Shop Talk: Body Time; Zoonie’s; John Muir Outpatient Center; Palm & Perkins; Pet Food Express; Copy Central

Body Time is closing its last two remaining stores in Berkeley and Walnut Creek, as well as its West Berkeley warehouse, after 48 years in business. Photo: Body Time

BODY TIME Say goodbye to custom-scented body oils,  the specialty skin care lines and spa accessories of Body Time as the business prepares to close the doors on April 22 to its two remaining stores — one in downtown Berkeley, the other in Walnut Creek — as well as its West Berkeley warehouse and HQ. The local company has been in business for 48 years. For decades, walking into this store felt like home-spa day was on the horizon with aromas of “China Rain,” sandalwood and jasmine waking up your senses. Body Time said in an announcement that the closure was due to “the market forces that are changing the landscape of the entire retail business sector — and Body Time has not been immune to the effect.” Like many brick-and-mortar retailers, the company has seen its sales drop as more people shop online.

In a recent attempt to salvage the business, Body Time reduced the number of its retail stores, including, in December, its shop at 2391 Telegraph Ave., but the strategy was not enough to sustain the business overall. The College Avenue Body Time closed in 2015. The store is having a final sale through April 22 featuring 50% off in-store and online orders. Body Time began business as the original Body Shop in 1970 in Berkeley and transitioned into Body Time in 1992, after selling the original name to a London based skincare company. In 2011, the current owners of Body Time, Terra and Al De Almeida, bought the business from the founders, operating as a family-run business.

Another factor in the decision to close is that the rent on the company’s warehouse on Heinz Avenue was  increased 50% when the lease recently came up for renewal, according to one person close to the business, who asked not to be named. The warehouse is in a neighborhood zoned for marijuana grow/dispensary businesses and that may have been a factor in the increased rent, said the person. Body Time, 1950 Shattuck Ave. (at Berkeley Way), Berkeley 94704. Tel: 510-841-5818. Hours through closing sale, Mon. to Sat.,  10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also in Walnut Creek. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe on College Avenue is now Zoonie’s. Photo: Zoonie’s

ZOONIE’S Powell’s Sweet Shoppe on College Avenue (at Alcatraz) is now Zoonie’s Candy Shop. When the lease came up for renewal, the owners decided to become independent after being part of the Powell’s franchise since Nov. 2010.  Zoonie’s is co-owned by Shahrazad Junblat, her sister Zeina Hissen, and Zeina’s husband, Nabil Hissen, and they have a second  East Bay store in Lafayette. Junblat has been a resident of Berkeley for the past two decades and was very happy to have found the location here eight years ago after a long search. While thinking of a new name for the store, they decided on Zoonie, the nickname of Junblat’s sister Zeina. According to Junblat, the store is essentially the same with just a name change.


“We thank Powell’s for giving us our start. Our motto now is same great store, same great owners, same great team, new name,” she said. No grand opening events are planned. Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, operating since 2003,  has stores in eight other locations in California and one in Bend, OR. “After eight years, the magic of the candy business is still very much present: Smiling children finding a special treat, memories flooding in when you sees a candy that grandma used to give you when you were young, sweet customers getting a box of truffles for a loved one. You walk in and are instantly happy. Some regulars come to hang out and see what new findings made it to the store,” Junblat said. Reader Peter Shelton first alerted us to the change, writing, “Some changes to the décor, but the most important improvement, and a welcome one to me, they’ve changed out the endless loop of Charlie and Chocolate Factory and replaced it with classic cartoons.” Zoonie’s, 3206 College Ave. (at Alcatraz), Berkeley 94705. Tel:  510-658-YUMM (510-658-9866). Open Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m and Sun., 11 a.m to 8 p.m. Connect with Zoonie’s on Facebook.

The site of the new John Muir Health and UCSF Health Outpatient Care Center Photo: Mike McEuen

JOHN MUIR HEALTH AND UCSF HEALTH BERKELEY OUTPATIENT CENTER A new outpatient facility of John Muir Health and UCSF Health will be opening on Tues., June 12 in Berkeley, offering primary care, urgent care and specialty care with a range of services. The location of the new 96,000-square-foot center will be at 3100 San Pablo Ave. (near Folger). City Sports and TCHO Chocolate are other tenants in the Foundry 31 building.

