Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Trips Out out

VIRTUAL VOYAGE Trips Out Travel, which has been operating for 42 years from a storefront at 2987 College Ave. in the Elmwood, is taking its business online. Owner Ellen Thatcher, who started at Trips Out in 1970, says the service will remain the same, just without the store. The space, which, among other things, was known for its creative window dressing, closed on April 1. The phone number for vacation and corporate travel planning services is the same: 510-549-0950.

In: Crunch

ASIAN FUSION  Terry Wang and Kenny Le, owners of sushi and roll spot CU Japanese on Center Street in downtown Berkeley, recently launched Crunch, a restaurant that serves food from Japan, China and Korea. The new place, also on Center Street, between Oxford and Shattuck streets at number 2144, opened in late April and offers many types of ramen noodle bowls, cutlets, sushi, katsu of chicken, salmon and tofu, skewers and stir-fry.

TWO WHEELS Blue Heron Bikes is replacing New Medicine Tapes & Books at 1308 Gilman Street. The store is owned by Rob Allen who grew up in North Berkeley and has been working with bikes and bike sales — mostly Raleigh — all his life. He describes the shop thus: “It will be a general bike shop with a specialty, everyday bike adventure, transportation for fun.” [Hat-tip: Paul Rauber.]

New: Sanctuary

TREASURE TROVE Lifestyle store Sanctuary has opened at 3026 Ashby Avenue near the Claremont Hotel. Owners Dianne Arancibia and Andrea Medina, both keen travelers, say their store expands beyond fine jewelry to include smart tools for home, body and travel. They select their offerings with a view to doing away with the “throw away” culture, they say, and with an emphasis on craftsmanship and quality. “Treasured objects are the things that remind us of the path we carve though the world, and of milestones in our lives. Sanctuary hopes to be a place that brings all things beautiful and inspiring, informative and innovative, to light,” says Medina. Tel: 510-717-2215.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, new directions, relaunches, relocations. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns here.

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

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  • another bike store? ha.  one wonders if Berkeley has more bike stores or coffee shops?  I think there are 4 or 5 bike shops within a few blocks of downtown berkeley BART alone.

  • resident

    Or maybe another yoga studio!

  • ChrisSy Mamma

    And we have two comic book stores, as well.

  • Down on San Pablo Ave. we have a little of everything. The major uptick in business “establishments” in West Berkeley are the “massage parlors” with neon signs…the kind of businesses that State of California licensed CMT’s usually don’t work at.

  • The Sharkey

    Don’t forget the “WE BUY GOLD!!!” establishments and check cashing places. Always a valuable addition to any community.

  • I missed that new high quality establishment. However, my wife tells me it’s not far from the former site of Bacheesos. It’s great to see that the major artery of San Pablo Ave has the attention of the city. Without check cashing businesses, corner liquor stores, “massage parlors, and “we buy gold” store fronts, how will the city ever be able to get people to move in as more high density housing is built down here?

  • stevegsmith

    FINALLY there is life in that space!!!  In my opinion, the neighborhood could not have been luckier.  Rob is a returning local fulfilling a dream that we all will benefit from. Welcome Rob, I’m soooo happy you’re here.  Bike shops are all different and tend to cater the needs of the neighborhood.  I’d encourage anyone to drop by and say hi.  This is no big box bike shop or a too-cool-for-school shop with a handful of grumpy hipster employees or summer job types.  This is a true, “come on in Neighbor and let’s get you taken care of” shop.