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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Gorgeous and Green
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WILLIAM STOUT CLOSES/RELOCATES Architectural bookstore William Stout has closed its Berkeley store, at 1605 Solano Ave., and is merging the business with its publishing arm on the Richmond waterfront. Owner Bill Stout told Berkeleyside the North Berkeley store never really met his expectations. “Moving means we can consolidate our inventory and service our mail-order customers quicker,” he said. Stout, whose flagship store has operated on Montgomery Street in San Francisco for more than 40 years, opened the Berkeley store in fall 2010. At the time, Bill Stout said he chose Berkeley because of the store’s publishing collaboration with UC Berkeley, and because he saw the Solano district as being “a more vibrant residential neighborhood than where we are now.” Stout also homed in on Berkeley because he believed there were more bibliophiles in the East Bay. “In San Francisco an interest in books is dying,” he said in 2010. Stout is hopeful that this latest decision”should be a good move.” William Stout‘s East Bay outpost is now at 1328 South 51st St., Richmond. Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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BAUBLES & BEADS TO CLOSE Baubles & Beads in North Berkeley will be closing its store, probably in March, after 25 years of serving the city. Owners Lisa and Jim Kaufman say the reason is partly due to rising expenses. As they write in a letter to customers: “We have struggled with this decision since the recession of 2009, the closing of our San Rafael location in 2012, and again today with rising costs of rent and operational costs. The success of our website, BaublesAndBeads.com, allowed us to keep our Berkeley bead shop open over the past several years. The decision to close the store was never taken lightly as we fully understand the impact it will have on the local beading community.” Meantime, there are lots of discounts being applied to merchandise. Baubles & Beads is at 1676 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709  Tel: 510 644-BEAD. Connect with Baubles & Beads on Facebook for updates.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Totally Rad Gallery: opened on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. Photo: Totally Rad Gallery
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TOTALLY RAD ART GALLERY A new art gallery has opened on San Pablo Avenue in the old Leslie’s Ceramics building. Totally Rad, run by Amber Mueller, is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary works by emerging local and national artists. On Jan. 9, 6-9 p.m., there will be an opening reception for the gallery’s new exhibition, “Daft Affect: “Dear Volunteers” showing work by Tra Bouscaren and John Schlesinger. Totally Rad Gallery is at 1212 San Pablo Ave. ( at Harrison St.). Connect with the gallery through its website and on Facebook.  … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

The owners of Premier Cru, a high-end wine store on University Ave., have shuttered the shop. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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PREMIER CRU SHUTS ITS DOORS Premier Cru, the subject of numerous lawsuits over the alleged non-delivery of wine, has shut the doors of its retail store at 1011 University Ave. “We have transitioned to ONLINE SALES only,” reads a sign on the front door. “We apologize for the inconvenience.” The sign says to email pickups@premiercru.net to schedule a time to pick up past orders. The closure is only the latest blow for the high-end wine business owned by Fox Ortega Enterprises, a corporation formed by John Fox and a partner. Premier Cru moved its operations from Emeryville to Berkeley in 2011 and opened a 29,000-square foot, state-of-the-art wine shop designed by architect David Trachtenberg. Premier Cru sold wine through the store, but conducted much of its business through online sales. There is currently $130,000 in unpaid taxes on the building and it has been listed for sale. Gordon Commercial is offering the property, made up of three parcels and three buildings for $6.8 million (down from $7.5m). In late October, Berkeleyside reported that seven people had filed numerous lawsuits claiming they were owed more than $3 million. The plaintiffs all said that they had purchased wine from Premier Cru that had never been delivered. Since then, numerous disgruntled customers have come forward and contacted Berkeleyside and other news outlets to report similar issues. Others have filed additional lawsuits as well. The owner, Fox, did not respond to a request for a comment. Some unhappy customers have been given refunds. Andrew Matarese, a 25-year-old wine aficionado from New Jersey, received a $12,000 refund from Premier Cru shortly after Berkeleyside ran its article. However, other customers have been repeatedly promised refunds but have received nothing. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk Spotlight: Grove Salon and Blow-Dry Bar

The salon offers a special glass-walled ventilated room for keratin treatments. Photo: Grove Salon
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[This story is sponsored by Grove Salon. Visit Grove Salon’s website for more information.]

Once people discover Grove Salon on Solano Avenue, they often don’t want to leave — literally.

“It’s not uncommon for clients to ask if they can stay longer even after their service is complete,” says Christina Lameraner, who opened the stylish salon and blow-dry bar last year with her husband, Chris Speer.

“They say it’s because of how much they enjoy the experience of being in such a vibrant, yet peaceful space and the genuine and warm service they receive,” she adds.

As one client put it: “Christina has created an oasis on Solano.” … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

side view of the Claremont Resort & Spa
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NEW RESTAURANT AT CLAREMONT HOTEL Twenty months after the Fairmont hotel group, FRHI Hotels & Resorts, acquired the Claremont, its multi-million dollar renovation is complete. The hotel (which has a Berkeley zipcode but is technically in Oakland) announced this week that Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn (who runs Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn, both in San Francisco), will oversee a new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by the Paragon, when it reopens in 2016. Eater SF reports that it will be a French brasserie named Antoinette. The hotel and resort’s new owners, who include Richard Blum, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, renovated 276 guest rooms (designed by Gensler), created a new Presidential Suite, and added a bar and tea room off the new, modern lobby. Now that the 100-year old hotel meets the Fairmont’s standards, it also has a new name: Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

