Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

ACROSS THE WAY  Walgreens opened the doors Monday to its new and larger store at 2190 Shattuck Avenue at Allston Way, right across the street from its old location (the pharmacy department will open tomorrow). The new store is 5,000 sq ft larger and is full of items that appeal to the student population: fresh produce, fresh coffee, ready-to-eat take out food like salads, and items to decorate a dorm room or apartment. As Shop Talk reported in December 2011, Sansome Pacific bought the building, which once housed the Ross Department store, and extensively remodeled it. Nokia, the smart phone manufacturer, has rented 10,000 square feet of space for a research center on the top floor, according to Aileen Dolby of Collier’s International. The company used to have about 4,200 sq ft of space on University Avenue.

HAND-CRAFTED SUPPLIES GIVE WAY TO OFFICE SUPPLIES  For 36 years, Ethnic Arts has been selling wares and crafts from around the world, first on College Avenue, and from the Gilman Village Complex for the last 18 years. Change is now at hand. Foothill Partners from Sacramento has bought the complex at Tenth and Gilman Streets and has recruited Office Depot to move from its spot at 1025 Gilman into the Ethnic Arts space. Owner Eleanor Hopewell isn’t sure where the store will go next when it moves out at the end of 2012, but is determined there will be another chapter. She intends to increase the company’s online presence with a blog and more sales, and is keeping her eyes open for a new space.

NO OPENING IN SIGHT  Shop Talk has received numerous hopeful inquiries about a liquor license application posted on the façade of the shuttered Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue. The application does not mean the owner, John Gordon, has found a tenant for the theater, which closed in January 2011. He is applying for a liquor permit for any possible future tenants, he said.

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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