Refreshed Hermosa Beach Green Store gets a second life
The iconic Green Store on the corner of 22nd Street and Hermosa Avenue opened its doors with a completely new interior last week after almost three months of construction.
Reports circulated in mid-July that the local mini mart that has fed surfers and pier rats for over eight decades would be closing at the end of August and that the current owners were leaving because of rent increase. The property’s owner Nancy Comaford denied the rumors, adding that there would be new owners, but the Green Store would be staying.
The grocery store – which has been a staple shop for Hermosa Beach residents since the 1920s – was redesigned by Culver City-based owners of Jackson’s Market, Tony Istwani and Nick Conner.
“What we wanted to do ideally was preserve the name, look and intent of the shop,” said Conner. “We wanted to pay respect to place in the community that people have grown up with and preserve what they love, but at the same time make it more functional. When we saw the Green Store, we just couldn’t resist.
The previous shop was operated by Yong and Ok Ko along with their daughter Anna. They had been in business for 32 years, but business had been slow for the past three years and the family decided it was time to move on to different ventures.
“I think the new design is great,” local Stacey Fishman said. “There was definitely a need for it… It’s really cool that they kept the local history, it really feels like a good neighborhood place.”
The new owners added a patio and made the shop more open and light with an additional double door leading out to the new patio. A deli featuring Boar’s Head meat and a new coffee bar anchors the store, while high quality treats are for sale alongside local market staples like cigarettes and Pepto Bismol.
“By filling it with nice wooden cabinets we were able to preserve the old feel,” said Conner. “We’re excited to bring sandwiches into this neighborhood. I think we do a really good job, and people are starting to find out that we have some tasty food too.”
The shop quietly opened their doors last Wednesday. Since officially opening, locals have stopped in to check out the new design as well as the fresh products.
“People are curious and seem to be relived to find out there’s still going to be a Green Store here,” said Conner. “They’ve been really supportive. We’ve hopefully done what they hoped would happen – preserved it and cleaned it up.”
Locals Miles Kluth, 16, and Rhett Rudnicki, 16, dashed into the shop on Monday afternoon. Rudnickie, who plays volleyball on 22nd Street frequently, wanted to show his friend what he said was the new and improved Green Store.
“It’s spectacular,” Rudnicki said. “The old one was not clean, and dirty, old and dark.”
Conner said that while getting ready to open they had to start from scratch and completely redo the 99-year-old building.
“We basically had to gut it and start fresh,” Conner said. “We installed new floors and walls and plumbing and electrical, adding in a lot more than there was before because we’re going to be preparing food. We had to upgrade the electrical because we have more equipment. Once we got into it we had no choice but to start fresh, but it’s now ready for the next 100 years.”
Zander Levy, 12, and Carla Buck have been to the shop multiple times since it opened to buy sandwiches.
“I’m glad they didn’t change the name,” said Buck. “You can still get ice, and there are nice products. My husband even bought fresh spinach. They have everything they used to have but much more, and better quality.”
Conner said that he and his partner are thrilled to open a market in Hermosa Beach.
“I’ve come to discover that a lot of people love the store and love that they’ve been able to come here all their life and it’s still there,” said Conner. “They really care about what’s happening. Throughout the whole process we’ve been meeting neighbors and hearing their positive feedback and encouragement. That’s really what makes the hard work worthwhile.” ER