A New Era for Rancho Bernardo Business Association Begins with May 3 Blender

The Rancho Bernardo Business Association will welcome its first blender in more than two years next month – another sign of things getting back to normal since the pandemic began.

The gathering from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 will be at Unicorn Jewelry in The Plaza. Those who were members before the pandemic can attend for free. Non-members will pay $25.

“We act like all the old members are still relevant,” said RBBA board member Larry Herring, a chiropractor at RB. “For the first two events, we’re not going to be strict about membership renewal dates. It’s more important to rejuvenate the group and bring people in.

“I know many who have had life changes,” Herring added. “They have retired, sold their business or are traveling now.”

RBBA board member Bob Davie said the mixer is the first activity the business-focused organization will resume as it seeks to recruit new leaders who will be responsible for deciding how it goes from the front.

“We are recalibrating, rethinking our vision and our mission,” Davie said.

Many of the RBBA founders who formed the group to fill a void in the business world have now died, Davie said, like his father-in-law Bob Wells, or moved on, like Larry McIntyre. Both had been business and community leaders for decades.

“Rancho Bernardo is a unique community,” Davie said. “There are a lot of old guards who are now dead or have moved on, but the community is still a special place.”

The group was founded in 2006 after the Rancho Bernardo Chamber of Commerce became part of a regional organization, Davie said. The membership of the RBBA – often between 150 and 175 – consisted of about two-thirds business owners or managers and one-third residents wishing to participate in the group’s social activities.

“It takes a village of people willing to give their time and skills to make it happen,” Davie said.

He recalled many community events created or run by the RBBA, including the Savor RB food tasting event which featured area restaurants, the RB Honorary Mayor fundraising contest, a Lunch and Learn series for the members and the Rubber Ducky race named in memory of Wells.

Proceeds from the fundraisers have not only benefited the RBBA but also other groups such as the Miss RB Scholarship Pageant, RB Community Foundation, Spirit of the Fourth, RB Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol, Poway Center for the Performing Arts, PowPAC and Rancho Bernardo Historical Society.

“The original people were 100% retired,” Davie said. “They had time to devote to planning. But I have a business (residential property management) with five employees, so I don’t have 40 hours a week. We need people who have the heart for something and who also have the time.

Davie said realizing that it takes a lot – not just a handful of dedicated volunteers – to run events might be one of the reasons the RBBA founders wrote in the board’s bylaws that there needs to be a minimum of nine active members. Davie, who has been on the board since 2012, said he remembers there being 15 to 17 most years.

But then the pandemic hit, the RBBA couldn’t come together, and people’s priorities changed. Some have seen their businesses grow, while others have struggled to survive. Many have decided to retire or move in the past two years.

The combination of factors means that there are only seven members left on the board – Davie, Larry Herring, Gigi Brintwood, Myrna Estremera, John Tovey, Taylor Calvert and Bernard Mougel. They need at least two more, but ideally want several to join their ranks.

“Do we have big grand plans? No,” Davie said. “But we want to maintain that sense of community.”

He said the council could decide to bring back some of the long-running events or could start new traditions. Everything is possible.

RBBA corporate memberships cost $225 per year, while individuals join for $150 per year. Before the pandemic, members received free entry to events such as Monthly Mixers, Savor RB and Lunch and Learn sessions.

To attend the May 3 mix, people must register at rbbaconnect.com.

Those interested in information about RBBA memberships and possibly joining the board of directors can contact Davie at 858-229-9051 or [email protected]

Andrew B. Reiter