Shop Talk: Site for Sore Eyes; Tenzing Collections; Body Time; Copy Central; Cricket Wireless

Current Site for Sore Eyes owner Paul Licht (left) with new owner Felix Karanja in the current store location. They will reopen one block away in late February. Photo: Site for Sore Eyes

SITE FOR SORE EYES Optical store Site for Sore Eyes in downtown Berkeley is moving, though only one block down the street, as part of the the ongoing BART Plaza renovation. The store, founded by Paul Licht, was originally on Allston Way where the Social Security office is now, and moved to its current location, at 2174 Shattuck Ave., in September 1992. A yet-to-be-revealed restaurant will move into the space. “We didn’t want to relocate but due to the city’s desire to have additional restaurants on this street, our landlord would not renew our lease so we needed to relocate,” said Licht. “We are, however, excited to have a brand new store and one that is larger to accommodate more choices and services for our patients and customers.” The store will move in late February into the space previously occupied by Tenzing Collections, which closed in November, at 2213 Shattuck Ave., (at Allston). Licht is also planning to semi-retire and is selling the store to Felix Karanja, who recently took over the Santa Rosa branch of the store. “I will continue to work with Felix three days per week for the next two years,” Licht said. “I have thousands of customers and patients that I’ve developed strong relationships with, and this time will allow me to continue to help them with their vision needs while they get to know and trust Felix.” According to John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, Karanja won an immigration lottery from Kenya several years ago and has worked tirelessly to start an optical store. “I met Paul about seven years ago and he became my mentor,” Karanja said. “He helped me set up the Santa Rosa location and guided me as I built it up to its present success. The opportunity to own and operate the Berkeley location represents the attainment of a dream I have held for many years. I feel very blessed to now be able to continue his legacy in Berkeley.” The relocated store will have a distinct high-tech look and feel, according to Licht, and room to display more frames and offer more optometric exams. “The additional exam rooms will allow us to accept Medicare and other medical insurance plans as opposed to only vision plans,” he said. Site For Sore Eyes, currently at 2174 Shattuck; after late February: 2213 Shattuck Ave. (at Allston). Tel: 510-841-6963. Current and new store hours: Mon. -Fri., 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Tenzing Collections has moved from downtown Berkeley to Solano Avenue. Photo: Tenzing Collections

TENZING COLLECTIONS The Asian imports boutique that occupied the space where Site for Sore Eyes will be moving into has relocated to Solano Avenue. We reported the store’s planned closure in November. Owner Tenzing Jigme took over the Lhasa Dreams Boutique, at 1631 Solano Ave., from a friend, and has a two-year contract for the space. He is hoping to move into a larger store eventually. Prior to the Lhasa Dreams Boutique, the space was occupied by the Tibetan Gift Shop. The new Tenzing Collections, which opened for business on Dec. 1, continues its clearance sale that started at the previous location in order to reduce inventory for the smaller store on Solano.  Tenzing Collections, 1631 Solano Ave., (at Tacoma), Berkeley 94707. Tel: 510-685-6941. Open Mon.- Sat., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Connect on Facebook

Body Time has closed its Telegraph Avenue store. Photo: Body Time

BODY TIME The iconic Berkeley-founded store Body Time closed its shop at 2391 Telegraph Ave. in April . This particular store opened on Telegraph in 2012, having been founded in Berkeley over 47 years ago, also on Telegraph Avenue. “Our lease expired in May and the store did not produce the sales that we had expected, therefore it was a business decision to close,” General Manager Nela Cunningham said. The Body Time at 1950 Shattuck Ave. (at Berkeley Way) remains open. Body Time, originally opened in 1970 as The Body Shop, specializes in scented body oils and lotions, soaps and miscellaneous  skincare products and accessories. In 1992, the founders of the company sold the name to a London skincare company and renamed its Berkeley-based skincare stores Body Time. In 2011, the current owners of Body Time, Terra and Al De Almeida, bought the business from the founders and operate it today as a family-run business. The College Avenue Body Time closed in 2015. In addition to the remaining Shattuck Avenue store, the business operates online and has its warehouse and corporate headquarters in Berkeley. Body Time, 1950 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 94704. Tel: 510-841-5818. Open Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo mock-up of façade by Copy Central

COPY CENTRAL A new Copy Central store is coming to Telegraph Avenue, making it the fourth in Berkeley and sixth in the East Bay. The space was most recently Rasputin’s Video Store and, prior to that, was home to Sprouse Reitz Five & Dime, Sunset Theater and the DK Theater. Copy Central has been serving residents of Berkeley and the surrounding area for 35 years. “We began as a convenient place for students and faculty to make copies, but have grown to produce course readers, research posters, postcards, presentations and much more,” store manager Laura Smiley said. “We chose this location because we wanted to stay within walking distance of the campus and love the unique design of the building.” The store is slated to open in late March 2018. Copy Central, 2411 Telegraph Ave., (near Channing Way), Berkeley, 94704.  Tel: 510-848-8649. Store hours, once open, will be Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Cricket Wireless kiosk store at Telegraph and Ashby has closed. Photo: Tracey Taylor

CRICKET WIRELESS The Cricket Wireless franchise, that has two stores in Berkeley, has closed its location at 2999 Telegraph Ave. (at Ashby), which opened in 2015. No information regarding why the store closed or plans for new retail in this space was available. Cricket Wireless continues to operate in downtown Berkeley at 2163 Shattuck Ave., (near Center), Berkeley, 94704. Tel: 510-848-2113. 

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.