“I love the pace, the people, the fact that it’s down by the beach,” says Lindsay Stockel, a Granny’s Grocery employee. “[Betty and Voc] are so lucky to have such a great group of people that will not only come in for their coffee but stay sometimes for an hour and hang out. They are amazing people to work for.”
Granny’s Grocery & Deli is the epitome of a California mom-and-pop shop. The grocery has been sitting quaintly for 98 years on Monterey Boulevard in Hermosa Beach and has recently switched ownership from the long-standing Lemaster family.
Beth “Betty” and Voc Gregorian could not be a more perfect fit as new owners and are still pinching themselves over their dream come true. The grocery serves coffee at $2 a cup, regulars are in and out all day long, and it looks like nothing has changed since it originally opened in 1924—in a good way.
The road to taking the helm at Granny’s Grocery started about 23 years ago for Betty. While she was in college, she lived down the street and visited as a regular customer. After college, Betty started working at Granny’s during her summers while she was teaching.
It was also during that time that she met Voc, and the rest is history. Betty took extra shifts to pay her apartment rent, and Voc would help her close up shop after every shift.
“I love the pace, the people, the fact that it’s down by the beach.”
When Betty lost her dad, she went to Granny’s to talk to the man who owned it at the time, Andre Klaser. She said, “You always joke about when you win the lottery you’ll give me Granny’s. I just want to know that if and when you’re ready, I could have a chance to buy it.”
It was nine years ago when Betty found out she was first in line to be the next owner. In August 2021, she got the phone call about taking over the shop.
Betty and Voc reopened Granny’s Grocery & Deli in January with an almost seamless transition. The Gregorians were already well-versed in running the shop, though Betty said it was more about “what goes behind a business” that she had to get used to. Fortunately, Voc’s father ran a 1920s diner and later on a market. Since 2002, Voc has owned a spa on Hermosa Avenue and 15th Street.
The owners pride themselves on sourcing local as much as possible and featuring friends’ products—making sure that everything they sell is the right fit for the store. From Mongo Coffee Roasting Co. to Hasi Bread and Toro Loco Salsa, if there’s a South Bay company you’re looking for, odds are you can find it at Granny’s. Betty even wears merchandise from friends and local companies to help support small businesses.
One of the most active parts of Granny’s is its featured deli, with some of the town’s most sought-after sandwiches. The Longboarder is a vegetarian sandwich with optional meat, and while it may be a juxtaposition, it is the most popular sandwich on the menu.
The Gregorians were met with worries from regular customers about changing the menu, but that was not something they even thought about. What they did do is add a sandwich to the menu to honor their Armenian heritage—a vegetarian sandwich called The HYE Five (“hye” translates to “I am Armenian”).
Betty is currently finishing her 25th year of teaching and will soon take on her role at Granny’s full time. Voc is a real estate agent but still manages to work at Granny’s “eight days a week,” according to Betty.
The Gregorians appreciate the support they’ve received so far from the community and look forward to many more years of regular customers becoming family.