Mom and Pop Business with Long Standing in Los Angeles

 In Featured Stories

Enjoy these 10 Los Angeles mom and pop business locations!

Founded in 1781, Los Angeles derives from Spanish, and it means “The Angels.” So its no surprise that it’s often referred to as the “City of Angels.”

And despite the fact that the city is primarily known for being the center of the nation’s film and television industry. LA’s mom and pop small businesses have also been a driving force in keeping the city’s economy humming. The many unique stores, restaurants and other establishments speak to the style of LA, and have for years.

Here are some of the oldest, most notable mom and pop establishments in operation in Los Angeles.

1. Canterbury Records

Photo Credit: lamag.com

Even in this digital era, Canterbury Records in Pasadena continues to attract a clientele looking for records, CDs and more. Open since 1956, the store is a fixture in LA and carries albums in virtually every music style you can imagine. Leonard Gordon started this small business, and his four children continue to own and operate it to this day.

2. Corrigan’s Steakhouse

Tom Corrigan above with his famous black Stetson. Photo Credit: Facebook/Corrigan’s Steakhouse CA

Visitors to Corrigan’s Steakhouse can enjoy beef, seafood, pasta and more while enjoying the restaurant’s collection of memorabilia from Western movies. Much of the memorabilia comes from Ray Corrigan, who starred in many Westerns produced during the twentieth century in Hollywood and who operated Corriganville, a popular tourist destination during the 1950s.

Ray’s son, Tom Corrigan, opened this restaurant in 1982, and he continues to run it. In fact, Tom is frequently seen in the dining room, wearing a black Stetson and moving from table to table chatting with the restaurant’s patrons.

3. Distant Lands

Photo Credit: lamag.com

Lovers of all things travel-related will want to check out Distant Lands, which has been in operation since 1989. Originally just a bookstore specializing in travel-related books, Distant Lands has expanded into a full-scale travel service operation.

Today at Distant Lands, in addition to finding books about your favorite destination, you can also get travel gear and even plan a trip through the company’s travel agency. Adrian Kalvinskas opened the store nearly 30 years ago, and today he continues to manage the operation. His wife and his mother also help run the shop and its various services.

4. Dr. Strange Records

Photo Credit: Pinterest/Dr. Strange Records

Open since 1997, Dr. Strange Records is one of the newest and more unusual mom and pop businesses on our list. This store specializes in punk rock music and related accessories and memorabilia. Shoppers can choose from a wide variety of books, videos, DVDs, stickers, posters, shoes, clothing and more! All of which are centered around the punk rock theme.

The store’s founder and current owner—Bill Strange—has even started a record label in order to produce and distribute new punk rock albums.

5. Fugetsu-Do Confectioners

Owner Brian Kito above with other staff working on his famous confection. Photo Credit: candyatlas.com

Since 1903, Fugetsu-Do Confectioners has been meeting the demand for Japanese confections in the Los Angeles area. Located in Little Tokyo, this sweets shop specializes in mochi, which are small rice cakes made with a sweet type of rice and can be eaten with a variety of different condiments.

Since 1980, the shop has been run by Brian Kito the grandson of the original founder and owner. The shop sells traditional mochi as well as non-traditional, which includes ingredients such as peanut butter.

6. Iliad Bookshop

Photo Credit: iliadbooks.com

Dan Weinstein comes from a family that has owned and operated many independent bookstores, so it was natural for him to open a book shop of his own in 1987.

Since then, the Iliad Bookshop has offered one of the most impressive selections of new and used books in LA. Weinstein continues to own and run the bookstore today, and you can find just about any title you are looking for in the store’s vast inventory.

7. Jay Bee’s Bar-B-Q

Photo Credit: Yelp/Jay Bee’s Bar-B-Q

Known throughout LA for its Memphis-style BBQ, Jay Bee’s Bar-B-Q has been serving customers since 1984. Originally started by Jim Neely, the restaurant today is owned and operated by Jim’s sister who is continuing the family tradition.

People come to this mom and pop business for the food, not the ambiance, as the restaurant is little more than a few plastic tables and a serving window. But the BBQ is so good that diners keep on returning month after month, year after year.

8. Kip’s Toyland

Members of the Kipper family from left to right. Don, Lily, Gertrude and Irvin “Kip” Kipper. Photo Credit: The Original Farmers Market

Kip’s Toyland has been open in the LA Farmer’s Market since 1945. It continues to offer a number of different toys for boys and girls. This family-owned-and-operated store is perhaps the oldest toy store still in operation in Los Angeles.

Irvin Kipper, who opened the store in 1945, continued to serve customers until his death in 2016, and his family continues to operate the shop. Three generations of Kippers, in fact, have worked there, and the store continues on as one of the most popular shopping destinations for tourists and residents alike.

9. The Musso & Frank Grill

Photo Credit: Facebook/musso and frank grill

Opened in Hollywood in 1919, The Musso & Frank Grill has offered the same basic menu for nearly 100 years. Original owners Frank Toulet and Joseph Musso sold the restaurant in 1927 to Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso. Both of them had recently immigrated to the U.S. from Italy.

Mosso’s family continues to run the restaurant to this day. During it’s early history, Musso’s Back Room frequently saw visits from actors such as Jimmy Stewart and Charlie Chaplin as well as authors such as T.S. Elliot, John Steinbeck and Aldous Huxley. Today, the restaurant still gets its share of famous visitors, but it’s also a favorite haunt for those who don’t have starring roles on the silver screen.

10. Styles Ville Barber Shop

Owner Greg Faucett cuts Louis Pepe’s hair at the Pacoima shop. Photo Credit: Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG

Stop by the Pacoima neighborhood in LA and you can visit one of the oldest African American-owned businesses in Los Angeles. Opened in June 1958 by Freddie Carter, Styles Ville Barber Shop is today run by Carter’s grandson Greg. Although the surrounding neighborhood has changed a lot since Styles Ville first opened. Men continue to flock to this mom and pop business to receive an outstanding haircut.

Check out even more mom and pop small businesses in New York, Chicago and Dallas!

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