Category Archives: Local business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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There’s an exciting new sports retail hub emerging in North West Berkeley around San Pablo Avenue and Gilman Street. A cycling/triathlon and a cycling bag store are moving in, both close to the emerging Gilman Crossings development which will include a soccer shop and a running store. Gilman Crossings developer Matt Holmes of Retail West says it’s all part of a plan to create a community of sports enthusiasts in the area, which is also close to the Tom Bates soccer fields, Harrison Park, Berkeley Skate Park, and bay trails.

BEYOND AERO A new store focusing on cycling and triathlon is getting ready to open at 1411 San Pablo Ave. (one block south of Gilman) in a newly renovated space. Beyond Aero will cater to cyclists and triathletes of all levels and abilities, and is scheduled to be ready mid-May. Expect to see bikes on offer from brands like Cervélo (pictured above), Boardman, and Guru (pictured left), as well as apparel, parts, and accessories. Beyond Aero will also offer a full-service bicycle repair center, and a fit center. Owner Andres Douzoglou told Berkeleyside he is very excited to be opening the store. “We’re new residents to the area (two years) and have loved every second of our time spent here and have no intentions of moving. The Bay Area has the country’s healthiest, most diverse, and inclusive cycling and triathlon communities and we’re thrilled to be in the center of it.” Douzoglou added that he is hoping to foster a retail environment in which people can find what they need while “incorporating the community feel we all enjoy while out on the road or at the races.” For more information about Beyond Aero, visit Beyond Aero online. … Continue reading »

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Parking lot war at 1414 University in Berkeley heats up; owner attempts to fence off competing businesses

The owner of this parking lot at 1414 University Ave. does not want adjacent businesses using it. She sent a construction crew to erect a fence on Wednesday. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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The owner of the building at 1414 University Ave. attempted to install a fence Tuesday along the parking lot that she gained exclusive rights to in a contentious lawsuit last year. The fence would have blocked off access from the lot into a string of businesses known as Strawberry Walk.

Employees of Strawberry Walk, which borders the parking lot, arrived at work to find a contractor drilling holes in front of their sidewalk in preparation to install a 5-foot diamond-link fence. A Strawberry Walk tenant alerted the building’s landlord, Cecile Isaacs, who came to the site and asked the worker to show her his construction permit. When he said he didn’t have a building permit, Isaacs asked him to stop construction and called the city. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s long-shuttered UC Theatre to get new life

UC Theater rendering
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For the last seven years David Mayeri has had a dream: to refurbish the old UC Theatre on University Avenue, which has been closed since 2001, and re-open it as a state-of-the art concert venue.

Mayeri, the former chief operating officer of BGP, the successful concert company started by Bill Graham, has come tantalizingly close over the years to pulling off the project. He got city approval to refurbish the 1,400-seat landmarked theater in 2009 and seed money from the now deceased millionaire music lover Warren Hellman. … Continue reading »

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After a West Berkeley blaze, praise for the firefighters

from roof 2
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Eric Gellerman, owner of The Wooden Duck furniture store, says he has nothing but thanks for the firefighters who fought the blaze that engulfed a building on Second Street in West Berkeley on Saturday night.

The store’s warehouse is “a total loss,” he said Sunday. However, The Wooden Duck’s showroom and store, which fronts Eastshore Highway, was saved. Gellerman said it turned out that the wall between the store and the warehouse was 3 to 4 feet thick and held the flames at bay.

“Even the firefighters were amazed,” he said Sunday, while he and others mopped up water at the scene. “Apparently there were three ‘old-timers’ from Fire Station 7 in the Berkeley Hills to whom we owe a debt of gratitude,” he said. … Continue reading »

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West Berkeley fire causes $5 million in damage, destroys 20 artisan businesses

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 12.17.36 PM
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The huge fire that ripped through a building on Second Street in West Berkeley on Saturday night not only affected well-known businesses like Import Tile and The Wooden Duck, but destroyed the livelihood of more than 20 artisans.

The business condominium at 1802 Second St. that was destroyed was home to a collective of small artisans and craft builders who shared a woodworking shop, a metal fabrication shop, computer-controlled machinery and large work areas, according to Joshua Goldberg, who put together the space in 2005. He is also the owner of Joshua Tree Furniture, which was completely destroyed by the five-alarm fire.

“I am sort of overwhelmed with grief right now,” Goldberg said Sunday morning. “It’s 20 people’s livelihoods.” … Continue reading »

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Local business

4 Berkeley businesses, including Wooden Duck, Import Tile damaged in 5-alarm warehouse fire

The fire on Saturday night Photo: Davoud Kermaninejad
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This breaking news story was updated as more information became available. Watch this feed on Twitter — no account needed — for live updates. Frances Dinkelspiel, of Berkeleyside, reported from the scene. Scroll down for a video of the fire taken by freeway travelers. We posted an update Sunday, April 13, shortly before noon.

Update, April 13, 12:10 p.m.: The Wooden Duck reports via Facebook that it will be closed Sunday but “hopefully reopening tomorrow. Our San Rafael store will be open 12-5. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers as we push through this rough road. We will release more information about our reopening as soon as possible.”

