Business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

OKC North provides an intimate setting for Berkeley's kettleball enthusiasts. Photo: OKC North
OKC North provides a setting for Berkeley’s kettlebell enthusiasts. Photo: OKC North

NEW: OKC NORTH Replacing the old Juno Fitness at 3007 Sacramento St., OKC North has been the go-to place for all kettlebell-related fitness since it opened last August. Popular in Russia and Eastern Europe, kettlebell exercises revolve around lifting cannonball-like weights — they can weigh up to 70 pounds — as fast as possible. In addition to hosting kettlebell tournaments for national and international weightlifters, OKC North provides boot camps and private training for as little as $135/month.

Cricket Mobile. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Cricket Wireless. Photo: Tracey Taylor

NEW: CRICKET WIRELESS SHOP Cricket Wireless, a mobile-phone chain that provides prepaid phone, text, and internet plans, has opened a second store in Berkeley on the northeast corner of Telegraph and Ashby, at 2999 Telegraph. Its other store is downtown, at 2163 Shattuck Avenue. The Telegraph shack used to be a photo developing shop, but has been vacant for several years. It has been spruced up with fresh white and bright green paint.

Photo: Emilie Raguso
Photo: Emilie Raguso

CLOSING: BODY TIME After being open since the 1970s, the Body Time store at 2911 College Ave. is closing its doors at the end of the month. Although it is expanding to other Bay Area locations like Walnut Creek and San Anselmo, Body Time decided to close the Elmwood location because it was “too small for our new retail concepts,” according to production manager Alyssa De Almeida. Body Time will retain its three other locations in and near Berkeley, one of which is on College, by Rockridge BART, just a mile away from the store that is closing. Customers who shop at the Elmwood store before Jan. 31 will receive a Customer Privilege card, which offers 10% of all Body Time merchandise from other stores through 2015.

Milam Rugs. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
Milam Handknotted Rugs. Photo: Seung Y. Lee

NEW: MILAM HANDKNOTTED RUGS The owners of the Essence of Tibet gift store at 2903 College Ave. (at Russell in the Elmwood neighborhood) opened a rug store next door on Dec. 5. Milam Rugs sells rugs that are hand-knotted in Nepal with Himalayan wool — they are thicker and heavier than their Persian counterparts. “Himalayan wool can last for ages,” said Karma S., an employee at Essence of Tibet and advisor to Milam Rugs. With the retail price at $80 per square foot, Milam rugs sell a wide variety of sizes, ranging from as small as 18 by 19 inches, to 9 by 12 feet. As an opening promotion, all rugs are 50% off.


Seung Y. Lee is a journalist who has previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Daily Californian.

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 ne