Kicking off a new year and a new column

The Marina Merchants Association (MMA) kicked off 2011 with its first general meeting of on Tuesday, Jan. 11. Several merchants joined at Eastside West to discuss upcoming plans and goals for the year.

A main topic of discussion was the outcome of December 2010’s Sip Snack & Shop event that the MMA put on with support from the Bay Guardian. The feedback was great, with shops like Y&I Clothing and Toss Designs citing increased sales and foot traffic. With all the positive feedback, the MMA has decided to not only continue with a 2011 preholiday Sip Snack & Shop, but to put one on this spring or summer as well.

Liz Brusca, who spearheaded the event, was appointed as vice president of the MMA, and with her on the board, the MMA plans to organize more events and socials to help increase networking and business in the community.

At the association meeting, it was also emphasized that more volunteers are needed to get involved and chair various events. For example, Chestnuts on Chestnut was chaired by Stephanie Lo Duca from We Olive, and without her help, that family-friendly event would have been difficult to pull off. More participation is needed so we can improve our neighborhood as a group.

Mark Farrell, the newly elected supervisor for District 2, has also agreed to attend MMA general meetings regularly. His presence at the meetings will be something to look forward to. The MMA also plans to bring in experts as guest speakers at the meetings to talk about helpful business topics, such as how to build a social media campaign, marketing, merchandising, and more to provide useful information for businesses.

This month’s business book suggestion, courtesy of Rich Ciccotelli from Books, Inc.: Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuck. Gary gives you sound advice on how to turn your passion into a viable business using the social media tools that helped him turn his father’s New Jersey wine business into a multimillion dollar force. Whether you run your own business now or are thinking of making the leap, Crush It! is a valuable resource that will help you get your footing in the important world of Web 2.0.

January’s celebrity sightings in the Marina: Lo Bosworth, from MTV reality television shows Laguna Beach and The Hills did a book signing at Books, Inc. Afterward, she had dinner and hung out in the neighborhood. Other sightings include Mike Rowe and Nancy Pelosi on Chestnut Street.

Alex Feldman is the president of the Marina Merchants Association and CEO of S.F. Optics. Learn more about the Marina Merchants Association at or