Minding Our Business: The Power of One


2 col culture karma kraft_MG_9586Some of us, okay, many of us, frequently bemoan the absence of the little things we think are missing around town. We comment on Facebook, tweet, write letters to the editor, or columns, or carry on at city council meetings.

Others look around and decide to fill the gap. One of those people is Lisa Farber.

You may not know the name, but you likely know the face: she is sort of everywhere. With eyes so wide she seems perpetually surprised and a mass of curly hair that belies her age, she wanders Laguna Beach cultivating clients for her one-woman enterprise, “Laguna Beach Times” a free, advertising-based newspaper/newsletter/flyer created to spread the word about Laguna business and entertainment.

Something the Visitors Bureau or the Chamber might have done, but did not. Something the newspapers might have incorporated as an insert, or the town might have offered on their website, but did not. As an aside, there has been talk for years about a town-wide calendar incorporating all events and activities, and some list some, but nothing comprehensive, yet.

Five years ago, Lisa published the Times with the tag line: “Living, Thriving and Spending Locally.” Roughly 3500 copies of the six-page publication is distributed at 125 locations every two weeks and includes a list of happy hours in town, a map of landmarks and parks, horoscopes and tide charts, a bit of editorial plus a whole lot of ads at prices highly competitive to local newspapers.

Lisa is an unlikely media tycoon. A Canadian who meant to be an actress, she found her way to Laguna after a skiing sabbatical in the states. She drifted briefly to Las Vegas to pursue the music business but was drawn back to Laguna, she said, because there is so much going on here. On the subject of Laguna, Lisa sounds like the town greeter, and says that her true calling in life is “to get the word out.”

So, she hit the pavement, and that’s where you will find her still, not only to sustain the Times, but launching the second year of her Laguna Beach Bar and Restaurant Discount Cards. Something else others might have done, and a few retailers like Zinc have their own cards, but Lisa wanted to establish a card with broader appeal that will incentivize locals to stay local. She sold just 400 cards last year and hopes to build over time. The $20 dining card offers a 25% discount on 13 restaurants, from ReMark’s to the Beach House to Dizz’s, and the bar card, which is just getting going, offers a Buy 1 Get 1 for $1 drink offer, currently at Ocean Avenue, Mozambique and Cubana Cigar. Cards can be purchased at participating restaurants or at World Newsstand.

When she isn’t working her business, Lisa gives a weekend entertainment report on KX 93.5 FM, Thursday and Friday mornings, and she might be found at the Cliff at Sunday afternoon Music Matters or the Pearl Street Sessions on the first and third Tuesdays at the Wine Gallery or attending happy hours and events. Perhaps the only time she isn’t promoting the town is at her regular Bikram Yoga class where the heat and tranquility restore her for everything else.


Randy Kraft is a freelance writer who previously covered the city for the Indy and pens the OC BookBlog for www.ocinsite.com. Minding our Business focuses on 

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