YJM Photography and Gallery of Fine Arts. Photo: Yves Mozelsio
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NEW: GALLERY OF FINE ARTS Yves Mozelsio has just opened YJM Photography and Gallery of Fine Arts at 1865 Solano Ave. (a few doors west of the Oaks Theater in the former KNA Copy Center). Monday was the first day for the gallery which, Mozelsio says, he opened as a way to provide people with an alternative to online shopping, as well as a space for him to continue practicing his photography (a third of the space is devoted to his photography studio). The gallery has a lovely turn-of-the-century style décor, with Mozelsio’s personal collection of European paintings (dating from 1850-1950) on the walls. The gallery sells paintings by local artists and Mozelsio himself, sculptures by Mozelsio’s uncle, and 11 Queen Anne-style cases of jewelry, mostly silver, crafted by local jewelers. “This is a dream space for me,” said Mozelsio shortly after he made his first sale of a bracelet to his first customer. He said he hoped he has created a feel-good environment for people to enjoy, surrounded by wonderful art. He is happy to hear from local artists who might want to collaborate. Connect with YJM Photography on Facebook. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Gina Fiorentino, assistant director
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TERRA FIRMA GALLERY: RELOCATED Terra Firma Gallery has moved from the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa to Shattuck Avenue in the Gourmet Ghetto. The gallery specializes in contemporary African art and features, among other things, a collection of Shona sculpture from Zimbabwe and works by “Smithsonian acclaimed painter” Wosene Worke Kosrof, who will be giving a talk about newly released paintings at the gallery on the evening of Nov. 12. There are also museum-quality masks, colorful Zulu wire baskets, as well as the work of several Bay Area artists. Terra Firma Gallery is at 1801 Shattuck Ave. (between Hearst and Delaware), Suite B. Tel: 510-486 9050. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Susan Scott stands in Hatch, the home store she and her husband Ashesh Patel recently opened on College Avenue near Alcatraz Avenue. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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AMAZON TO OPEN TWO BRICK AND MORTAR LOCATIONS IN BERKELEY Amazon is moving to Berkeley in a big way by opening two locations – one a store on the UC Berkeley campus and the other a distribution center in West Berkeley. The store, part of Amazon’s roll out of campus pick-up points, will be located near the new ASUC center on the UC Berkeley campus, according to university officials.  The idea is to smooth delivery of packages to students who live in dorm rooms or who are on the go. Students can specify that a package goes to the Berkeley store, and they can pick it up from a clerk or request a combination for a locker so they can go by on off-hours. The store will be on the Upper Sproul Plaza level, according to Emily Marthinsen, an assistant vice-chancellor for physical and environmental planning. Amazon has also signed a letter of intent to lease 20,000 square feet in the old Marchant Buiding on San Pablo Avenue, according to Darrell de Tienne, whose de Tienne Associates is expediting the permitting process. The building, which straddles Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville, is right near the freeway, which is perfect for Amazon’s business, he said. The company has applied for a construction permit to fix up the space, which has the address of 1000 Folger Ave., said de Tienne. It will be a distribution center. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Photo: Mid Century Møbler
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MID CENTURY MØBLER OPENS Furniture store Mid Century Møbler has opened in Berkeley (on Ashby Avenue near Orchard Hardware and Looking Glass Photo), having relocated from a small warehouse in San Francisco’s Mission district. Owned by Julian Goldklang, the store specializes in importing vintage Danish Modern and authentic 1950s and 1960s furniture. All its inventory is hand-selected on quarterly buying trips to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, England and Scotland. According to marketing director Tomas Hemstad, the 7,500-square-foot showroom makes the store the largest supplier of vintage furniture in Northern California. Hemstad says that, though they loved San Francisco, the four partners who run the business wanted to continue to grow the company in a location that had “a strong existing design community and more space to expand physically.” “We wanted our new location to be a space where customers could easily come and browse our huge collection. Our new shop also provides a massive space to hold events and workshops, which will be regular happenings in the coming months,” he said. Mid Century Møbler is at 1065 Ashby Ave., Berkeley 94710. Current hours are Friday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and by appointment the rest of the week. Connect with the store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Flora Arte opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in June. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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FLORA ARTE Recently opened at 2070 Martin Luther King Jr. Way is cute-looking flower and gift shop Flora Arte. The store sells plants and flowers, including dried flowers, and has a small nursery adjacent to its building which supplies the shop. They will make bouquets to order and there is also a selection of gifts on offer, such as homemade candles. No website or Facebook page yet, and the store’s Instagram account has yet to post a photo. Meantime, you can drop by or reach them by telephone on 510-910-9221. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Peets on Domingo
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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. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Nature's Express has closed. Photo: Nature's Express
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VANISHING ACT FOR NATURE’S EXPRESS The vegan eatery Nature’s Express, which has been in flux for two and a half years, has moved out of its location at 1823 Solano Ave. but is promising to return “close by” soon, according to its Facebook page. The store’s last day was July 16. In December 2013, longtime owner Carl Myers announced he was shuttering the healthy fast-food joint. But an outpouring of support let Myers keep the store open. The restaurant still struggled, losing $10,000 to $28,000 a month, and Myers shut it unexpectedly in July 2014. A new management team bought the business and stepped in, raised some cash, and managed to keep the restaurant afloat. “Things at the restaurant are going well,” Josh Levine, the new manager, wrote in a blog post in September 2014. “We have a new lease, food is coming out well, the team is amazing, and we are all having fun! The customers love us again, and though sales have been down since the changeover, morale is up! Because the food is coming out well.” No word on where or when a new Nature’s Express will open. … Continue reading »

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