Vitamin Shop, skincare purveyor open in La Jolla

This summer, La Jolla welcomed two new businesses with a focus on health and beauty: La Jolla’s Little Vitamin Shop and Kristals Cosmetics. In September, two more businesses are set to open: A fried chicken and doughnut restaurant, and an interior design firm with a retail component.

La Jolla’s Little Vitamin Shop: After years of working in a performance enhancement supply store and a short-lived career in body building, La Jolla resident Carla Parra opened La Jolla’s Little Vitamin Shop in July at 1115 Wall St. to provide nutritional supplements and healthier alternatives to typical performance enhancers.

“I only carry stuff I would take myself,” she said from her micro-shop across from the Wall Street Post Office. “Over the years (in this industry) you get exposed to a lot and become very knowledgeable. When people came in (to my former store) and asked me what I take and what I thought of products, sometimes I would have to tell them, ‘I think they are terrible’ because there may be short-term benefits, but in the long-term, they could be detrimental.”

Everything Parra provides is GMO-free, hormone-free or vegan proteins, and void of chemicals or dyes, she said. “I wanted to open this shop because I can ask the right questions to help people find what they need in respect to their goals — whether that be to get in shape or lose weight or whatever, and help them avoid what they don’t need.”

In addition to exercise enhancers, the shop carries vitamins, probiotics, nutritional supplements and more. And for those who don’t know whether these nutrients might benefit them, Parra is on hand to answer questions.

She explained that she chose La Jolla for her storefront because she wanted to be closer to her son, who is battling a health condition. “Being here is healthy for him, so it drove me to come here. Plus it’s nice to go to the ocean after work and the people have been awesome and friendly,” she said.

A website is in the works, but in the meantime, Parra advises customers to come by 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. A grand opening is planned for Thursday, Sept. 1 throughout the day with specials and giveaways. (858) 291-8889.

Kristals Cosmetics: Drawing from the healing powers of gemstones, Kristals Cosmetics opened in June at 7802 Girard Ave. to provide crystal-based skincare. According to the business’ website, the serums, lotions and creams “bring you concentrations of precious and semiprecious gemstones and metals known to create protective fields around the body, and blend them with powerful botanicals, naturally effective herbal essences and oils, and the best scientific breakthroughs in skincare for every skin type.” With different gems offering different results, Kristals representatives work with customers to determine needs and find the product that best meets them.

On the horizon …

StreetCar Merchants: Planned for the former Amici’s Pizza site (811 Prospect St.), StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts and Coffee is anticipating a September opening to offer fried chicken, Southern specialties, doughnuts (and other breakfast essentials) and high-end coffee.

Owner Ron Suel said the La Jolla location will be more of a “lux version” of his North Park location. “La Jolla was always part of our strategy, we feel the area is underserved in what we do,” he said. “For doughnut shops, there aren’t a lot of options and we also want to provide Southern classic plates.”

Menu staples include three types of fried chicken, handcrafted doughnuts made with seasonal ingredients (and the occasional cereal inspiration) and Louisiana favorites such as fresh-baked biscuits and baked mac-n-cheese, frog legs, Crawfish etouffee, and chicken pot pies.

But for La Jolla, Suel said, StreetCar Merchants will be “heavy on brunch” to include waffles, pancakes and French toast. The coffee program, he added, will feature Intelligentsia coffee. “What we saw lacking in La Jolla was a high-end coffee shop on Prospect Street, so we are going to offer a full coffee bar with espresso drinks and cold brews.”

But in the end, “It’s soul food all the way up and down,” he said. Find more information at

CM Natural Designs: Also planning a September opening, CM Natural Designs will offer an interior decorating firm and retail décor shop under one roof at 1298 Prospect St. Suite 1U. Owner Corine Maggio, who started the firm in her Bird Rock living room three years ago, said the retail component will be new and stem from an expansive collection of accent pieces.

“I’m going to try and stock the store with items I love, the way I’ve curated homes. (In the course of designing homes) I found there was a lot of things I loved, but didn’t need, but I kept them and felt like a living Pinterest board,” she laughed. “There is going to be a coastal feel to the inventory, but representing different coasts. We’ll have tropical-themed items, things from the East Coast and more. And because there are a lot of tourists in La Jolla, we want to sell things that could fit in a suitcase (pillows, beach towels, art, matchbooks, playing cards, jewelry and more).”

The design firm will also operate from of the shop. “What makes us unique among designers is we delve into the client’s lifestyle, aesthetic, existing architectural structure and background, to create a space that works for them. We don’t just do one style. We have ultra-modern clients and clients that have layers of lavishness. Our client is one that can appreciate design … they want a space that represents who they are and want it to function for them,” Maggio said.

Hoping for a Sept. 1 opening party, she said there is a website for the firm, but it has not been updated to include the retail component: