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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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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley business

The Sundays on Telegraph street festival runs through Sept. 21 in Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman
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TELEGRAPH MERCHANTS MEET NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Members of the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID) gathered June 29 to meet their new executive director, Stuart Baker, and to discuss ways to improve the stretch of Telegraph between Bancroft Way and Dwight Way. Baker introduced himself to the group of 15-20 merchants who attended and invited them to get in touch with him with any ideas or concerns regarding TBID. They also announced that Sundays on Telegraph, the weekly summer street festival, will be limited to seven weeks this year. (Last year it ran for 11 weeks). Matthew Taecker of Taecker Planning and Design spoke to the group in a presentation outlining possible steps to make the Telegraph area more pedestrian-friendly and welcoming. Some of the suggestions included raised planters, informational installations describing the history of the area and painting the street, sidewalks, and crosswalks in bright colors. The Telegraph Business Improvement District is a non-profit that sponsors local events and advocates for positive change along Telegraph Avenue.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Phoenix Gym
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PHOENIX GYM OPENING Phoenix Gym opened its doors in West Berkeley this month. Phoenix Gym offers personal training and group bootcamps for all fitness goals and levels of expertise. Owner Kelly Mills plans to add more class times based on neighborhood interest and availability. “Moving into our own space has been nerve-wracking but really fun and exciting,” Mills said. The gym is in soft opening model in preparation for its mid-July grand opening, and is currently available for classes or training sessions. Sign up for personal training or a bootcamp at Phoenix Gym’s website, or by phone: 415-260-1112. Phoenix Gym is located at 1390 10th St., one block south of Gilman Street.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

