The father/daughter team of Bob and Suzan Steinberg represent third and fourth generations of textile business knowhow. Bob was born in 1933 in Los Angeles and started working for the family textile business at the age of ten. He’s been a “fabric man” ever since. With his 9-year old daughter, in 1967 Bob opened up Bob Steinberg’s Fabric Emporium which specialized in “counter-culture alternative style hippie fabrics.” In 1976 they both moved north to the Monterey Bay area where Bob opened up a fabric store with the intention of taking a classic Jewish immigrant family business (Steinberg and Sons) and modernizing it. With that in mind Stonemountain (Steinberg literally translated from German) & Daughter was born. In 1981 they brought Stonemountain and Daughter to Berkeley. Suzan manages the store with her father, and after 31 years of being in business in Berkeley, they’ve managed to remain one of the few independent merchants in the textile business today with customers in every state of the union.
When did you arrive in Berkeley?
Suzan: In 1979.
What’s your hood?
Suzan: South Berkeley.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Suzan: A therapist or a councilor.
Bob: A fabric man.
Where and when are you happiest?
Suzan: At the beach or in the mountains. In nature. Kissing a redwood tree.
Bob: In my car smoking a cigar.
Which living person do you most admire?
Suzan: Debbie Ford.
What drives you mad?
Suzan: I don’t really have an answer for that. I try not to be driven mad.
If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
Suzan: To be more patient.
Bob: I’d have hair.
Who, or what, is the love of your life?
Suzan: The spiritual journey that I am on.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Suzan: I went to Maui in 1981 for a week and stayed for 6 months.
Bob: I’ve done so many things I would have to make a list.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
Suzan: A sarong, a flint, and a tarp.
What does Berkeley mean to you?
Suzan: It means individuality. It means the freedom to be who I am and who we are. It means respect and opportunity. Berkeley also offers an alternative feminist perspective which embraces the emerging feminine paradigm of creativity, vision and ideas.
Bob: Berkeley means freedom, hope, friends, success, “how berkeley can you be.”
If you didn’t live in Berkeley, where would you live?
Berkeleyside’s “Snapshot” column, inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, is an occasional series by Pete Rosos in which we take a moment to get to know some of Berkeley’s most interesting people. Rosos is a freelance photographer, husband, and father of two who lives in south Berkeley.
Previous Snapshots: Urban Ore founder Dan Knapp; Jessica Williams, owner of Brushstrokes Studio; Doris Moskowitz, owner, Moe’s Books; songwriter and writer David Berkeley; Heyday Books founder Malcolm Margolin; Angus Powelson, owner of Oceanworks; Arlene Blum, scientist, author, climber, activist; and Don Daniels, purveyor of balloons at Paper Plus Outlet.
Let us know in the Comments who you would like to see featured here.
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