlsbad and the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce on a joint communication program to help educate and support the hundreds of small businesses we collectively serve. We became semi-experts on PPP and EIDL loans, learned how to communicate through Zoom, and hunkered down like everyone else. As a fellow small business, CVA also had to cut staff, eliminate hours, and cancel our events and plans for 2020.

We turned our focus to social media to keep the businesses and downtown Carlsbad front of mind for the survival of Carlsbad Village. We hosted numerous Instagram contests and gave away hundreds of dollars in gift cards to restaurants and retailers. We helped businesses apply for and receive loans and grants to help them stay afloat. We worked with the city on temporary outdoor dining permits and curb cafes, the $5 million business recovery program including the $4.4 million small business loan program, and Gift Carlsbad. In short order, we learned new ways to support the businesses downtown.

Despite the difficulties, the past year has also provided some silver linings. Working so closely with the City and the Chamber of Commerce has been one of those silver linings. Hearing from businesses that they received grants from the County in large part to our insistence that they apply and assistance in filling out paperwork correctly, was another. And seeing so many Carlsbad Village businesses still open for business despite the unfathomably difficult modifications they've had to adopt and hard decisions they've had to make, is by far the brightest silver lining.

Despite the unparalleled restrictions and a 7-week shut down, CVA was finally able to resume operating it's certified organic Farmers' Market every Wednesday and provide healthy, essential foods in a safe, outdoor environment, without issue. The number of volunteer hours that have gone into making this possible, is also unprecedented. For the past nine months, the Farmers' Market has been a weekly source of inspiration for CVA and so many others.

Alongside our Instagram contests, National Farmers' Market Week giveaways, and 26th Anniversary celebration for our Farmers' Market, we also hosted a Village-wide Treasure Hunt with $1,000 worth of gift cards given away by participating downtown businesses. In early November CVA piloted a temporary art activation project with its sponsor, First Team Real Estate, and with the support of the City of Carlsbad Cultural Arts Office, and was able to add some fall inspiration to the windows of over 30 businesses that were then changed to a holiday motif just after Thanksgiving. In December, just 24 hours before the most recent stay at home order went into effect, we were able to host our 4th annual Makers Market, an outdoor hand crafted artisan showcase, on the campus of St Michael's Episcopal Church to the benefit of 35 local artists and our local business community. 

The gratitude CVA has for the public's ongoing commitment to support the small, independent businesses in downtown Carlsbad cannot be measured. It is because of your support that these solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and family-owned and operated independent businesses are still with us today. We hope that you are looking forward to 2021 as much as we are and that your commitment of support will continue into the new year as we all move forward towards even brighter times.