Lunada Market & Deli Is a Modern-day Example of a Time-honored Neighborhood Store

Market value.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink, People
  • Written by
    Amber Klinck
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

Jocelyn Lopez, owner of Lunada Market & Deli in Palos Verdes, greets her customers with such a warm and gracious disposition, it feels as though she’s welcoming you into her home. The market itself is charming and neatly filled with daily staples and beautiful gourmet indulgences. It’s the type of place that makes you want to browse—to intentionally take your time.

You can grab a signature sandwich to go or enjoy it at one of the tables outside. There’s a bustling energy as people pop in and out. The space feels friendly and familiar.

Jocelyn opened her doors in 2017, but the market has existed for more than 70 years. “This was a three-generation family market,” Jocelyn notes. “Then Fresh & Easy took over, and then it went vacant for a while.”

Initially, Jocelyn thought the location would be perfect for a smoothie shop—a safe space where neighborhood kids could congregate and meet their friends. But her plans quickly evolved into something bigger.

“I presented my business plan, and the owner at the time was like, ‘No, you can do more,’” Jocelyn explains. So she started researching—going into as many places and talking to as many people as she could. Then she went home to her husband, Rick, and said, “I think we can do this.”

“You don’t want to go to the big-box store; you want to go to the place where somebody knows your name.”

Jocelyn focused on what was important to her and her family. “We love food,” she says. “We love sharing food with people. I think it’s one of the most beautiful gifts we have. When you share food with someone, you’re creating a bond—and I don’t think of it as anything less.”

Equally important to Jocelyn is community—particularly the Palos Verdes community she calls home. “I’m so lucky to be able to live here,” she says. “We worked so hard to get here. It’s unlike anywhere else.”

By creating a welcoming space—a social hub where people can come together—Jocelyn is giving back to the community she loves. It’s what she always envisioned for her business.

“You don’t want to go to the big-box store; you want to go to the place where somebody knows your name,” she says. “I thought about what I wanted this market to be, and it’s exactly how it’s turning out. People come in, and they hug each other. The kids run up and hug me. And I’m able to teach. I have some of the special-needs kids’ classes come up once a week, and I teach them how to make a rainbow salad.”

Watching her vision become a reality has been a joy for Jocelyn. But it’s been a grind bringing it to fruition. “We’re working around the clock to make it happen. It’s a true mom-and-pop shop,” Jocelyn says. “I open, I close, I work the deli.”

The market is open seven days a week, and as an essential business they’ve remained open throughout the pandemic. “I get chills when I talk about it, but I feel like we realized we’re stronger together, that we’re not alone and that we need each other,” Jocelyn says. “I think we were able to provide a place of comfort and familiarity. People would come into the market and do laps, hoping to run into somebody.”

Before sitting down to share the story of her business, Jocelyn answered a FaceTime call from her 9-year-old son. He was calling to wish her good luck. Rick and their two boys have had her back since day one. “I have this little package of wonderful that supports me and loves me and sees me as who I am,” she says. “They get what I’m trying to do and see the bigger picture.”

“Rooted in community”—that’s written into the Lunada Market & Deli logo. And it’s an ideal that Jocelyn and her team live up to every day. It could be something as small as a friendly greeting from a familiar face or as big as keeping their doors open during a pandemic.