For those who fancy themselves Kardashian fans, you probably know Mary Jo Shannon only as “MJ,” the under-the-radar mother to Kris Jenner and grandma to Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie and Rob, who often has blink-and-you’ll-miss-her scenes on the show whenever the family heads south of Calabasas. But Shannon has very much been a mainstay in the lives of La Jolla locals for decades thanks to her high-end children’s boutique Shannon & Co., which she established in 1980 in The Village. “I’ve been here for so long and have gotten to know many people that stop by the shop—La Jolla is my playground and my happy place,” she says of why she’s decided to keep her roots here instead of a few hundred miles north with the rest of the family. “We’re just a mom-and-pop store with very good personal service that keeps people coming back from all over the world again and again, year after year.”
This year, those regulars will be headed one block over from her original storefront to her new 600-square-foot boutique in the recently renovated La Plaza La Jolla shopping center—a Spanish-inspired lifestyle center full of colorful tile, patio alcoves and equally high-end neighbors like Catania coastal Italian restaurant and Azzurra Capri. “It’s a totally different vibe—it really encourages customers to stroll or sit and meet up for coffee in a way our old location didn’t,” says Shannon of the new center.
Inside the bright, airy store, regulars will be happy to spot their favorite kiddie brands like Biscotti, Le Top and (of course) some Kardashian Kids, but there’s plenty of new fun for the grown-ups as well—like art on display from the Madison Gallery, including a notable Hunt Slonem piece featuring the bunnies he’s so well-known for, as well as a growing array of adult clothing from Peace Love World and Barefoot Dreams, among others.
The distance from the rest of the family hasn’t really mattered much—the whole extended crew (including Scott!) were in town for the Grand Opening party, which Shannon says doesn’t really come as a surprise. “Even though they were always based in Los Angeles, they grew up coming to the store—Kim would sit on the floor and count money, saying ‘money’s my name, counting’s my game,’” she says, adding that experience definitely planted the fashion seed early in all of her granddaughters. But the difference between the Kardashian fashion empire and Shannon’s? If you want to keep up with this member of the famous family, you just need to head to her shop—she’ll be there.
La Valencia Hotel, Neiman Marcus, ocean views, rain
Rude people, the drive time to L.A., parking, Santa Ana winds