“This new facility brings together two locally and nationally recognized health systems for the benefit of patients and the community,” said Caroline Schreiber, MD, a family medicine physician, medical director of the Berkeley Outpatient Center and a Berkeley native.  According to its website, the Berkeley Outpatient Center will open with seven family medicine physicians, who are trained to care for patients of all ages, from newborns to seniors. A nurse practitioner will join in September. We’re offering a new choice for health care in the Berkeley area,” said Cal Knight, President and CEO of John Muir Health. “Our goal is to deliver high-quality health care and an exceptional patient experience at lower cost, which we believe can be best achieved by offering a full range of services and coordinated care under one roof at the Berkeley Outpatient Center. We’re excited to be a part of the community.”

John Muir Health and UCSF Health formed the joint venture company, BayHealth, which is developing the Berkeley Outpatient Center. “We looked for a facility in a central location with sufficient space. The building at 3100 San Pablo Ave., on the border of Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland, is an ideal location, convenient for patients to access the full spectrum of outpatient care in one site rather than having to travel to multiple locations for appointments and tests. The site also allows us to offer free, validated parking on site and has excellent access via public transportation and by bicycle. In addition, a number of residents already access UCSF Health and John Muir Health services so this provides a convenient location closer to home,” said Knight.  John Muir Health, Berkeley Outpatient Center, 3100 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley 94702. Tel: 510-985-5020. General hours for primary and specialty care will be Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Urgent Care will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Follow John Muir Health on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Palm & Perkins now open in the Elmwood. Genna Gershkow on left, Julia Gordon on right with women artisans. Photo: Palm & Perkins

PALM & PERKINS  A new retail store has opened on College and Ashby in the space formerly occupied by The Collector Art Shop. The store had a soft opening on Mon., April 9 and is still in the process of stocking. An official Grand Opening week is scheduled for June 11- 7. The business has partnerships with makers globally to curate ethical, purposeful and authentic home and lifestyle goods. Co-founders Julia Gordon and Genna Gershkow met in 2017 and discovered they shared a passion for travel and a mutual desire to transform the consumer goods industry through the curation of products with thoughtful design and by nurturing transparent partnerships.

“We started our business in 2017 as an online marketplace and decided to expand to brick and mortar in 2018,” said Gordon. “We’re very excited to be located in the Elmwood neighborhood — we love the community feel and how welcoming everyone has been. That was very important to us — we wanted to be in a place where we could make a community and long-lasting relationships with our neighbors and other merchants.” This is the pair’s first store. Gordon served as a Community Development Volunteer within the CHAAP (Community Health & HIV/AIDS Project) in the Hardap Region of Namibia, and worked as a Group Leader for STRIVE, an organization that provides international community service trips for high school and college students. Gershkow is the former Director of Operations for  GlobeIn, a startup whose mission is to disrupt global poverty through job creation and fair wages. “Palm & Perkins is a thoughtfully curated marketplace of high quality, distinct handmade goods,” said Gordon. “Our store offers a personal shopping experience by creating a connection between the customer and each handmade product we sell. Stop in to find home decor, lifestyle products, or the perfect gift for any occasion. Palm & Perkins, 2950 College (at Ashby), Berkeley Tel: 510-529-4133. Open Mon. – Thurs., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Connect on Facebook and Instagram

The Pet Food Express on University Avenue has closed. Photo: Pet Food Express

PET FOOD EXPRESS The Pet Food Express at 1101 University Ave. (at San Pablo) closed as of April 1. At that location for ten years, the retail chain is looking for a new Berkeley location, according to the owners. Stores in Albany and Oakland remain open. The pet supplies company has 62 stores locations throughout California and has been in business for two decades under the partnership of Mark Witriol and Michael Levy. Corporate offices, Pet Food University and its distribution center are all located in Oakland. No reason was provided by the owners as to why they are closing at this location, but Witriol said, “We are sad to close our store but looking forward to opening a new store in Berkeley soon. Pet Food Express loves Berkeley!” Billing themselves as a pet food supplier with the highest standards, the company’s motto is: “If we won’t feed it to our pets, we won’t sell it for yours.” Pet Food Express, 1095 Monroe St., Albany and 6398 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Visit the website for more information or connect on Facebook and Twitter.


The Copy Central on Telegraph near the UC Campus is now open. Photo: Copy Central

COPY CENTRAL The newest location of Copy Central we reported on for a December Shop Talk is now open for business. The business, on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood, officially opened its doors on April 2. It’s the fourth Copy Central 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. Store manager Laura Smiley said they just love the new location. 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.

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.