Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Looking Glass Photo will hold a grand opening celebration on xx to mark its move to xxxx Ashby Ave. Photo: Pete Rosos

Looking Glass Photo will hold a grand opening celebration this weekend to mark its move to 1045 Ashby Ave. Photo: Pete Rosos

LOOKING GLASS PHOTO The venerable Berkeley camera store is having a grand opening celebration Oct. 19-20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., to celebrate its new location at 1045 Ashby Ave. in the old Heinz family complex. The store had been at 2848 Telegraph Ave. for 30 years, but had grown so popular that, on some days, there was a line outside the 4,000-square-foot space, said Jen Waicukauski, who owns Looking Glass Photo with her father. The new store is twice that size and is offering “a better customer experience.” There will be free workshops, seminars and a raffle at the celebration. Reps from Canon, Nikon, Sony and elsewhere will be on hand, too.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 2.01.49 PMWALGREENS Walgreens is hoping to open a new Berkeley store on Solano Avenue, in the space currently occupied by the 76 gas station on the corner of Colusa, next to Andronico’s. The plan, which requires approval from the city, is to build a two-story building with basement parking that would hold 12 cars. The upper story would be for storage rather than retail space. The architect is Berkeley’s Kahn Design Associates. Completion of the new drug store would not be until 2015. The developers as well as the real estate agents handling the project, Agree Realty, are holding a community meeting to solicit views of the neighbors on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. on the proposed site. Coffee and pastries will be served. [Update, 11 p.m.: Those who would like to submit comments or questions by email can do so via]

cupstoryCUP STORY A new Korean restaurant at 2384 Telegraph near Channing is bringing the idea of fast food to a new level. Cup Story — which took the place of Pasta in a Box — serves a variety of Korean delicacies in a cup to go, like kimchi fried rice, curry, panfried noodle, pumpkin soup and more. Customers can order a small or large cup and prices range from about $4 to $8. Early reviews on Yelp are mixed.

[Editor’s Note: The original article missed one of the dates for the Looking Glass Photo grand opening celebration. The post has been corrected to reflect the correct information.]

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, 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. And check out our weekly Bites column too with its news of East Bay restaurant openings and closings.

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  • Bryan Garcia

    Just what we need, another Walgreens. Isn’t there already one a couple of blocks away on Solano? Or is that CVS? Not that it makes a difference, but I can’t even keep it straight anymore.

  • dgies

    There’s a CVS about 2/3 mile down Solano, another about a mile away on North Shattuck, Pharmaca and Sal’s Pharmacy just a couple blocks away, and another Walgreens in downtown Berkeley. I guess Walgreens wants to muscle out some of their competition.

  • SarahSiddell

    Longs kept adding pharmacies until the whole thing went out of business. I just don’t get it! You have to drive to get to a decent grocery store. I wish Shattuck still had a couple of its small markets.

  • SarahSiddell

    Two years ago I went to Looking Glass for a passport photo. It turned out ghastly, even though the pleasant woman there assured me it was “cute.” I looked about 80 years old and kind of crazy. I had the thing around for a day or two, showing it to friends who laughed in chagrin at the image and finally decided I just couldn’t live with that photo for a decade. I went to the Foto Shop in downtown Berkeley and got a perfectly adequate picture for my passport. It was a reasonable facsimile of my face.
    BTW, when you look at reviews for the Foto Shop (or anything else reviewed on Yelp), BE SURE to go to the end of what is shown and click on the “Filtered Reviews.” These are often an eye-opener. It’s very strange that Yelp’s proprietary filtering system often hides either predominantly good reviews or predominantly bad reviews without rhyme or reason. Yelp assures us that the nature of the reviews filtered is strictly arbitrary and has nothing to do with whether the business has taken out a costly Yelp subscription, but………! You’ll have to judge for yourself.

  • serkes

    Delighted that Looking Glass is expanding – there’re my go-to place for equipment.

    They immediately took care of a problem I had with a new camera body I’d bought from them … great customer service … and great staff.


