Nov. 22, 2021

Carlsbad Village: The Heart & Soul of the City with Christine Davis

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Listen to their conversation here!

Recently, Christine Davis, the Executive Director of the Carlsbad Village Association, sat down to talk with Bret Schanzenbach on the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast. Boasting fantastic shops, restaurants, services, and close proximity to the beach, the Village is a favorite for locals and tourists alike!

Christine Davis comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and she is passionate about small businesses. Not only has she worked as a journalist writing about businesses in the local paper, she has also been a business owner in the Village. Her heart for the Village and small businesses led to her involvement in the Village Association. In their conversation, she and Bret talk about what led her to the Village, the resiliency of small business owners during COVID, and the Village’s exciting upcoming events.

In the Business of Business: How Christine Davis Became a Key Figure in the Village

Entrepreneurship is in Christine Davis’ blood. Her grandparents immigrated from Italy and opened a delicatessen in Chicago. “My father grew up knowing that you owned your own business,” she says. “You didn't work for big business. You owned your own.”

Christine originally was on the pre-law track in college, but she switched to journalism and ended up writing the entire business page for Today’s Local News. During this time, she would interview business owners and write about how they turned their passions into their careers.

Soon enough, her husband convinced her to open their own French shoe store in Carlsbad. Although she rejected the idea at first, when they ran their pop-up at the street fair, she enjoyed the experience so much that she changed her mind. They got a warehouse, set up an online presence, and eventually hired employees to run a brick-and-mortar store in the Village, which they owned for a decade.

During this time, Christine became a board member of the Carlsbad Village Association in order to become more involved. She soon became a part-time program manager while she owned her own store. However, running a store, having employees, and working at the association became a lot to manage. So, she sold her store and became the full-time Executive Director for the Village Association where she has been for the past six years.

It Takes a Village: How the Village Energizes the Community

Anyone who comes to the Village can feel the electricity that fills the air. Of course, that’s part of what makes it such a special place in Carlsbad. The area is abuzz with locals and visitors who want to enjoy a trip to the beach, a shopping spree, and a delectable meal—all in a central location. People can visit any number of stores, from family businesses that have been there for years to businesses that are just celebrating their grand opening.

When COVID hit, small businesses were hit very hard. However, those in the Carlsbad community did what they always do and came out to support each other. Due to the restrictions, many restaurants had to pivot with outdoor activations, where restaurants opened up “parklets” or “curb cafes” to serve food outdoors. The city worked to ensure that every small business that applied for outdoor activations could get a space of up to four parking spots in order to set up their outdoor structures.

One of the most heartwarming partnerships amid the pandemic was between Señor Grubby’s and Pure Project, a brewing company. Pure Project, which opened the weekend of the second shutdown, could not stay open unless they also served food, so they partnered with restaurants such as Señor Grubby’s and others. This collaboration benefitted everyone, which speaks to the heart of what the Village—and Carlsbad—is all about.

This continuous partnership amongst those in the Village and throughout the city was recently highlighted at the Taste of Carlsbad Village event. 30 restaurants and 13 sip stop locations participated in the event, which allowed people from all over the city to enjoy the delicious fare that the city has to offer. The next Taste of Carlsbad Village event will be held on October 13th, 2022.

The Village also runs the amazing State Street Farmers’ Market. “It's kind of like a little Parisian outdoor market,” Christine explains. “You can shop, pop down on the street into the market, grab some food, go into a store, and just kind of bounce back and forth.” The Farmers’ Market hosts over 50 vendors and is certified organic. It is held every Wednesday at 2:30pm, rain or shine.

There are also exciting events coming up during the holidays in the Village. In order to stimulate the local economy, the Village participates in Small Business Saturday, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to buy from local small businesses. This year, Small Business Saturday will be on November 27th. According to Christine, it’s like a big party. In fact, the Carlsbad High School Jazz Ensemble will have their live holiday debut. At the event, people will also be handing out Village swag and giving out free gift cards to those who attend. However, people will have to come early, because the swag goes quickly and there will be $3,000 worth of gift cards given away (everyone’s first raffle ticket is free!). 

In addition to the Farmers’ Market and Small Business Saturday, the Village will also hold a special holiday showcase called the Makers Market. There are also 50 vendors at this showcase, who will be selling amazing local and regional handcrafted gifts for kids, adults, and even your dog! This showcase will be at St. Michael's Episcopal Church on December 4th from 9am to 4pm.

For those who are not able to make it to these in-person events, they can also buy gift cards through the Gift Carlsbad program. These gift cards can be used at any of the 88 participating hotels, retail stores, and restaurants. Not only is this a fantastic way to support small businesses, but when you purchase a $40, $75, or $100 gift card, you also receive bonus gift cards worth $10, $25, and $40, respectively. It’s a gift that keeps giving!

To find out more about the exciting things are happening in the Village, click below!

Interview Links

Discover more about the Carlsbad Village Association:

Learn more about events in the Village here:

Contact Christine Davis here:

Follow the Carlsbad Village Association on Twitter:

Connect with the Carlsbad Village Association on Facebook:

Check out the Carlsbad Village Association on Instagram:


Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting here: