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Boulevard News – October 2017

Boulevard News – October 2017

The Boulevard Investor Tour 2.0

With over $200 million in property sales since the last 2014 BLVD Investor Tour, The Boulevard has never been this desirable!  El Cajon Boulevard’s 4-mile historic business corridor is anticipating the delivery of 400+ apartments that include mix-use, market rate, affordable and senior housing.

On Wednesday, October 18th, in partnership with ULI, the El Cajon Boulevard BIA hosted an investor’s tour to welcome two MTS busloads of developers to learn first-hand from elected official and leaders of the community, plans, projects and opportunities for dense, transit oriented development on The Boulevard.  With its overall centrality and alignment to our City’s charming, walkable communities, we explored this hotbed of economic development to highlight its tremendous business activation, forward thinking placemaking activities, notable development projects, and pave the way for the El Cajon Boulevard of the 21st Century.

For more information about The BLVD Investor Tour, please contact Beryl Forman with the El Cajon Boulevard BIA,


The Dojo Cafe



Carlos McCray was an inspired, community change maker from an early age.  He followed his passion and has been working in the field of social work since 2006.  With experience servicing San Diego County, various non-profits and charter schools, he’s found that each institution has their limitations, and began thinking about a well-rounded, long-term model for supporting the community of City Heights.

Most of the students from City Heights that he interacts with would go straight home after school.  According to them, the local parks feel unsafe and they don’t feel that the after school activities are geared towards their interests.  As a response, he imagined the creation of a sustainable community hub where by building trust with local residents, could become a platform for bridging grassroots connections and a place to host community events and direct resources. Not unlike other small business operators who become natural leaders within their community, Carlos’ vision for the Dojo Café, a coffee shop, is designed as platform to achieve these goals.

At a local charter school, Carlos met Nancy and her twin sisters Anna and Diana.  He recognized their potential and empowered them to believe that as local business owners and operators of the Dojo Cafe, that they could make a difference.  In order to gain a greater perspective on this future business, they conducted over 100 one-on-one interviews just like true community organizers.  Carlos also reached out to some long-time friends of his Pete, Tayari and Kristina who shared a passion for supporting community.  Pete brought to the table his love for food with a conscience community based menu. Tayari took the lead in contract work as well as event planning, and Kristina handles the back-end, logistical side of the business.

This dynamo team created a business plan, raised nearly $14,000 from friends, family and community through Indiegogo, an online platform, sought out investors, and then bought themselves a fully functioning vintage trailer café from Oregon.  The only missing link was the location, until they laid their eyes on Fair@44. With similar mission driven goals in mind of creating a gathering space to lift the economic opportunities for City Height’s entrepreneurs, the two initiatives came together seamlessly.  Aside from a few unnecessary permitting set-backs, the Dojo Project is now up and running 6 days a week.  Their caffeinated drinks are tasty and their bold intentions are playing out more and more every day.

The Dojo Cafe – 4979 El Cajon Boulevard

The Boulevard Receives Innovation Award

On October 25, 2017, at Circulate San Diego’s Annual Awards Gala at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, the Innovation Award was granted to the El Cajon Boulevard BIA (Business Improvement Association).  In working to improve El Cajon Boulevard, the Association was recognized for their efforts which have drastically improved the business corridor and the residential communities adjacent to the Boulevard. The Association has worked with local schools, businesses, council members/politicians, and residents to create usable spaces along the corridor on once vacant lots. The BIA was applauded for its vision and passion for the community, which constantly looks for pedestrian and bike-friendly solutions, and advocates for solutions that support the City’s Vision Zero goal.



The Boulevard’s acquisition of temporary land leases at vacant or pre-development stage lots such as PopUp15 and Fair@44 have brought community gathering places and services to an area that desperately needs it. This model could be adopted by other communities, which are setting precedents with the city to make it easier for others to do so in the way of a placemaking permit. Through these efforts, the BIA has brought media attention and new businesses and services to the City Heights area and have engaged with residents of very different socio-economic backgrounds, and have helped adjacent communities find common ground (literally).

Fair@44 – One Year and Counting



On Saturday October 21, Fair@44 International Market & Venue located at 4350 El Cajon Boulevard celebrated one year of operation. With live music, cuisine from different parts of the world and fun child activities, many families dropped in to eat, dance and spend time with their neighbors. Who could imagine that only year ago this space was just another unused vacant lot on El Cajon Boulevard?

Helping to bridge the communities of Kensignton,Talmadge and City Heights, Fair@44 International Market & Venue continues to assist and promote new local businesses. The venue provides business owners a market to test their cuisine or wares, which helps increase economic stability for the owners and their families. New small businesses not only create jobs for workers but enrich the local economy.

Last year, the Fair@44 provided business technical support to ten new businesses with seven completing the vendor requirements and becoming onsite vendors.  Six additional City Heights employment opportunities were generated during the year as well.

This is a collaborative partnership between City Heights Community Development Corporation and El Cajon Boulevard BIA. This project is funded by The California Endowment, The County of San Diego, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Price Charities, and US Bank.

Fair@44 – 4350 El Cajon Boulevard


 Trashy Hour



The Homebrewer & Home Brewing Co (both at 2911 El Cajon Blvd) have been hosting a monthly trash pickup in an effort to keep our sidewalks sexy and safe.
“Trashy Hour” begins at 10am on the last Sunday of the month. Staff members and volunteers split into groups of 3-4 and make there way down the side streets, alleys, and boulevard collecting trash.
They are out for only 20-30 minutes before they return to Home Brewing Co for $3 pints. “public service has never been so thirst quenching,” says owner and volunteer, George Thornton.
There is plenty of work cut out for the team. “Each week every volunteer collects a nearly overflowing bag of trash in just about 20-30 minutes.”
For dates and info visit: The Homebrewer




Salsa, Cumbia and Bachata were a hit all summer long at the Fair@44.  Thanks to our partners at Melomano Entertainment and Dance who remain committed to providing a FREE event that brings together local community members and dance enthusiasts alike, Salsa Sabado will remain as a signature event of Fair@44 year round.

Group Lesson Info:
At 5pm, a 45 minute lesson will be taught by Patrick and Diana, Directors of Melomano Entertainment and Dance. No experience, no partner necessary. Come learn to dance Salsa – FREE!!

The next event is on Saturday, October 28th! This is a FREE event.  Bring your FAMILY, bring your FRIENDS, and Let’s Dance!!

Facebook: fairat44
Instagram: fairat44


Upcoming at Digital Gym 


Media Arts Center/Digital Gym – 2921 El Cajon Boulevard

Isaac Roberts Salon

2020 El Cajon Blvd

I cannot say enough amazing things about this salon. Isaac is amazing and I feel SO LUCKY to have him work on my hair. The guy knows his shit. Like seriously.

His salon is super cute, clean, no frills (my style). Great location (across from Lafayette Hotel, cocktails anyone?) and easy to park in the back lot or neighborhood.  His assistant, Amber, is a GEM. She took extra care during my wash to make sure there was no excess product hanging around in there.  I also bought some Pai Shau products and am obsessed. They have a more masculine smell to them but I really don’t care, as long as it doesn’t smell bad.

I can’t fully express how much I love my hair!!!

Click here for more yelp reviews.