Category Archives: Local business

Ruby Livingdesign opens on Berkeley’s Fourth Street

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The former Restoration Hardware store on Fourth Street in Berkeley is reopening next week as Ruby Livingdesign, a modern furniture and design store that has three other locations: in San Francisco, Mill Valley and Menlo Park.

The new store will be open Monday, Sept. 1, from noon to 5 p.m. and will serve bubbly all day to celebrate its arrival in Berkeley. It will also have special opening-day deals.

Ruby Livingdesign was founded 10 years ago by Dee Dee and James Littrell. The store stocks high-end lines, such as Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Hickory Chair Furniture,and Environment Furniture. It also offers custom furniture design services.

The 6,000-square-foot store has been remodeled to incorporate galleries with complete room vignettes, according to a statement released by the store. The shop will also feature the work of local artists in its room set-ups. The work of Berkeley-based glass artist Erik Eiserling will be on view in the store when it opens. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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TOPO Abigail Rothacker and her partner have opened a small terrarium and handmade gift shop on University Avenue in Berkeley. Called Topo Terrarium Design, the store features many local artists and is open on Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. “We have partnered with a local jewelry maker and leather worker to start hosting small workshops in our live/work space,” Rothacker said. “We have spent almost two years building our space to make it a functional store, class space, as well as a living space for us and our small daughter in the far back. It is truly a unique set-up.” Topo has also launched a program of monthly classes. Sign up for a Make Your Own Terrarium class on Sat. Sept. 13 (Orbs, plants snacks, wine included — cost $65), or an all-ages Candle-Making Workshop on Oct. 17. Topo is at 1640b University Ave., two blocks east of Sacramento. Connect with Topo on Facebook for updates on classes, and to find out what’s in store. … Continue reading »

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Sports Basement to open Nov. 1 at Berkeley Iceland site

In June, crews began to convert the former Berkeley Iceland property into the building that will house Sports Basement beginning in November. Photo: Ted Friedman
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There are mounds of dirt where once there was ice, and construction crews where there used to be skaters. If work continues on schedule, Sports Basement will open on Nov. 1 at 2727 Milvia Street, the former site of Berkeley Iceland.

The 71,862-square foot building is currently undergoing a seismic upgrade. Heavy construction began in June 2014, with crews building a new roof and new walls on the north and south sides of the building, and beginning rough plumbing and electrical work in the interior.

This is the sixth location for the Bay Area sporting equipment chain, which started in San Francisco in 1998. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

The front of Welcome Stranger in San Francisco. The menswear shop is opening another store at xxxx Ashby Ave. in Berkeley's Elmwood neighborhood. Photo: Welcome Stranger
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WELCOME STRANGER A new menswear store with distinctive buffalo signage is opening in the Elmwood at 2633 Ashby Ave., next door to the Dailey Method in the old Wright’s Garage building. Welcome Stranger SF already has a store on Gough Street in San Francisco, as its name suggests. The store’s wares are described as “upscale, rugged men’s apparel and goods,” and include brands like APC jeans, Barbour jackets, Rag & Bone T-shirts and Battenwear board shorts. Welcome Stranger also sells its own brand of shirts, chinos and waxed jackets. A member of the construction crew working on the build-out said the store was expected to open this week. … Continue reading »

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New Berkeley Spats owners hope for fall opening

Nathan George at Spats. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Walking into Shattuck Avenue Spats in downtown Berkeley, it’s hard to believe it’s been out of operation since 2009. Tables and chairs are still in place, there’s liquor behind the bar. The quirky decor — complete with, among many other touches, taxidermy trophies and a Greco-Roman-styled mannequin woman — appears to be free of dust and ready to entertain once again.

It looks like all it might take is the flip of a switch to get the business running and, with a new team of owners having recently bought the building where Spats operated for decades, the bar may be poised to open again this fall.

Nathan George, a local developer who describes his approach as “Berkeley building Berkeley,” is one partner of about a dozen people who bought 1974 Shattuck Ave. with the goal of reopening Spats under its old name. The team is also exploring, longer term, the possibility of housing on the property. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cask, Café Underwood, Fieldwork Brewing Co.

