Business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Last days at Scrapbook Territory which closed on Sunday May 3, 2015. Photo: Scrapbook Territory
Customers take advantage of pre-closing sale at Scrapbook Territory which shuttered on Sunday May 3, 2015. Photo: Scrapbook Territory

SCRAPBOOK TERRITORY CLOSES  Arts and crafts supply store Scrapbook Territory on Fourth Street has closed after 12 years. Its last day was Sunday May 3. The store’s owners explained why they were shuttering on their Facebook page: “Well, I wish it weren’t so,” they wrote, “but our sales are below 50% of what they once were. Combine that with the number of scrapbooking companies that have gone out of business, and it’s just too hard to maintain a 4,000 sq ft store.” Before they closed for good, the store attracted crowds with a 50%-off sale and discounts across the board. Fans posted on Facebook about how sad they were to see the place go. Best scrapbook store ever! You will be missed,” wrote Jeth Gold. Scrapbook Territory was at 1717A Fourth St., Berkeley.

Berkeley Underground owners Lisa Holt and David Shapiro opened Build pizzeria upstairs in 2013. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
Photo: Natalie Orenstein

BUILD PIZZERIA Downtown Berkeley’s BUILD Pizzeria remains shuttered after abruptly closing its doors more than a month ago. Berkeleyside has been in touch with managing partner Lisa Holt, but she has yet to confirm details regarding its operations. Co-owner David Shapiro did tell Luke Tsai at the East Bay Express in an email that the restaurant was bringing in new investors and would eventually reopen — “better than ever.” Details are still being worked out, apparently. BUILD opened in 2013 and brought a welcome buzz to the southern stretch of Shattuck, offering a ‘make your own pizza’ service, a full bar, and a stylish urban décor. In November last year Holt and Shapiro opened nightclub and live music venue Berkeley Underground in the basement of the building housing the restaurant. We will keep you posted on developments. BUILD Pizzeria is at 2286 Shattuck Ave. (at Bancroft Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Save the FrogsSAVE THE FROGS CLOSED  The Save the Frogs education center and store that opened around this time last year at 2524 San Pablo Ave. has closed. “We had a great time educating San Francisco Bay Area residents about amphibians and environmental protection!,” wrote the nonprofit on its website. “While the Education Center is no longer open Save the Frogs! activities continue to take place in the Berkeley and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area!” Save The Frogs is the world’s first public charity dedicated to conserving amphibians. Global in scope, Save The Frogs has held frog-awareness events in 59 countries and educated millions of people (including schoolchildren) through its vast website and numerous pro-frog, pro-habitat programs. Read more about the organization in Berkeleyside’s feature article.

Employee and customers looking at skeletons
An employee and customers look at skeletons at The Bone Room which is undergoing some changes. Photo: Kaia Diringer

CHANGES AT THE BONE ROOM Changes are afoot at one of Berkeley’s most unusual and much-loved businesses, The Bone Room at 1569 Solano Ave. Economic realities, as well as the sudden death of its founder, Ron Cauble, last year have led to some tough decisions, said the natural history store’s co-owner Diana in a notice to customers last month. “It is not disappearing, but it is… evolving,” she said. “We will no longer occupy the big beautiful shop with the redwood mezzanine and the brick floor. We will be moving our brick-and-mortar store into the smaller side of the building, 1573, and doing mail order from an offsite warehouse. While the store relocates, it will be closed from today, May 5, through May 15.  “When we reopen, there will be no crickets,” wrote Diana. “After 45 years of buying crickets from Bassett’s Cricket Ranch, we will no longer be catching crickets with our bare hands. It will be strange not to have the sound of crickets as our background music, but they’ve been a ‘loss leader’ for years,” she said. The toy section will also be gone due to lack of space. “However, we will come out for the Solano Stroll (September 13), so have your kids save their allowances, because we will be selling our toys cheap cheap cheap,” wrote Diana. Read more about The Bone Room, which re-opens on May 16, and visit the store’s new website.

T&R RESTAURANT As noted in last week’s Bites, T&R Restaurant has opened on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. Reader Kate Harper told us she “loved” the Chinese brunch and lunch spot when she visited and enjoyed organic Chinese food, “great” warm homemade soy milk and meeting the “enthusiastic” owner, Tina. We look forward to your reports. T&R Restaurant is at 1428 San Pablo Ave. (between Camilia and Page).


Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.55.44 PMMOUNTAIN MIKE’S PIZZA  Mountain Mike’s Pizza is opening two new spots in Berkeley — as we previously reported on Bites. The pizza chain is taking over the space formerly occupied by Japanese restaurant Genki at 1610 San Pablo Ave. (at Cedar) , which, as we reported in March, closed after the owners retired. And it plans to move into the old By Hands space at 1740 Solano Ave. as we reported in February. Mountain Mike’s Pizza has dozens of restaurants around the Bay, including in El Cerrito, Alameda and Moraga. Visit Mountain Mike’s Pizza’s website for more information.

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.