Shop Talk: Tutu School; Tinsel Trading Company; Lhasa Karnak; SenS Hotel; Maxi Hair Salon

The Tutu School has opened on Solano Avenue. Photo: The Tutu School

TUTU SCHOOL BERKELEY A new dance studio for youngsters has just opened on Solano Avenue, aimed at providing a creative dance education experience for children. The space was previously occupied by women’s clothing boutique Harmonique. “What’s unique about Tutu School is we have ballet story time where we tell stories and dance to famous ballet works such as Swan Lake, Coppelia, Nutcracker and others,” owner Sonya Krawczyk said. The dance studio is her second, after opening in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood two years ago. The Tutu School will also be a space to host birthday parties and sell children’s dancewear. Krawczyk opened a studio in Berkeley because she loves the cultural and ethnic diversity of Berkeley and believes the families here will appreciate and benefit what Tutu School has to offer: ballet and creative movement designed for children. She chose Solano Avenue because of the family-friendly establishments and neighborhood. “I initially fell in love with this business when I took my then two-year old daughter to a Tutu School in Redwood City. Everything about Tutu School, from the look and feel of the studio to its membership policies was designed for families. For example, we offer free trial classes, unlimited makeups, and easy registration and cancellation because we know how families need more flexibility,” she said. Tutu School Berkeley, 1820 Solano Ave., Suite C-2, Berkeley 94707, Tel: 510-868-2186. Classes are held between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Mon.-Sun., excluding Thursdays. Visit the website for class schedule and more information. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

TINSEL TRADING COMPANY Recently opened on a strip of San Pablo Avenue that is blossoming with new retail this year, is the Tinsel Trading Company boutique. In 1933, Arch Bergoffen bought the old French Tinsel Company located in the garment center of New York City and changed the name to Tinsel Trading. “He was a collector and hoarder and by the time he died, in 1989, he had amassed a fantastic collection of antique metallic thread, trim, ribbon, tassels, fringes, millinery flowers and more,” said current owner Maria Ceppos, his granddaughter who inherited his business. “Most of his stock was from France and Germany and dated from turn-of-the-century 1900s. I have continued to cater to couture designers, ballet and theater costumers, crafters, accessories designers and creative people in all industries”, she said. Ceppos said her move from New York, where the business had been in operation for 84 years, coincided with skyrocketing prices of storefronts in that city. It was time to leave and start a new adventure in a new location, she said. Familiar with the wealth of artistic and creative energy in the East Bay Area, she found what she calls “the perfect space on San Pablo Avenue” next to Favor Jewelry. With assistance from Wendy Addison, owner of Theatre of Dreams in Port Costa, who designed the shop along with help from Cecile Bialobrezeski and Chris Maneri, they were able to create a beautiful and inviting new boutique which opened on June 24. Tinsel Trading Company, 1659 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia), Berkeley 94702. Tel: 510-570-2149. Summer store hours: Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sat. and  Sun., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow them on Facebook and Pinterest.

LHASA KARNAK A Berkeley institution, Lhasa Karnak Herb Company is relocating its Telegraph Avenue store to 2506 San Pablo Ave. The store at 1942 Shattuck Ave. will remain open. The shops are owned by father-and-son team, Jim and Aaron Murdock. “After 47 years, we will be leaving Telegraph Avenue due to upcoming renovations to the fire-damaged Chandler Apartments above our store. We know of no other spot on Earth where we could have planted and nurtured a business such as ours. We will be forever grateful. At the same time, we are greatly looking forward to opening a new chapter in Lhasa Karnak’s history. We look forward to greeting all of our longtime friends and loyal customers at our new location, as well as continuing our Shattuck store,” said Aaron Murdock, the son. The expected opening date for the new shop is Aug. 15. Murdock added: “We chose our new location because we believe our business fits well with other businesses in the area. We have been thinking about opening a branch in that area for a long time; the upcoming renovations to the Telegraph building pretty much forced our hand. Access and parking will be much easier than it has been on Telegraph.” The San Pablo shop was formerly home to Sign-a-Rama which relocated to a new location on San Pablo Avenue near Ashby two years ago.  Lhasa Karnak, 2506 San Pablo Ave.(at Dwight Way), Berkeley 94702, Tel: 510-548-0380. Hours for the new store will be the same as at the Shattuck one, open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The SenS Hotel & Vanne Bistro is now open in the former French Hotel location. Photo: Mary Corbin

SENS HOTEL As reported in a Shop Talk column from March 2016, the SenS Hotel, recently replaced the former French Hotel in North Berkeley. The hotel opened on June 18, while the adjoining Vanne Bistro opened on July 15.  The hotel is family-owned but represented by Michael W.N. Chiu of Prima Donna Hotels. Manager Nan Dillard said the new owner saw great potential in the hotel and its location. The thinking behind the name SenS is twofold, Dillard said, stating that, first, the French word sens refers to “a feeling or sentiment” and second, the owner has spent a great deal of time in the South of France, particularly in the city of Sens. Additionally, the Vanne Bistro, which took over the café of the former French Hotel, is named after the river that runs through Sens. The three-story brick building, which was built in 1917, has been given a facelift with a salmon-colored exterior paint job on three sides while retaining the original front façade. Interior renovations included repairing leaks in the upper floors and replacing insulation. Dillard said, “While the original footprint of the rooms was retained, the interior was ‘taken down to the studs’ to effectuate improvements,” Dillard said. One room was change: what was previously a bridal suite was renovated into a two-room suite with a bedroom and living room. Dillard said the hotel amenities have been upscaled from the previous hotel, including bath products from local retailer Body Time. Talking about Vanne Bistro, Dillard said that once the hotel had opened, dozens of people came by daily to inquire about the café, leaving personal notes and photos of their favorite baristas on the windows. “We are proud to have brought back those former baristas to continue serving the community that so loves and appreciates them,”Dillard said. SenS Hotel & Vanne Bistro, 1538 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley 94709, Tel: 510-548-9930.


Maxi Hair Salon has reopened in its original location  Photo: Maxi Hair Salon

MAXI HAIR SALON As an update to our report in a December 2016 Shop Talk, Maxi Hair Salon has just re-opened in its original storefront on Telegraph Avenue, after months of renovation. Temporarily relocated in a shared space on Telegraph, the store had its grand re-opening celebration on July 15 in its new salon. Owner Ellie Jay said, “We are very excited to announce that we have moved back to our beautifully remodeled original home of Maxi Hair Salon at 2489 Telegraph Ave. It was a long journey at our temporary place and we couldn’t have survived it without the support of our wonderful clients. We’re looking forward to serving our community for another 25 years!” Maxi Hair Salon, 2489 Telegraph Ave. (between Dwight Way and Haste). Tel: 510-486-1916. Open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.

Shop Talk is Berkeleyside’s regular Berkeley local business column. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleyside reader who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details at editors@berkeleyside.com. Read previous Shop Talk columns. And catch up with all food business news with our Nosh coverage.