San Elijo Hills Buy Local and Demand Quality
San Elijo Hills Buy Local and Demand Quality (wrriten in 2013)
Our local San Elijo Hills neighborhood is one of the building blocks of a more sustainable world. Shop where you live. Support local artisans. Do at least one thing to connect with your neighborhood merchants and, in doing so, you will build a stronger community with great merchants. Sounds like a plan? Yes it does.
I’m sure most of our readers read the UT article that implied some blame on San Elijo Hills (SEH) for the rumored closing of Lowe’s in San Marcos. We don’t think the blame should be placed on SEH, but rather on the housing boom and bust. But we feel this is a healthy discussion for San Elijo Hills to ponder. Are we supporting our local merchants? We should shop at San Marcos Costco rather than the Carlsbad location to keep the sales tax revenue local.
Do we think the city of San Marcos has been remiss in over “Big Boxing” San Marcos and not feeding a new breed of artisan soul in San Marcos? We see a trend in this county of quality hip goods and services produced with care and local support, mico brews, artisan baked goods, bikes and boards all manufactured in the USA. Hey, even Apple is onshoring some manufacturing.
As publishers of San Elijo Life we sense and read a lot of angst about our SEH Towncenter. We laugh and think back to the excitement we had when the Chevron opened and we could get milk at the gas station mart. In this last couple of years we have added Relm, The Hills Family Dentistry and recently both Chase and Pacific Preschool and Kindergarten. That is real progress from just the café and gas station.
We talk to some folks who have never shopped in the towncenter and choose to shop only in San Marcos or on the coast. We also hear from others who would like to see a Subway and others who call out for a health food store. Look at The Village in Rancho Santa Fe, where merchants have never really cashed in on the daily trips passing through and high rent for quality construction has made it hard for The Village to support anything but banks, brokers and yah one famous restaurant.
Some businesses have thrived in San Elijo Hills and some are anemic and yearn for more daily trips as originally forecast. Not sure SEH locals are looking for more traffic. Some of the SEH merchants are expensive with poor service or value. We need ovens in SEH not toaster ovens! We all need to shop where we live and please tell the merchants how they can do better. Do at least one thing to connect San Elijo Hills and, in doing so, connect with San Marcos and North County. By our connecting San Elijo to San Marcos, others will think of us as a place to stop for quality service and goods.
Any discussion on brick and mortar must consider “The Amazon effect”. Good service and quality save trips to a big box. We sure have some of the best UPS drivers here in SEH. How would a local entrepreneur combat the Amazon effect: Start a business that is based on quality design and service and let Amazon deliver such commodities as a new HP printer. The Lost Abbey, King’s Paddle Sports, Stumblefoot Brewing, Cowan Bikes are the merchants and manufactures of the future, and some of these will pull shoppers from all over San Diego County and even the world. Big box and premium fast food are going to contract in the next recession; we are burnt out on premium fast food and big box stores. We don’t need four Five Guy’s in North County and another Lowe’s in Carlsbad to replace the one “maybe” closing in San Marcos.
We spend time thinking about what type of restaurant would work in SEH, a restaurant of quality and coastal charm. We eat at Beach Fire Bar & Grill the perfect restaurant in San Clemente and enjoyed the eclectic coastal art on the walls, the warm fireplace, bar and quality food; and we thought hmm we would drive to San Clemente just to have this experience again. Would people drive from Carlsbad, Rancho Santa Fe and La Costa to have a quality dining experience like this in SEH? This San Clemente restaurant has a 90’s dated logo and is not polished but it works and the service is solid. Sadly two other expansion locations they tried in Talega and Ledera Ranch planned communities have failed. Talega is extremely similar to SEH. Thus we need small town business operators who will create a buzz and soul without grand expectations at the start.
We look at the plans for the new La Costa Town Square and are disappointed that the nice open space mesa where we have taken family dog walks, mountain bike rides and played with our RC cars would be another grocery store and pharmacy and we would guess yet another Chipotle. We don’t need another Chipotle in this area!
We have always enjoyed driving through neighboring Elfin Forest and recently we were sad to see the torn down chicken ranch and the gentrification of slopes with chain link fences to keep rocks off the road. The funky shacks in the s-turn and even a few rocks in the road made this a fun drive as you drifted east away from our groomed community. Sadly as we have more building and retail closing in on us some of the charm we had just outside our doors will fade. We realize the Elfin Forest residents must have felt somewhat the same way when SEH was built.
Do we sound conflicted? We are. But we would like to see quality-smart small town operators because we are a small town here in San Elijo Hills. Let’s work together to make that happen. Please share your ideas and opinions.