New district promotes Pearl Street area shops

Laguna Beach shops between Bluebird Canyon Drive and Diamond Street have banded together to form the new business area dubbed the Pearl Street District — and they're planning a party.

The 35 businesses that are part of the new district formed the group as a way to promote their businesses and cut down on advertising costs.

"The businesses wanted to have a way to let people know about them and what they had to offer," Kym Sawtelle, who assists Josephine Brooks of Spa Josephine, wrote in an email.

The new Pearl Street District will join two other unofficial Laguna Beach business districts; the Hip District and the Sleepy Hollow District.

"I think it's good for business," said Kristine Thalman, executive director of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. "The whole concept behind this is really just for marketing and promotion."

Maintaining an advertising and marketing budget is difficult for small businesses so "they have to get creative," Thalman said.

"We don't get the foot traffic like the stores in downtown do," Sawtelle said. "So getting our businesses out there is paramount and usually very expensive in terms of advertising."

Thalman said a survey conducted a few years ago showed that advertising separate districts in the city is more beneficial than advertising the city as a whole.

The businesses plan to introduce the district with the Pearl Street District's Holiday Celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Businesses will offer food, beverages, carolers, promotional gift cards and coupons. Each business will have candles lit in their display windows as well as donation boxes for victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.

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