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Chris Aitken

By Chris Aitken

The San Clemente Downtown Business Association (SCDBA) is focused like never before on finding creative ways to assist our local businesses as the effects of the pandemic continue to cause a difficult business environment.

We are happy to report that, in partnership with the city of San Clemente and the Chamber of Commerce, the SCBDA has taken leadership in various measures in the past 60 days, including the extension of the open-air dining concept throughout the city to the end of June 2021thanks to a recent city council vote.

The widely popular open-air dining program has enabled local restaurants to keep their doors open through this very challenging time.

We are encouraged that retail and service businesses have expressed a benefit from foot traffic, as the popular open-air dining experience has drawn so many residents and visitors. As such, there is interest in expanding open-air dining concepts to a more permanent basis for the benefit of all business sectors.

“Support local” will be more important than ever for the city of San Clemente and its businesses as we enter the fall and winter seasons—typically the hardest financially for our downtown area.

To bolster business during these slower months, the SCDBA is working with the city to advance ideas meant to enhance the downtown experience. These include:

  • The “Promenade on Del Mar” will be a Sunday street closure on Avenida Del Mar—an idea that was in its final development stages prior to the recent pullback. The Promenade on Del Mar could be implemented in late October, assuming it is safe to do so and is consistent with California’s COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Improving the ambience of our downtown area by working with the city to light the popular white tree lights along Avenida Del Mar (typically experienced from Thanksgiving to early January) as early as October. The SCDBA continues to collaborate with the city on other concepts designed to improve the downtown experience for our residents and visitors.

The SCDBA is focused on developing creative ideas that enhance the downtown experience and address the economic challenges our businesses face, and we do want to hear from you.

Your input helps us prioritize what actions to pursue with the city. In that effort, we will be sending a survey to our local businesses to get feedback on what they believe is needed as we approach the colder months.

For the most recent updates on Open San Clemente (open-air dining) and The Promenade on Del Mar, please visit our dedicated pages at If you would like to express your opinion or provide feedback, we welcome you to email us at

Thank you for keeping our downtown vibrant by shopping locally and get ready for Shop Small Saturday happening Nov. 28. Stay up to date—and be part of the action—by becoming an SCDBA member or subscribing to our weekly electronic newsletter at

Donations are also greatly appreciated. This year has been a challenge for us all, but the road ahead is bright, and with your continued support, we can ensure that our “Spanish Village by the Sea” shines brightly for years to come.

The SCDBA is a nonprofit committed to the beautification of your downtown and the support of the San Clemente business community. Thank you again for your support.

Chris Aitken is the Chairman of the Board of the San Clemente Downtown Business Association. Chris is also involved with two businesses in the downtown area, including being the co-owner of H.H. Cotton’s restaurant and a partner of the personal injury law firm Aitken Aitken Cohn.

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comments (1)

  • I will support patio lights strung from building to building the length of del mar up high so trucks don’t hit them and some fire pits or tiki torch stuff PCH sheet metal might help and I’m a ace electrician who can donate some time ?

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