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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Source Mini, a vegan restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto, shut down on July 18. Its owner said he did not get enough business. Photo: Source Mini
Source Mini, a vegan restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto, shut down on July 18. Its owner said he did not get enough business. Photo: Source Mini

SOURCE MINI SHUTTERS UNEXPECTEDLY Source Mini, an offshoot of San Francisco’s Source restaurant, opened to great fanfare in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden at 1511 Shattuck Ave. in January 2014. Owner Mitchell Fox said his vegan place was “like a Subway or McDonald’s-esque vegan fast-food menu,” with vegan burgers and sandwiches, gluten-free tacos and quesadillas and dosadillas. Fox shuttered his San Francisco locale in January because of the escalating costs associated with a higher minimum wage; the Berkeley restaurant followed suit last week, apparently because business was slow. Fox left a short note on the restaurant’s Facebook page saying the place closed July 18: “Sorry to say yesterday was our last day in Berkeley, we want to thank everyone for their support.” When fans asked why, he replied: “Wasn’t able to do enough business.” The management of Epicurious Garden has a sign up announcing that a new restaurant will be opening soon.

Peets Coffee and Tea acquired Mighty Leaf in 2014 and will now sell that tea in its stores.

CHANGES TO PEET’S  Patrons who visit Peet’s Coffee on Domingo Avenue may have noticed a brand new look. The venerable coffee company, which opened its first store on Vine Street in Berkeley in 1966, has remodeled 20 stores in the Bay Area with walnut wood floors, espresso-stained cabinetry, and an open view of the coffee. It’s a “fresh, contemporary and distinctive design that highlights Peet’s commitment to craft and premium quality,” said Amy Lester, a spokeswoman for the coffee chain. (The Vine Street store has not been remodeled.) The redo coincides with Peet’s decision to eliminate its eponymous teas and only carry Mighty Leaf teas instead. Peet’s bought the San Rafael-based Mighty Leaf company in 2014. It will be repackaging some of its teas under the Mighty Leaf brand, according to a press release.

The owner of Claddagh Yarns on Walnut Street is looking to sell her business so she can spend more time with her sons. Photo: Claddagh Yarns
The owner of Claddagh Yarns on Walnut Street is looking to sell her business so she can spend more time with her sons. Photo: Claddagh Yarns

CLADDAGH YARNS SEEKS A BUYER  Amanda Fernández, who opened Claddagh Yarns two years ago in Walnut Square, is looking for a buyer for her store. Although the store has received a “warm welcome” in the neighborhood and was voted “Best Yarn Store” by the East Bay Express recently, Fernández wants a more traditional 9 to 5 job so she can spend more time with her young sons. “I love Claddagh and so many wonderful people I have met through the shop,” Fernandez said in an email to her customers. “Just as much, I love that the shop brings people together — advice is exchanged, knitting victories are celebrated, friendships are established. My hope is that this can continue, and continue here: I am looking for someone to buy the business.” If no-one steps forward, Fernández will close the store at 1506 Walnut St. in mid-August.

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.