Shop Talk: Lunaria; Hello Vintage; Baby Dynamo; Patient’s Care Collective; Blick

LUNARIA Let there be light! A new lighting design shop is opening soon in West Berkeley in the space formerly occupied by Raina’s Textile House on San Pablo Avenue.

Husband-and-wife team Alia and Ian Gaffney opened their first store in Corte Madera in 2006 and are planning a soft opening for their Berkeley store in mid-February. The owners view the Berkeley Design Loop as a growing community for design-resource type businesses and products, and are excited to bring their voice and product line into the area. The accessibility and visibility of shops on San Pablo is also a reason the couple chose this location for their store.

The business represents over 150 decorative lighting lines from all over the world, many of which are unique to Lunaria in the US, along with some furniture and accessory lines. Lunaria says it goes beyond catalogs and showroom offerings by incorporating the couple’s design background and expertise to help people through the selection process. Lunaria’s methods include an in-store, large-screen monitor display and the use of Pinterest, Photoshop and other programs and tools that enable the customer to experience a special shopping experience. “We enjoy seeing people light up with all the possibilities that are available,” said the couple. “We are so excited about our new shop in Berkeley.” Lunaria, 2524 San Pablo Ave. (at Blake), Berkeley 94710. The store hours will be Tues.- Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sat., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., subject to change. Follow Lunaria on Instagram and Facebook.

Carolyn Liu at her newly opened Hello Vintage store in the Claremont neighborhood. Photo: Hello Vintage

HELLO VINTAGE Old and new is what comes to mind for this vintage clothing shop that has opened on Prince Street in Berkeley. At just 23, owner Carolyn Liu, opened Hello Vintage after graduating from University of the Pacific in Stockton. Liu ran an online retail space of the same name while she was a student, and moved to Berkeley to open her first brick-and-mortar business. The shop, which opened on Jan. 23, is in the space formerly occupied by home design studio, Michelle Nelson Design, just off Claremont Avenue. Hello Vintage focuses on clothing and accessories for men and women from the 1920s to the early 1990s. Merchandise is divided into sections; women’s apparel in the main entrance, men’s clothing and a large fitting room in an adjoining space, and an upstairs mezzanine section for  designer vintage garments. “I love the style and the feeling of Berkeley — it has so much personality and the people are really intelligent, down-to-earth and just plain cool,” said Liu.  Hello Vintage, 2842 Prince St. (at Claremont), Berkeley 94705. Tel: 415-570-4679. Open  Wed. through Sat., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sun., noon to 5 p.m. Connect with Hello Vintage on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


Baby Dynamo is the latest shop closure in the Elmwood. Photo: Tracey Taylor

BABY DYNAMO What’s the trouble with 2950 College Ave., one must wonder? After just six months in the Elmwood shopping district, Baby Dynamo has closed. It opened on July 22 after the abrupt closure of the also shortlived Dijital Fix in the same space, which closed its doors on Jan. 25. When asked why Baby Dynamo closed, owner Erin Carter was terse, saying there were too many factors to name, but the primary reason was that in order to maintain the health of her main store, Kid Dyanmo in North Berkeley, she needed to close Baby Dynamo.  She added that she enjoyed being in the Elmwood during the store’s brief time there. Baby Dynamo, 2950 College Ave. (near Ashby), Berkeley 94705. Visit the main store, Kid Dynamo, in the Gourmet Ghetto at 2108 Vine St., Berkeley. Tel: 510-649-7446. Connect on Facebook.

Patient’s Care Collective has a unique new dispensary model Photo: Dave Strauss/DS Composition

PATIENT’S CARE COLLECTIVE The Patient’s Care Collective dispensary on Telegraph Avenue has undergone a transformation since California’s recreational marijuana law took effect on Jan. 1. The business, in operation as a medical cannabis dispensary since 2001, has expanded into two separate, side-by-side dispensing areas. The original entrance continues to serve clients with medical cards. The neighboring space, which has its own entrance, was added to accommodate general public/recreational-use customers. A doctor’s office, 420MD, has moved out as business there was steadily declining, possibly due to an increase in the popularity of getting medical recommendations online.

While the medical side has retained its format, the recreational use side is about twice as large and has the look and feel of an upscale retail space. “The City of Berkeley, and in particular Mayor Jesse Arreguín, really went to bat to protect our patients and make this possible,” Martin O’Brien, the founder and president of PCC, said.

Along with knowledgeable counter service, the new shop has a central display area with display jars. Customers can lift up each secured jar to smell the buds and take a closer look at the product. iPads, attached to the central display pods, provide data about each specific strain in the jars. “We want people to be able to relax and have the space to shop and learn, browse on their own or ask our PCC cannabis consultants, who are there to help understand this complicated new world, [and answer] any questions they might have,” said O’Brien. “Our goal with this design is to help customers make informed decisions.” At a recent visit, the crush of the first days of the year appeared to have died down. Patient’s Care Collective, 2588 and 2590 Telegraph Ave. (at Parker), Berkeley 94704. Tel: 510-540-7878.  Open daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Follow PCC on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Blick Art Materials is now open in its new location on Tenth Street. Photo: Blick

BLICK ART MATERIALS The relocation we first reported about in an October Shop Talk is now complete. The popular nationwide art supplier closed its doors at 811 University Ave. on Jan. 21, 2018 and moved into the former Smith & Hawken store on Tenth Street in West Berkeley. Now with printing services and a custom framing department in a 7,200-square-foot retail space, the new store has been open since Jan. 22. A grand opening celebration and sale is slated for Feb. 15-18. That weekend, the store will feature live music, DIY workshops, kids crafts and art demos. Free goody bags will be handed out to the first 50 guests in line on Thurs., Feb. 15, and Sat., Feb. 17. Blick has five stores in the Bay Area. Blick Art Supplies, 1360 Tenth St. (near Gilman), Berkeley, 94702. Tel: 510-486-2600. Opening hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Connect on Facebook, Twitter 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.