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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Alko Office Supplies on Shattuck Avenue: closing after 104 years in Berkeley

POOR SALES FORCE ALKO CLOSURE  Alko Office Supplies, which has been operating in one form or another at 2225 Shattuck Avenue for 104 years, announced Tuesday that it is shutting its doors. Gary Shows, president of the Cliff Radston Company, said in a press release published in the Daily Planet that the store is closing because of declining purchases from UC Berkeley, changes in the shopping patterns in downtown Berkeley, and the perception of shoppers that chains offer better deals than small, locally owned businesses.

“We sincerely regret disappointing loyal retail customers,” Shows said in the release. “We are appreciative and grateful; there just are not enough of them to sustain us.” The retail operation will remain open and “fully stocked” until the building is sold. After that, the company will continue to supply business and Internet customers in a “less costly location.”

Staff on the job at Picante’s new curbside pickup service Photo: Tania Schwartz

PICANTE LAUNCHES CURBSIDE  Tania Schwartz, self-described Berkeley resident, mom and Picante fan, writes in to tell us of a novel idea from the popular Mexican restaurant: curbside pickup service. “I think this will be fabulous for parents,” says Schwartz. “I still remember the days of driving my son around in the car for his naps, wishing that there was some decent drive-thru in Berkeley where I could get a snack or pick up dinner. And now, finally, there is.” Picante’s general manager Charlie Cotton says the service, which is available in the evenings only, 4:30-8:30pm, was introduced to make customers’ lives easier. If you have ordered your food to-go you can come and pick it up and pay for it curbside — in Picante’s green parking space — without having to find somewhere to park, he says. “If you have kids in the car or it’s raining it should be particularly useful,” he adds. Attendants provide utensils and napkins with the food order and can process payment curbside too. Picante is at 1328 6th Street, inside and out. Tel: 510-525 3121.

Shop Talk is Berkeleyside’s 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.


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