The owner of Mr. Mopps’ toy store has finally put a price tag on his business, but the buyer will also have to buy the building the store sits in.
Eugene Yamashita is asking $1.17 million for the business and the building at 1405 Martin Luther King Street near Rose, according to Jeff Auen, his realtor. The store’s toy inventory will cost the buyer another $100,000.
“The price includes the property, the business, and the goodwill created by the store,” said Auen.
The property was only formally listed last week and there are a number of interested buyers, said Auen. No one has made an offer yet, he said, but people seem serious.
When Berkeleyside reported in March that Yamashita planned to close down his store and retire, dozens of community members stepped forward to talk about how important Mr. Mopps had been to them. They even set up a Facebook page. A few also expressed interest in buying the business, prompting Yamashita to hire Auen.
One of those interested in buying Mr Mopps is a 33-year old Berkeley native who now lives in San Francisco. He and his wife have spoken to Auen about the property and business. He asked that his name not be used because he doesn’t want to “jinx” his chances of getting the property.
For him, Mr. Mopps is an indelible part of his childhood and he doesn’t want to see it disappear.
“I grew up in Berkeley and Mr. Mopps was a big deal for all of my peers,” he said. “People would save up their allowance for weeks and go in there to see what they could buy. It was an early education in budgeting.”
The man said he went into Mr. Mopps a few weeks ago and saw elements of his childhood playing out all over again. He saw a seven year old boy clutching some money and saying to his mother, “I think I have enough.”
1405 Martin Luther King includes the main part of Mr. Mopps (not the former book section) and the hair salon next door. Yamashita is also selling a parcel on the corner of Rose and Martin Luther King.