Update, April 13, 12:33 a.m.: The Wooden Duck reports that it was not destroyed in Saturday night’s 5-alarm fire, as some media have reported, although Joshua Tree Furniture was destroyed, as well as a warehouse for Import Tile. No injuries were reported. The Wooden Duck posted the following message on Berkeleyside.

The fire that we experienced tonight was in our BACK WAREHOUSE not in the store and factory buildings. The store building was untouched and we’re not sure if the factory building sustained damaged from fire or water as we couldn’t go into it tonight. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Cal Day 1
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CAL DAY This year, Cal Day‘s theme is “One day. A million stories,” but it should probably be “One day. A million things to do.” The annual UC Berkeley open house is filled with lectures, tours, family-friendly events and information sessions for prospective students. Highlights include an exhibit featuring “the most disgusting animal on earth,” a panel of Cal’s Nobel laureate professors, and a student fine-art sale. The campus will be abuzz with activity beginning 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 12. For full details, visit Cal Day 2014 online. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Save the Frogs
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THE SHOP We told you about new barber shop going into old Kids’ Dynamo space on Shattuck last month. The Shop is now open at 1481 Shattuck Ave. next to Saul’s Deli. It’s the second barber shop for owner Dustin Clark who has another location in Petaluma. The Shop offers cuts for men, women and kids. They also do color, highlights, deep conditioning, and waxing.  Open 7 days a week, no appointments are needed. Just walk-in, or call ahead to get your name on the list. The Shop Cuts for Men & Women, 1481 Shattuck Ave. Tel: 510-524-1258. … Continue reading »

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Comal owners get OK for new Berkeley restaurant

A “very preliminary” rendering of the restaurant that has been approved for 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) by the owners of  Comal. Image: Abueg Morris Architects
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Fans of Comal in downtown Berkeley can look forward to a new restaurant from its owners, John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman, after the Berkeley City Council last night denied an appeal filed by a neighborhood group that argued the new business would create increased parking headaches in the area.

Those who opposed a restaurant moving into the old Wright’s Garage space at 2635 Ashby Ave. were outnumbered by dozens of supporters. Council had received more than 100 letters from residents, many of whom live within walking distance of the Elmwood shopping district. In emails, and also in public testimony, they spelled out how much they would appreciate having an upscale restaurant and bar with late opening hours in their neighborhood.

Denise Pinkston, for example, said she moved to the Elmwood with her family recently from North Berkeley because she wanted to live in “a vibrant, walkable mixed-use neighborhood.”

“I think a place open to midnight would be wonderful,” she said. “I’m 53 still stay up past 10 p.m., but feel like an octogenarian because there is nowhere to go in the evening with my husband and friends after the movies or theater.” … Continue reading »

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Telegraph Ave. scrubbed, cleaned in beautification effort

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The deployment of neon-clad “ambassadors” to paint over graffiti, power-wash streets, and sweep sidewalks along Telegraph Avenue is the latest in a series of attempts to revitalize a business district which has seen better days.

The “Big Splash” effort by Kentucky-based firm Block by Block began March 14, kicking off a year-long, $240,000 ambassador pilot program on Telegraph. Ambassadors have been engaged in a similar revitalization effort in downtown Berkeley since early 2012.

Telegraph Avenue — cherished by some for its political history and quirky institutions, and avoided by others for its large transient population and public drug use — has faced steep declines in sales tax revenue over the past several years. Rat-infested empty lots and graffiti-covered vacant storefronts have not helped the situation. … Continue reading »

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Fairmont group and Richard Blum buy Claremont Hotel

The Claremont Hotel & Resort has been purchased by the  Fairmont hotel group and Richard Blum, the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein Photo: Paula Steele
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Richard Blum, the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein and a member of  the UC Board of Regents, has joined forces with FRHI Hotels & Resorts to purchase the Claremont Hotel and Spa.

Blum and the Fairmont group closed the deal on March 21, a few weeks later that initially expected. Terms of the deal were not announced. … Continue reading »

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Sacramento Street clean-up efforts continue in Berkeley

A photo simulation of Creekwood, a new restaurant in development on Sacramento Street. Image: The Kastrop Group, Inc.
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A push to clean up and improve Sacramento Street, driven by Berkeley city staff as well as local residents and merchants, continues to gain momentum.

Last week, staff from the city’s Office of Economic Development met with community members to provide an update about public safety, commercial growth and beautification efforts that are part of the city’s plan to address some of the neighborhood’s chronic problems. … Continue reading »

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Commission votes to restrict large drugstores in Berkeley

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Regulation to limit the number of large drugstores in Berkeley was approved by the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday night, sending the proposed zoning change to the City Council for a final decision.

If approved by the City Council, the law would prohibit a controversial new Walgreens from locating on 1830 Solano Avenue, currently the site of a 76 gas station. It would also make it difficult for new drugstores to locate in several of the city’s neighborhood shopping areas. The vote was five in favor, one opposed, and two abstentions.

It could take a couple of months for the item to be ready for the council’s agenda, said city planner Alex Amoroso, planning commission secretary. … Continue reading »

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