Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Photo: Yelp

Photo: Yelp

BRENT’S UNIQUE SHOP One of the oldest businesses on San Pablo Avenue, Brent’s Unique Shop, 1824 San Pablo Ave., is closing down at the end of the year. Esther Williams, who ran Brent’s Unique Shop for 45 years, died in June. Her close friend David Clark is overseeing the store’s liquidation sale, which he said will likely continue for the next six months. “[We have] guitars, musical instruments, antiques, furniture, china, chandeliers, glassware, it’s to the rafters,” Clark said. “It’s one of those shops that’ll never happen again — it’s amazing.”

ruti RUTI A fashion boutique showcasing top Israeli designers opened Sept. 6 at 1829 Fourth St., right next to Erica Tanov. The owner, Ruti Zisser, started out holding trunk shows to give her favorite Israeli designers more exposure in the United States. Her shows took off and she now owns four Ruti boutiques stretching down the California coast. A fifth store is slated to open at Venice Beach on Oct. 1.  Shoppers at Ruti can browse high-end women’s clothing by Tel Aviv designers (including designs by Ruti herself), as well as shop for belts, handbags, jewelry and other accessories from labels like Alembika, Nortimay, Toosha and Lady Bird that the boutique owner says is almost impossible to find in other U.S. stores.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 10.06.35 AMLEVANT CAFE After a delay in receiving its certificate of occupancy, the Levant Organic Café is scheduled to open in the middle of next week on the corner of Kittredge and Fulton streets. It’s the second big expansion of the year for owner Shihadeh Kitami, who opened his second restaurant, Arabica Mediterranean Cuisine, at 2115 Kittredge on May 21. Kitami  opened his first restaurant, Razan’s Organic Kitchen, in 1998, and it has been a popular fixture in Berkeley’s food scene ever since. Now with the help of his brother, Zaid Kitami, and a Tunisian investor, Haithem Bennour, Shihadeh Kitami is making some changes to his restaurant model, like installing a rooftop garden on Levant Café with the goal of growing his own produce and herbs. Kitami said he still needs to figure out which vegetables will thrive in Berkeley’s climate, but if things go well, he also wants to construct a rooftop garden on Arabica.

Photo: Yelp

KRISHNA COPY CENTER The 32-year-old Krishna Copy Center on 2111 University Ave. is moving down the block to 2001 University Ave., near Milvia,  sometime in the next six months. The city of Berkeley recently approved Equity Residential’s plan to transform the block where Krisha Copy is located into the 260-unit Acheson Commons apartment complex, prompting the move. The new site is the former home of Unique Images, a furniture store that closed recently after being in business for more than 2o years.

Photo: Yelp

Photo: Yelp

BURTON The popular snowboard company Burton has decided to capitalize on the proximity of the Bay Area to Tahoe by building two new shops, in San Francisco and Berkeley, this October. One is slated for San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, and the other near Berkeley’s waterfront at 1840 Fourth St. The Berkeley location will be the larger of the two, at 2,300 square feet, and will feature a broader selection of Burton snowboards, outerwear and boots. No word yet on the exact opening date, but hopefully the company will have more luck than the Burton store in Oakland, which closed two years ago.

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. Check out also our weekly Bites column, which provides food news for the whole East Bay.

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  • Guest

    Any news on what’s going to happen with Ace Hardware?

  • Charles_Siegel

    ” the Levant Organic Café is scheduled to open in the middle of next week on the corner of Kittredge and Fulton streets.”

    I think that is Kittredge and Oxford. Oxford becomes Fulton one block further south.

  • tom

    Drove by and saw that Jimmy Beans had a new name, was it Lama Beans? not sure, any news?

  • Another guest

    University Ace will be sacrificed to the big apartment building, despite any promises you may have heard to the contrary.

  • Chris J

    Picture is posted upside down FYI.

  • Frances Dinkelspiel
  • rmq

    That’s not the famous swimmer Esther Williams, is it? She also died in June.

  • Frances Dinkelspiel

    No,it’s Kittredge and Fulton. I double-checked this morning.

  • David D.

    The street name changes at Kittredge itself. If the business is opening on the northwest corner, which I assume it is since the southwest corner is Touchless Car Wash, it is in fact Kittredge & Oxford.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Live and learn. I always thought the name changed at Bancroft – since the physical appearance changes at Bancroft.

  • Van Williams

    Brents Unique Shop is AWESOME!!!! This is a Place of Love. You Wont Leave WITHOUT a Smile!
    Van (510)612-9253