caption. Photo: PocketMe
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POCKETME STUDIO POPS UP A Berkeley couple opened their startup PocketMe’s first portrait studio in Downtown Berkeley last month. PocketMe offers customers a 3D full body portrait of themselves. The studio uses 72 cameras to take pictures of the subject from all angles, and PocketMe sends the 3D print-out to the customer. According to the website, a PocketMe can replace or complement photos for family portraits, holiday gifts, wedding cake toppers, keepsakes of grandparents, graduation portraits, fashion shoots, video game models and more. The couple is testing the local market for interest and hopes to expand. “We live in Berkeley so we wanted to start up in Berkeley and figure out where to go from here,” said co-founder Allison Saloner. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest so far. A lot of people have stopped in to see what we’re doing, and a lot have ordered their own PocketMe.” The studio is located at 2225 Shattuck Ave. (at Kittredge). It is open Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday through Friday by appointment. Schedule an appointment online or by phone at 510-900-1441.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Himalayan Handicraft
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ALCATRAZ ALLEY GRAND OPENING Nine shops on Alcatraz Avenue are coming together for a Grand Opening on May 28 from 3-6 p.m. Many of the businesses, found along the stretch of Alcatraz west of Adeline Street, are new or have revamped their style. “We thought it was time for a Grand Opening – a big get-together to celebrate the diverse businesses,” said Jess McCarter, co-founder of the Easy Creole restaurant. To facilitate the event, the block of Ellis Street between Harmon and Alcatraz will be closed to traffic, and an array of artists, performers, and activities will take over the alley. Passersby will find discounts on food and wares from Empress Vintage, Easy Creole, Ankara StyleGalleria, the Hoi Polloi Brewpub, and Alchemy Collective, as well as bike repairs from the Biketopia Community Workshop. To top it all off, Beats Antique, an experimental fusion and electronic band, will perform at the event. The Grand Opening will be held on Ellis Street between Alcatraz Avenue and Harmon Street on Thursday, May 28 from 3-6 p.m. Read more about the event on its Facebook page.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Waterside Workshops is a community bicycle sop and youth education program  oeprating since 2007.  Photo: Waterside Workshop
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WATERSIDE WORKSHOPS The West Berkeley community bike store and education center is opening a new bike repair shop and has a newly renovated rental shop. It will hold a Grand Opening to showcase both on Saturday, May 30, 12-6 p.m. at 84 and 90 Bolivar Drive. The event will also serve as a bike drive: bring a bike to donate and receive a gift card from Waterside Workshops’ list of sponsors. Waterside Workshops began offering wooden boat building and bike mechanics classes for local youth in 2007, and expanded to include a bicycle store and rental facility in the following years.”The creation of Waterside Workshops served a two-fold purpose, addressing the need for vocational training as a part of a healthy community and revitalizing a highly under-used urban park,” the organization states on their webpage. The weekly Public Shop event where mechanics assist attendees in fixing their own bikes, will take place in the new building at 90 Bolivar Drive. Retail sales and bike rentals will continue to operate from the old site at 84 Bolivar Drive (between Addison and Bancroft). Visit the Waterside Workshops website and connect with them on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Last days at Scrapbook Territory which closed on Sunday May 3, 2015. Photo: Scrapbook Territory
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SCRAPBOOK TERRITORY CLOSES  Arts and crafts supply store Scrapbook Territory on Fourth Street has closed after 12 years. Its last day was Sunday May 3. The store’s owners explained why they were shuttering on their Facebook page: “Well, I wish it weren’t so,” they wrote, “but our sales are below 50% of what they once were. Combine that with the number of scrapbooking companies that have gone out of business, and it’s just too hard to maintain a 4,000 sq ft store.” Before they closed for good, the store attracted crowds with a 50%-off sale and discounts across the board. Fans posted on Facebook about how sad they were to see the place go. Best scrapbook store ever! You will be missed,” wrote Jeth Gold. Scrapbook Territory was at 1717A Fourth St., Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Marvel and Co. reopened in April and now carries dresses and shirts from Dosa, a designer line.
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MARVEL AND COMPANY Marvel and Company, which reopened this month after a makeover, sells an array of high-end, vintage home decor items, linen, and collectible trinkets from around the world. But the main feature of the store is the clothes from Dosa, a Los Angeles-based designer line. Handmade from cotton, linen, and silk from India, the skirts, dresses, and shirts are priced between $200 and $500. Owner Marsha Guerrero said she strove to build a quaint atmosphere reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie when she renovated an old massage parlor to create the store. The store is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or by appointment. Marvel and Company is at 1443 University Ave. (between Sacramento and Acton streets).Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Getaround
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GETAROUND LAUNCHES IN BERKELEY  Car-sharing service Getaround, described as Airbnb for cars, has just launched in Berkeley. A peer-to-peer car sharing company based in San Francisco, Getaround says it has been building up a community in Berkeley for the past few weeks and has had a great response. “We have close to 100 owners sharing their cars in Berkeley and Oakland and close to 10,000 renters,” said spokeswoman Hailley Griffis. Like Airbnb, Getaround works through its app: if you’re looking to use a car, you search for one nearby, enter your license and credit card numbers, and, once you’ve found it, book and unlock the car with your phone. (The car key will be waiting for you in the visor.) Sign-up is free, with no monthly or annual fees and all rentals include insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Typical charges might be $5.50 an hour for a 2008 Smart Car, $7 an hour for a 2014 Toyota Prius, or $20 an hour for a 2012 Model S Tesla. Cars are vetted before being accepted into the service, and renters can rate cars (the ability for car owners to rate renters is coming, said Griffis). Getaround says car owners make an average of $500/month sharing their car, and that the service will result in fewer cars on Berkeley streets, as studies have shown that each shared car takes 10-13 cars off the road. Visit Getaround’s website for details. Connect with them on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Inside the Addison Yoga Loft. Photo: Anna Volfes
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NEW: ADDISON YOGA LOFT Opening March 23, Addison Yoga Loft is the newest yoga studio to settle in West Berkeley. Sharing the same building with the new Highwire Coffee shop, which recently bought Local 123, Addison Yoga Loft will offer a variety of yoga classes from Ashtanga Flow to Prenatal. “I’m in love with the sense of community Berkeley has,” said owner Anna Volfe. “There is such a positive creative spirit in the city.” The Loft will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and it offers a new student intro package — three classes for $20 — as well as a free beginner yoga class at noon every first Saturday of the month. Addison Yoga Loft is at 2051 San Pablo Ave. (between University Avenue and Addison Street).
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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Sutter Health East Bay Medical Foundation opened a new clinic in 2500 Milvia St. on Jan. 26. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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NEW: SUTTER HEALTH BERKELEY CARE CENTER  Sutter Health opened a new clinic in the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center/Herrick campus on Jan. 26. The new center houses pediatric, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology departments, as well as lab services and some imaging, according to a Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation press release. The urgent-care clinic is also open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Sutter Health Berkeley Care Center is at 2500 Milvia St. (at Dwight Way).Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Kaffa Ethiopian Restaurant. Photo: Kate Williams
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NEW: KAFFA ETHIOPIAN CUISINE Kaffa, the popular Ethiopian vendor who sells vegan food at the South Berkeley farmers market, now has a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Sacramento Street. Open Tuesday to Sunday, Kaffa has a short menu, selling nothing but a large, medium and small plate, and a side dish called sambusa. But in the very short time it has been open, Kaffa and its owner have received high marks on Yelp: “It’s as if you’re sitting down in her kitchen and she cooks you up a meal,” says Elli N. describing the experience of eating there. Kaffa Ethiopian Restaurant is at 2987 Sacramento St. (at Ashby Avenue).Continue reading »

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