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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

NATURE’S EXPRESS CLOSING Nature’s Express at 1823 Solano is closing Dec 31 after four years on the Berkeley street. The healthy/vegan fast-food business failed, according to owner Carl Myers, who wrote a long note on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “When ventures fail, it comes down to leadership, so I am painfully aware that the failure has been mine,” he wrote. “I apologize to the employees who have put heart and soul into this venture and the customers who have supported us for our failure to serve them in the future.” Ironically, Myers also salutes McDonald’s who, he writes, “do a lot of things right,” including customer service, locations and advertising. Judging from the response from many loyal customers on Facebook, it will be missed. [Hat tip: Kenneth Goldberg]

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 2.09.37 PMDESTINATION 1440 OUT, FENTON MACLAREN IN Sporting goods store Destination 1440 has closed its shop at 1440 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. It’s hoping to open again soon “around Berkeley.” Meantime it has been holding sales at its Oakland warehouse. (Bookmark the Facebook page to find out where it pops up.) Moving straight into the San Pablo space (between Jones and Page) is furniture store Fenton MacLaren, which has relocated from College Avenue in Rockridge. The new store is “much larger, has free parking and offers an expanded furniture selection,” according to Fenton MacLaren’s website.

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 1.53.38 PMFLAVOR CLOSED Flavor Mediterranean Food has closed its take-out restaurant in Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Gardens at 1511 Shattuck Ave. The turnaround at this particular spot seems to be pretty regular, as Flavor only took over the space from the shuttered Picoso Taqueria this summer. However, Flavor’s owner and chef Ezra Malmuth says the closure is temporary as the business is relocating to be able to offer “a one-of-a-kind sit-down dining experience.” We will keep you posted on where that turns to be so you can once again enjoy Flavor’s famous cauliflower salad with date syrup, tahini and mint.

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 2.00.13 PMANTON SALON Anton Salon has opened a hairdressing shop in the long vacant former mobile phone store at 2887 College Ave. (at Russell) in the Elmwood. Reports on Yelp of stylist Joe Escobedo who has set up shop there are so far uniformly positive — and it’s certainly good to see one more empty retail storefront bite the dust.

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 2.43.53 PMFOUR ARTISTS POP-UP SHOP  Staying in the Elmwood, jeweler Lynne Belmont is bringing her “Four Amazing Artists Pop-Up Shop” back to the neighborhood for the holiday season, after it made its debut there last year. The location has changed: This year the pop-up, which will feature works for sale by four artists and opens Tuesday evening, Dec. 17 — will be at 2631 Ashby Ave., two doors west of Dream Fluff Donuts.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. 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, and check out Bites for the latest East Bay restaurant news.