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Openings, closings…

CASK ON COLLEGE IS OPEN Berkeley has a new upmarket liquor store with the opening of Cask at 3185 College Ave. (pictured above). We told you in March about plans by Future Bars, the group behind San Francisco cocktail bars Bourbon & Branch and Local Edition — as well as the forthcoming Tupper & Reed cocktail bar in the old Beckett’s space in Berkeley — to take over College Avenue Wine Spirits & Deli. The deed is done and, as Tablehooper reports, Cask on College is now up and running. Cask says it specializes “in curating a selection of hard-to-find, unusual, esoteric, and generally tasty wines, spirits, beers, and mixers, along with some interesting books and bar tools. We try our best to select only the best products that we can find, and we offer you our assurance that our buyers have tasted or used every product before they hit the shelves.” Connect with the business on its website and on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Local business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Guitars at Blue Note. Photo- Anne H.
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BLUE NOTE MUSIC After 21 years of service, Blue Note Music, at 2556 Telegraph Ave., is closing down. The store specialized in high-quality new, used and vintage guitars and amplifiers. Workers at Blue Note were trained musicians dedicated to selling — and repairing — quality guitars at discounted prices. The store’s hours were reduced a while back and business has been slow, according to the owner. Employees will still work on an appointment-only basis from an unspecified location on Seventh Street. Tel. 510-644 2583 (Hat tip: Steve Taylor) … Continue reading »

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Animal rights activists smash Star Grocery windows

The window that was vandalized at Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Two FBI agents visited Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue on Monday to investigate a broken window the government believes was smashed by animal rights activists.

The large plate glass window of the market, which has been run by the Pappas family since 1922, was smashed around 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, according to Nick Pappas, the store’s owner. He wasn’t aware of the animal rights connection until the FBI contacted him a few days later, he said. … Continue reading »

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Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel sold to equity firm

Pacific Steel Casting Plant. Photo: Michael Layefsky
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West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel Casting, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, is slated to be sold to a private equity firm for $11.3 million, according to the Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review.

Monday, a judge in Oakland approved the offer from Speyside Equity to purchase the steel parts manufacturing plant. A Pacific Steel spokeswoman told Berkeleyside on Thursday that there had been no other offers.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage regarding Pacific Steel.

Pacific Steel attorney Julie Rome-Banks said in court papers that the company employs 410 people, Dow Jones reported. The company was up for auction earlier this month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Oakland.Continue reading »

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Have you seen this tiny treehouse post office in Tilden?

The Tiny Treehouse at Tilden Park. Photo: Leafcutter Designs
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Have you seen the tiny tree house hidden in the Berkeley hills?

In December, Lea Redmond of Berkeley’s Leafcutter Designs built “The Tiny Tilden Post Office” in a knothole in a tree off the Curran Path in Tilden Park. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley: Vegan, gluten-free Sanctuary Bistro

The Jones Horton Clan, of Sanctuary Bistro in Berkeley. Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Cehn
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Calling all vegan and/or gluten-free residents of Berkeley (that’s at least half the city, no?) a new restaurant is opening just for you. Not a place with a few vegan and gluten-free options on the menu, no. A sit-down restaurant where vegan and gluten-free diners can choose anything on the menu without having to ask what’s in it.

Sanctuary Bistro is its name, and it’s opening Friday, Aug. 1. The restaurant is at 1019 Camelia St. in West Berkeley, in the space that held Sushi Banzai for over 20 years. It’s also not far from a spate of development happening on Gilman Street in expectation of the Whole Foods Market under construction between Ninth and 10th streets.

A husband and wife are behind Sanctuary Bistro, Barry Horton and Jennifer Jones Horton. (They have two small children as well, but they won’t be helping out much in the kitchen.) The pair has run Local Love Vegan Catering for the past five years. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

West Berkeley Philz on Gilman Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Global Exchange logoGLOBAL EXCHANGE REORGANIZED The Global Exchange on the corner of Russell Street and College Avenue recently reorganized its interior to make the store feel more open and better showcase the artwork on sale. The bulky display pieces were taken out to open up floor and wall space, according to lead sales associate Lauren Matley. While it used to feel “cozy, like a marketplace,” the space is now “happy and light,” said Matley. The inventory is also more modern, with less emphasis on tribal crafts. Global Exchange, an international human rights organization “dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world,” has two stores in the Bay Area. The San Francisco store opened in 1989 and the College Avenue store opened in 1991. Both places sell crafts made by artisans from around the world. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Asphalt: New technology will reduce odors

Berkeley Asphalt plant on Virginia St. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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Berkeley Asphalt plans to invest in a new manufacturing process designed to reduce emissions and odors in its West Berkeley neighborhood starting in January, officials announced recently.

Its neighbors have complained about the noise, odors, and pollution from the plant for at least 20 years, most recently in June when a group questioned whether the plant has been violating its use permit with excess odors and noise.

What the company has decided to do is convert to a new technology called “warm-mix” asphalt, which produces paving material at a lower temperature than traditional asphalt, yet performs as well on the road and releases fewer pollutants into the air, according to company officials. The decision was the result of negotiations between the company and city staff that began last year.

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