BusinessBusiness

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

New York's MSC Customs bike store will open on Telegraph Avenue later this month. Photo: Ted Friedman
New York’s MSC Customs bike store will open on Telegraph Avenue later this month. Photo: Ted Friedman

COMING SOON: MSC CUSTOMS Manhattan’s MSC Customs bicycle and apparel company has opened its first West Coast shop at 2422 Telegraph Ave. The company assembles and sells made-to-order single-speed track bikes. They’re custom-made, meaning customers get to select a variety of trendy pastel and neon shades for the frames, tires, and rims. MSC Customs’ new clothing line is designed for cyclists, so it’s entirely reflective. This is the company’s second location. “We thought the West Coast would be a great move,” said co-owner Thomas Leong. “Berkeley is a great place for riders.” The store soft-opened on Thursday last week and its official opening is Saturday, Nov. 22. And curious shoppers can drop by a grand opening party the day before. Read more at the MSC website. [Hat tip: Ted Friedman]

Merchandise being unpacked at the new store. Photo: courtesy Sports Basement
Sports Basement before it opened

SPORTS BASEMENT The big opening this week is, of course, Sports Basement, which threw open its doors at the former Berkeley Iceland on Tuesday. (See photos of the countdown). There will be a “Grandish Snowpening” on Saturday, Nov.15, when Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will officially cut the ribbon on the new retail store in the 71,862-square-foot building at 2727 Milvia St. The “Snowpening” will include games, drinks and snacks, free give-aways, the opportunity to win lift tickets and season passes to Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and Bear Valley and complimentary beer provided by Lagunitas and Anchor Steam. Sports Basement is committed to giving back to the Berkeley community. One example: if a shopper says “Berkeley High School” at the register anytime then he or she will get 10% off with 5% going back to BHS. Similarly, the store is hosting a holiday shopping weekend on Dec. 12-13, where the shopper who says “BHS” at the register gets 10% off with all of that going to the Berkeley Athletic Fund. Cindy Chang, former head team physician at UC Berkeley and doctor to Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics, who has worked hard to get automated external defibrillators (AEDs) into BHS, said she is thrilled that the store will also be offering CPR and AEDs training for a donation of $15 (which goes to the non-profit Racing Hearts). Read more about the work done to transform Berkeley Iceland into Sports Basement and the store’s plans for the community.

Photo: Tracey Taylor
Photo: Tracey Taylor

CLOSING: THOMAS LIVINGSTON ANTIQUES Large signs outside Thomas Livingston Antiques on the corner of Ashby and Adeline announce the store’s impending closure — and the 50%-off-everything sale that will continue until the doors officially shut at the end of December. The shop first opened next door to its current location in 1976 before moving to San Francisco for several years. When the rent in the city became unaffordable, the owners (the eponymous Livingston and Karl Wessel) came back to Berkeley in 2009. But now “the antiques trade is moribund,” according to Livingston. “It is not an expansionary trade. Young people don’t relate to it.” Much more popular is “the euphemistically named” mid-century modern furniture, but Livingston had neither the heart nor the energy to repurpose his shop, which rarely sells any items made after 1850. Business has been booming since the sale began on Nov. 4, though — unsurprising given that “50% off” means thousands of dollars cheaper in several cases. Thomas Livingston Antiques is located at 1999 Ashby Ave. and online.

Photo: Facebook

OPENED: OLD YAK BAZAAR While living in India, husband-and-wife duo Wen-Yan King and Tenzin Losel helped artisans sell their goods locally. They fantasized about bringing the hand-crafted items to the US and setting up an independent, fair trade shop. Their dreams became a digital reality last year, and, in October, the couple opened a brick-and-mortar site in Berkeley to complement the online shop. The ethically sourced offerings at Old Yak Bazaar (1610 University Ave.) range from vegetable pigments and stationery to saris and jewelry. See the website.


photo: serenaandlily.com

OPENED: SERENA AND LILY OUTLET Serena and Lily, a high-end home décor shop with locations in New York and San Francisco, has opened a temporary outlet at 1360 Tenth Street. This location sells overstock, photo samples, and “dents and dings,” meaning items slightly damaged during shipping, said Gigi Desin-Phillips, director of special projects. The company is no stranger to the East Bay; the national distribution center for the catalog and online shop is in Richmond. Right now it looks like the last day will be Dec. 8, but there are talks of establishing a permanent outlet spot, Desin-Phillips said. The Tenth Street store is open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Browse through Serena and Lily products online.

Makers Work Space

OPENED: MAKERS WORK SPACE In May, we wrote about Makers Work Space, a cluster of “maker” studios soon to be available for rent. Back then, Jacques Janson and John Henry were busy converting the old Odwalla spot at 1150 Sixth Street into the set of studios that are now up and running. A number of local artists — painters, jewelry makers, illustrators — have already moved in. A few dozen studios, with rent starting around $400 a month, are still available. Prospective tenants can email info@makersworkspace.com. Janson and Henry aim to foster a community of local creatives who will collaborate with Urban Adamah, the farm across the street, and host charity events with nearby breweries. Find out more and see the floor plan at their website.

viridis law groupOPENED: VIRIDIS LAW GROUP A Newport Beach law firm that represents cannabis dispensaries, growers, and product manufacturers has opened a new office downtown at 2130 Center St., Suite 103. Viridis Law Group has two attorneys with extensive backgrounds in cannabis policy and reform, and aspirations of becoming “the nation’s leading marijuana industry firm.” Clients may be interested to hear that the office is next door to Ben & Jerry’s. Learn more at the firm’s website.

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

OPENED: SOCIAL STUDIES Social Studies, a new women’s clothing store, opened in September at 1659 San Pablo Ave. The shop sells a combination of recognizable brands, boutique designer ware, and vintage clothing. The look is “modern tomboy aesthetic with a glint of bohemian,” as described on the store’s Facebook page, and as evidenced by the leather jackets, hats, bangles, and oversized wool coats among its inventory. Visit the Social Studies website.

Stateside BakerySTATESIDE BAKERY As reported in the regular Nosh Bites column Kate McEachern, founder of the popular Cupkates trucks has opened Stateside Bakery next to the new Starbucks on Telegraph Avenue at Ashby. Stateside offers “all the childhood classics re-imagined with wholesome ingredients,” McEachern said — those desserts that can only be found stateside, from brands like Hostess and Little Debbie. Think Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt, Madagascar vanilla Twinkies, housemade Oreos, oatmeal cream pies, and strawberry Pop-Tarts. Stateside Bakery is at 3001 Telegraph Ave. Read more over on Bites.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post news about Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, 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, with all the hot East Bay food news.