Business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Nature's Express shut its store on Solano Avenue on July 16 and announced that it is moving nearby soon. Photo: Nature's Express
Nature’s Express shut its store on Solano Avenue on July 16 and announced that it is moving nearby soon. Photo: Nature’s Express

VANISHING ACT FOR NATURE’S EXPRESS The vegan eatery Nature’s Express, which has been in flux for two and a half years, has moved out of its location at 1823 Solano Ave. but is promising to return “close by” soon, according to its Facebook page. The store’s last day was July 16. In December 2013, longtime owner Carl Myers announced he was shuttering the healthy fast-food joint. But an outpouring of support let Myers keep the store open. The restaurant still struggled, losing $10,000 to $28,000 a month, and Myers shut it unexpectedly in July 2014. A new management team bought the business and stepped in, raised some cash, and managed to keep the restaurant afloat. “Things at the restaurant are going well,” Josh Levine, the new manager, wrote in a blog post in September 2014. “We have a new lease, food is coming out well, the team is amazing, and we are all having fun! The customers love us again, and though sales have been down since the changeover, morale is up! Because the food is coming out well.” No word on where or when a new Nature’s Express will open.

jered's potteryJERED’S POTTERY LEAVING BERKELEY Jered Nelson has shuttered Jered’s Pottery at 2720 San Pablo Ave., near Carleton Street, and moved his retail operations to his studio in Richmond. The store is moving because the property, on which a 4-story 18-unit building has been approved, is for sale for $1.4 million. Nelson, who has made handmade porcelain dinnerware for a number of well-respected restaurants — including Michael Mina in San Francisco, Michael Chiarello’s Coqueta, Rich Table, Gioia Pizzeria, Comal, and Spoonbar, as well as the Wheeler Collection for Restoration Hardware — writes on his website that the move is a good thing. “We finally get to have everything under one roof, which means that when you visit, you’ll get to see how everything is handmade.” The Richmond store is already open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 867 S. 19th St. There will be a grand opening celebration in September.

glassybabyGLASSYBABY HOT SHOP COMING SOON The charity-oriented glass-blown votives shop Glassybaby will open its fourth Bay Area location in West Berkeley at the end of the summer. The location will serve as a store, event space and hot shop, which means the glass will be blown on-site. Founded in 2001 in Seattle by cancer survivor Lee Rhodes, the company has donated over $3 million to “organizations dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment heal.” Glassybaby recently opened its third Bay Area shop in San Francisco’s Ferry Building and plans to hire more local artists to blow glass at its Berkeley location. Glassybaby aims to open the store, which will be located on the corner of Seventh and Heinz, on Sept. 1. Connect with Glassybaby online at glassybaby.com or on Facebook.

BauhausBAUHAUS AUTOMOTIVE SHUT DOWN The Bauhaus Automotive auto-service shop on the northwest corner of Telegraph Avenue and Ashby Avenue (2996 Telegraph Ave.) appears to have closed, and its telephone number is out of service. Bauhaus Automotive replaced Inca Service, which closed down in 2012.

the ArkTHE ARK TOYS SHUTS ITS DOOR Ark, the much-loved toy store at 1812 Fourth St., closed its doors abruptly last week with little explanation except for a sign thanking patrons for their love and support over the years. The owner, Gerald Johnson, also closed the store at 3845 Noe St. in San Francisco at the same time. Johnson had closed a third outpost on Sacramento Street in San Francisco earlier this year, according to Noe Valley SF. The news site said the owner was struggling to compete with toy prices on Amazon. We will bring you more details if we can get them.

Abe's cafeNO MORE SMOOTHIES AT BANANA SAM’S  Banana Sam’s, which has been serving up smoothies and other food to Cal students on Euclid Avenue for a decade, is shutting its doors, according to the Daily Cal. Its owner, Jamal Fares, who also operates the Hummingbird Café near by, couldn’t come to an agreement with the landlord for a new lease, he told the Daily Cal. Fares will focus on the Hummingbird Café. Meanwhile, the space at 1842 Euclid Ave. near Hearst Avenue was not vacant for long. Abe’s Café is already garnering some good reviews. “I had a chicken melt sandwich from Abe’s and it was very tasty,” wrote one reviewer on Yelp. “Lots of flavor and fantastic bread.  The best deli-style sandwich on the block.” The owner is Abraham Rodriguez who used to work at two other nearby cafés:  Northside Café and Nefeli Café, according to the Daily Cal.

Photo: Tracey Taylor

EDELWEISS JEWELERS CLOSED  We reported back in May that Anne Flexer was planning to shutter Edelweiss Jewelers at 2980 College Ave. after 31 years in business. Flexer couldn’t afford the $800 a month rent increase her landlord proposed and was ready to try other things after operating a retail store for so long. The store is now closed.

Additional reporting by Frances Dinkelspiel.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, new directions, 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, which provides food news for the whole East Bay.


-By Francesca Paris