Granny’s Grocery, 98, has new owners and a facelift in Hermosa Beach – Daily Breeze

At nearly 100 years old, it was time for Granny’s to get a makeover.

When Beth (“Betty”) and Voc Gregorian took over Granny’s Grocery and Deli, they realized the Hermosa Beach institution just needed a few tweaks.

“It’s always up to Granny,” Betty Gregorian said last week. “It’s still the blood, the sweat, the tears of the previous owners.”

Housed in a small Spanish-style building wedged between houses and apartment buildings on Monterey Boulevard, Granny’s is the only retail establishment for the blocks.

Betty Gregorian started working at Granny’s about 20 years ago, although she was teaching in the Torrance Unified School District when owners Andre and Shirley Klaser needed help.

“I just stepped in and never left,” said Betty Gregorian, who was born in Redondo Beach and raised in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The property has been in Shirley Klaser’s family since 1950 when her grandparents, Helen and Frank Lemaster, bought the store, along with an adjacent property, for $25,000, according to the store’s website. In 1992 Shirley and her husband began running Granny’s.

Last year, the Klasers said they realized it was time someone else took over the business and that Betty was “like family.”

“He’s our baby, we wanted someone who carries on the tradition,” said Andre Klaser.

“We wish him all the best,” added Shirley Klaser, who still owns the property.

Voc Gregorian said they only spent two days sprucing up Granny before reopening on January 3. And, he said, there are a few more upgrades he and Betty want to make before Granny’s transformation is complete.

But, everything else locals have come to love is pretty much the same, Voc said, including its all-day menu. Granny’s is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

“We have people calling at 7:30 at night, ‘Hey, can I have a breakfast sandwich? Sure. First thing in the morning, they want to order a Longboarder which is one of our favorite sandwiches. more popular.”

  • Voc and Betty Gregorian, pictured helping customers Josh Leos and Baylie Gross, are the proud owners of Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924 (photo by Michael Hixon)

  • Voc and Betty Gregorian are the proud new owners of Granny’s Grocery and Deli, which has been a staple of the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924. (photo by Michael Hixon)

  • Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924, has changed ownership. Frank and Helen Lemaster, pictured in the 1950s, ran Granny’s as Lemaster’s Grocery from 1950 to 1970. (photo courtesy of Shirley Klaser)

  • Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924, has changed ownership. Frank and Helen Lemaster, pictured in the 1950s, ran Granny’s as Lemaster’s Grocery from 1950 to 1970. (photo courtesy of Shirley Klaser)

  • Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924, has changed ownership. Shirley and Andrew Klaser, pictured in the 1990s, owned Granny’s until the end of December 2021 before selling to Betty and Voc Gregorian. (photo courtesy of Shirley Klaser)

  • Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924, has changed ownership. (photo by Michael Hixon)

  • Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924, has changed ownership. Frank, pictured in the 1950s, and Helen Lemaster ran Granny’s as Lemaster’s Grocery from 1950 to 1970. (photo courtesy of Shirley Klaser)

  • Voc and Betty Gregorian are the proud new owners of Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple of the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924. (photo by Michael Hixon)

  • Voc and Betty Gregorian, pictured helping customers Josh Leos and Baylie Gross, are the proud owners of Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924 (photo by Michael Hixon)

  • Voc and Betty Gregorian are the proud new owners of Granny’s Grocery & Deli, which has been a staple of the Hermosa Beach neighborhood since it opened as a storefront/home in 1924. (photo by Michael Hixon)

Grandma’s Property History

Decades before it was named Granny’s, the building at 635 Monterey Blvd. was built as a home and storefront in 1924, according to the store’s website.

A ‘British gentleman’ known as Mr Crawshaw operated the store until 1950, when the Lemasters bought the properties, which included the store, the house to the north and the flats behind, in 1950 on a ‘handful hand” for $25,000, according to the website.

Shirley Klaser said she believed Crawshaw built the property and managed it until he sold it. She doesn’t know what the name of the store was when he ran it. When he sold to the Lemasters, Crawshaw moved from the house next door to the downstairs apartment.

The Lemasters ran the store for almost 20 years before retiring in 1970. They lived in the house next door and Frank Lemaster died in 1973, just three years after his retirement. Wife Helen then leased the store to various operators. rental of the store to various owners. , just three years after retiring until their granddaughter took over in 1992.

It was nearly 20 years later that granddaughter Shirley Klaser took over in 1992.

Shirley Klaser named the store Granny’s after Helen Lemaster, who died in 1994.

“It was exciting, scary,” Shirley Klaser said of taking over the store. “We also took over to keep an eye on my grandmother who lived next door at the time.”

Currently, Shirley Klaser still owns the grandmother’s property while her sister owns the house next door, she said.

For years, Betty Gregorian said Andre Klaser would joke that if he won the lotto he’d give her Grandma’s, but the problem was, he’d never played the lotto.

So Betty Gregorian, who was born in Redondo Beach but raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, said, “I just want you to know if you finally decide to sell Granny’s, that I’d like to be on the front line.”

“So last August I got the phone call and we talked about it,” Betty Gregorian said of the Klasers sale. “Even though we knew we were going to say yes, we had to take the time to sort things out.”

Betty Gregorian, after 25 years in teaching, still teaches at Edison Elementary in Torrance. She and Voc decided to take over Granny’s, she didn’t want to leave her director or her students “dry”.

So, Betty teaches until the end of the school year in June, then takes a leave of absence. But, she says, this could be the last semester of her career in education.

“It’s hard to think ahead of not going back to class,” Betty said. “Believe me, it’s going to be an emotional transition.”

Voc Gregorian also knows his way around a local mom-n-pop shop. He grew up in a 1920s restaurant that his parents took over in 1972 in Glendale.

“I grew up cooking from age 7 to 21,” Voc said.

He took on the entrepreneurial spirit of his parents, who also owned a supermarket and delicatessen, when he opened his own bike shops. He is currently a real estate agent.

A new tradition at Granny’s will be selling merchandise, including T-shirts, Voc said.

keep the tradition

Whether it’s a customer who has frequented Granny’s for many years or a customer visiting for the first time, new owners want to carry on the legacy of Granny’s.

Josh Leos, visiting with Baylie Gross, stopped by Granny’s last week. And, although he grew up in South Bay, this was his first time in the store.

Leos said he enjoys supporting local family stores.

“I think it’s good to get to know people who own businesses here,” Leos said. “They have their own experiences and their own stories that they can tell us.”

Brian Perazzolo has been a client of Granny for about 15 years. He currently owns property across from the store, but recently moved to Marina del Rey. He still regularly visits Granny’s since his company Elite Engineering Contractors Inc. has been based in Hermosa Beach since 2008.

Perazzolo said he likes Granny’s because of its “unique sandwiches and good vibes.”

Andre Klaser said Granny’s is a “big part of the community”.

“You can get to know your neighbors really well, you become friends,” Andre said of the experience of owning a local institution. “You are not just someone who makes money, you are ready to be part of the community.”

Betty said Granny needed someone from the community to buy it. She wants to carry on her tradition, whether it’s a stop for a local surfer, an artist, who is one herself, or perhaps a surfboard shaper, near Cypress Avenue.

She said it sounds like a cliché, but she has to pinch herself that Granny’s is “really mine” after spending so many years working there.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” she said.

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