Big changes happening in downtown La Jolla

Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 21:14:28-04

Harry Rudolph says businesses like his are becoming a rare breed.

"There's a few of the old dinosaurs left, we're one of them,” he said.   

Harry and his brother John are the second generation owners of Harry’s Coffee Shop, opened by their father in 1960.

The business is a La Jolla icon. Harry says there aren't many left.

"La Jolla has aged, and I think with it the population, some of the businesses and unfortunately the properties have gone with them,” he said.

Even Harry's has been approached by people looking to buy the property, but it’s not for sale. That’s unlike some places in La Jolla, which have changed hands pretty recently.

There's lots of construction going on in downtown these days. Longtime businesses are being replaced.  

Jonathan's Market is being rebuilt into an upscale movie theater.

The former top of the Cove restaurant will reopen as Duke’s La Jolla in October.

And in two weeks, Burns Drugs, which closed after 60 years, will be auctioned off for redevelopment. Starting bid? $3.5 million.

Carol Olten of the La Jolla Historical Society says when La Jolla lost many of its anchor stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, its mom and pop businesses suffered.

"La Jolla wasn't a shopping destination as it had been in the past,” she said.

Back at Harry’s Coffee Shop, Harry Rudolph says he and his brother John are doing all they can to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs.

"My brother and I carrying the torch and trying to keep this going for as long as we can, and God willing we'll be able to go another 50 years,” he said.

In addition to Harry’s Coffee Shop, some of the longtime La Jolla businesses that remain open are Warwick's bookstore, and Meanley & Son Hardware, all on Girard Avenue.