Ace Hardware will not move to Andronico’s old space

Berkeley Ace Hardware has decided not to move from 2145 University Avenue where it has been for 50 years. Photo: Lance Knobel

Berkeley Ace Hardware has decided not to move to the former Andronico’s site at 1414 University Avenue and it appears that a used clothing store may be taking over the 25,000-square foot space instead.

After negotiating a lease with the property’s owner, Keenan Land Company, Bill and Virginia Carpenter, the owners of Berkeley Ace Hardware, decided not to make the move. Instead, the store appears to be staying put, despite the fact that it will sit in the center of a construction zone as the Acheson Commons, a 205-unit residential development, is built around it.

The Carpenters are on vacation and were not available for comment. But in August, they had reached a “fundamental agreement” with Keenan, according to realtor Michael Korman. Once the lease had been inked, the Carpenters had three weeks to sign it, but never did, according to a source familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be named.

The store that may be moving in is Savers Thrift, a 56-year old Washington-based company with 290 stores around the country, including locations in San Jose, Redwood City, and Milpitas. The stores carries everything from used men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, to housewares, electronics and furniture.

“Savers is no ordinary thrift store,” reads a description on the chain’s website. “As a leader and pioneer in the retail thrift industry, we’re a place where people from all backgrounds love to shop for great selection, deals and treasures. But there’s also a higher purpose for what we do.

Savers was founded in 1954 on principles such as giving back and providing opportunities—core values we still embrace today. Our more than 140 nonprofit alliances share this thinking and inspire us with their work. Partnering with local charities is not a byproduct of our business—it’s how we do business. So when you shop at Savers, you help support many local community programs.”

The news that the old Andronico’s would not become a hardware store is a disappointment to many neighbors who wanted a strong anchor for the area. Ideally, they were looking for another grocery store, they said.

“We don’t need another clothing store in this neighborhood — Goodwill and Out of the Closet are within walking distance,” Julia Scheeres, who lives nearby, said in an email. “We were hoping for another food market, as there are many families around here. Andronico’s was a bit overpriced for this hood, but a Safeway or the like would be most welcome. We’d rather the place stay empty than have a used clothing store move in, as the neighborhood kids have taken over the parking lot to play and ride bikes. It’s where both my girls learned to ride.”

One factor in finding a new tenant may center around parking. The owner of the building at 1414 University Avenue – right across the parking lot from the old Andronico’s – has filed a lawsuit claiming that her tenants have the right to use the parking lot. The buildings were once owned by the same person, so there is a “prescriptive easement,” to share the lot, the suit contends.

Berkeley Ace Hardware looks to move to Andronico’s site [08.28.12]
Acheson Commons: new large-scale change for downtown [04.09.12]
Infusion of money should spiff up remaining Andronico’s [11.30.11]

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  • EricPanzer

    It’s a thrift store–more like Salvation Army or Goodwill and less like Ross. It may be just be a function of location and clientele, but while the Berkeley goodwill has a limited selection and is often poorly organized, the Austin Savers had great stuff and actually managed to keep it consistently arranged by item-type, size, and color. If this location does indeed become a Savers, I’ll probably check it out for old-times’ sake, if nothing else. But as I’ve gotten older my need for new clothing has decreased and I’ve gotten pickier, so I’ll probably stick mainly with Crossroads and Buffalo, where I don’t have to sift through so many Cosby sweaters and clown pants.

  • Carfreemom

    re: biking in the rain: I have a simple solution.
    Get rid of your car. Get some rain gear. 
    Then you will find that you can bike in all weather.
    This goes for kids, too. Most bike trailers are waterproof, and  rain gear protects kids on their own bikes.

  • Neighborly neighbor

    The produce at Mi Tierras is only so-so, though….It’d be great to have a general grocery store in the Andronico’s spot. Andronico’s was over-priced and the produce/ staples would get moldy/ expired bc there wasn’t enough turn over. 

  • neighbor

    Now Divino has closed as well….sign on the door says “closed….for reinvention.” That didn’t last long. It’s sad, we met the owner and ate there once. Sign of the times. 

  • guest

     Almost certainly the latter.  The Cheese Board does not shoo them away, and therefore they often have one or two directly outside their front door.

  • guest

    For those of us with kids who have birthdays, that store has Mylar balloons AND helium to inflate them.

  • guest

    “I think Mi Tierra gets overlooked becuase of bigoted stereotyping:  many wrongly assume it only caters to Latinos.”

    Yep.  Only a bigot would assume that a store with a Spanish name was trying to attract Latino shoppers.

  • Guest

    I’m also very happy that Ace is staying.  I’ve had great experiences with this store and I frequent it whenever possible.  Unfortunately, both my partner and I commute to jobs outside of Berkeley, making it almost impossible to get to the store during the week (6pm closing time).  When I have projects that can wait, I go to Ace on the weekends.  However, many hardware-related issues need more immediate solutions, and for those I have to go elsewhere.  A 6.30 or 7pm weekday closing time would make a world of difference for me, personally (and judging by the number of people who get off of the downtown Bart with me at 6pm, I don’t think I’m alone).  Regardless, I’ll be crossing my fingers for their survival during construction! 

  • Guest

    I’ve actually noticed real improvement around the plaza since the ambassadors and the city info cart arrived.  I can’t vouch for anyone’s methods or speak to where the plaza panhandling crowd has moved and how that’s working for them or the city — I just know what I see each morning and evening as I get on and off Bart, and it’s changed a lot recently.

    I had uniformly poor experiences at that Tully’s — friendly staff, but awful drinks enough times that I stopped going altogether.  There are a lot of things I’d like to see in that space, but pretty much anything will be okay by me as long as it doesn’t sit empty for the months or years that other Shattuck storefronts often seem to.  

  • Charles_Siegel

    The Cheese Board does not have the constant crowd in front that you see at the French Hotel and Crepevine/Philz, because it is closed Sunday and Monday. 

    I think it is the crowd that makes the panhandlers feel they do not fit in. 

    Prime places where panhandlers do hang out in North Shattuck are:
    –the doorway of the vacant storefront that used to be Black Oak books
    –next to the blank wall of the CVS that faces Shattuck
    –In front of the BofA parking lot.

    Panhandlers seem to like places where there are lots of people passing by, but not where there is a constant presence of lots of people, as there is at cafe seating.

  • Another thrift store? It seems the neighborhood wants a grocery store! Attention developers and grocers, Andronico’s didn’t fail because it was a supermarket, it failed because the company had a poor business model and sold expensive, specialty foods. I live in this neighborhood and choose to live without a car. Trader Joe’s is not sufficient for feeding my family and caters to college students. Berkeley Bowl is too far. Mi Tierra and Cheese Shop are my best options. It’s sad that there are so many working class families in this beautiful area of Berkeley and yet we seem to be just a route to get to the highway. I sincerely hope this awesome space is taken over by something we can use locally.