  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    Oh wow another Walgreen’s! I’m so happy for that! One drug store per
    person is what I would like to see. Everyone should have that individual
    user experience.

  • Japhy Writer

    I’d be down if it meant I wouldn’t have to wait in long lines anymore. “IC3…”

  • Victoria

    Walgreens on Solano?? This seems absurd and completely out of character with upper Solano Avenue! I lived near that intersection for the better part of 30 years. Starbuck’s was enough of an affront, but Walgreens? The Piedmont Avenue community fought the intrusion of BevMo a few years ago. It took a lot of organizing and neighborhood support…but, it worked!!

  • Alexander Sinclair Merenkov

    You mean we wont get a 6th Walgreens in downtown Berkeley where the main post office is?! haha

  • Marnie

    I would much prefer to have a Walgreens going into the old Andronico’s building on University than the current nightmare of Saver’s. Our neighborhood actually NEEDS a Walgreens. They missed an opportunity.

  • Guest

    Wow. Definitely not seeing the need for another drug store, and now I guess the only gas nearby is at the bottom of Marin, as the line for the station at Hopkins and the Alameda is always long as it is–and that will only get worse. Why is 76 leaving???

  • Bill N

    I was looking for telephoto there they let me try some and they didn’t sell me the more expensive!

  • Bill N

    Please make sure you preface a comment like this about the PO with the official joke sign!

  • serkes

    I was looking for a telephoto with a big range to use for video. Went in intending to buy a Canon lens … they asked me how I planned to use it, and then recommended a less expensive Tamron which fit my needs perfectly.

    Way to go, Looking Glass.

    I’ve two items on my “list” – hopefully sooner rather than later.


  • Jules Kragen

    what happened to our resistance to corpoate chains in Berkeley? And the poor neighborhood pharmacy across the street? Who paid who to make this one happen.

  • Nan

    Just what the area needs…….another corporate drugstore! We should be supporting Sal’s pharmacy……family owned and operated.

  • Harry Brill

    The gas station is very convenient. The next nearest on Alameda is always crowded with cars. We already have plenty of drug stores. Enough is enough.

  • m.g.

    Count me in as another neighbor who doesn’t want a Walgreen’s there. With Pharmaca, Longs, Sal’s, and Safeway so close by, Solano is already full of drugstores. There are so many better uses for that space!

    Also, I’m really curious about why drugstore chains find it so appealing to
    open store after store in close proximity to one another in Berkeley.

    Does anyone know where those who can’t attend the meeting but would like to weigh in with the city should direct their comments?

  • emraguso

    I found this info on one of the notices: “If you have any questions about the project please e­mail us at”

  • bob

    If you hated the photo that much, then why didn’t you ask the photographer to take another one?

  • Chris J

    Yah’ seriously. Aren’t there enough pharmacies in this town already? It would better serve the area as a parking lot or a small park. Another pharmacy? NO!

  • guest

    CostCo has better prescription prices, Trader Joe’s has cheaper t.p., Zarri’s has better snacks, CVS has cheaper Halloween Candy. Couldn’t they reuse a building or two, instead of making a new one?

  • bob b

    My wife and I just got back from Albuquerque…a CVS AND a Walgreens about every three blocks…it was kind of eerie…I’m looking forward to not having to walk more than two blocks to buy a bandaid or some toothpaste.

  • Mbfarrel

    I’m not fond of Walgreen’s but to categorize it as a “pharmacy” misses the point. CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid and the like are now general stores. I don’t recall picture frames, wine, halloween costumes and the many sundries they sell to be pharmacy items. I just hope they put up a good building that is attractive and well designed for retail uses.
    I recall that previously many in the Solano neighborhood were concerned that all the retail was being supplanted by restaurants, Well, this is retail.

  • Chris Gilbert

    Do we have a say whether we want Walgreens? Or will I be wasting my time trying to stop this?

  • DStorey

    It’s never a waste of time. After all, they are going through the motions of inviting community input, so we should give them our honest opinion–no, thanks!

  • Chris Gilbert

    Gas stations are retail.