Category Archives: Local business

Local business

Bayer HealthCare may expand in West Berkeley

Bayer HealthCare. Image: Flad Architects
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Bayer HealthCare won unanimous approval Thursday from the city of Berkeley’s zoning board to make significant changes at its West Berkeley campus, on Grayson Street, to prepare it to manufacture a new generation of the company’s recombinant DNA treatments for hemophilia.

Bayer spokeswoman Trina Ostrander said in May that the new 3-story facility would house testing operations — on an existing parking area and empty lot — “for various raw materials and final product” related to the treatments.

Berkeleyside wrote about the project, at 801 Grayson St., west of Seventh Street, in May. The project was approved as part of the consent calendar before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday evening. … Continue reading »

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Target to open small city store in downtown Berkeley

Target plans to open a TargetExpress store in downtown Berkeley in March 2015. This is a photo of the first TargetExpress store, which opened in July in Minneapolis. Photo: Target
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Target is coming to town.

The Minneapolis-based retailer is poised to turn a long vacant building at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way into one of its new-concept TargetExpress stores by March 2015. The store will only be 12,000 square feet — compared to the average Target store size of 80,000 square feet — but will sell food, clothing, accessories and consumer electronics that will appeal to students, commuters and downtown’s growing residential population. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Oxtail Studio & Gallery at xxxx Adeline Street (at Ashby). Photo: Oxtail
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OXTAIL STUDIO & GALLERY South Berkeley’s Oxtail Studio & Gallery has been open now for a few months, but not yet reported here. Reader Catherine Sands alerted us to the locally owned art shop and studio space that focuses on promoting Bay Area makers. Sands describes it as “delightful.” You’ll find prints, jewelry and ceramics there, as well as greeting cards, textiles, original artwork and other handmade goods, all of which are independently produced. Oxtail is owned by siblings Kingston and Serena Lim, who were born and raised in Berkeley, and UC Berkeley grad Jessie Zechnowitz. Oxtail also offers studio-residency opportunities for those looking to produce and sell their work in one place. Writing on Oxtail’s website, the owners say: “We enjoy a diversity of styles – from playful line drawings to elegant oil paintings, and rusty garden sculpture to hand-sewn bags. We love to see raw, rustic naturalism beside by bold, simple color and design.” As for why they chose the name “Oxtail,” the Lim siblings say it came from the wholesome soul food that they enjoyed as youngsters, specifically oxtail stew. Oxtail Studio is at 2976 Adeline St. at Ashby in Berkeley. Visit its website, and connect with Oxtail on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Townie in Berkeley

Mussels with chorizo and white wine, Townie in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Diners have a cool, new option in Berkeley with the opening last month of Townie, at 1799 University Ave., in what was for decades Caffe Venezia until it closed last year. The interior has gotten a major overhaul and Chef Dana Ryan is at the helm of this small plates New American restaurant at Grant Street, not far from downtown Berkeley.

The menu is small, but features one hit after another, using seasonal ingredients and what the owners describe as “the highest quality meats and seafood.” Potato croquettes, the garlic cheese toast and the mussels with chorizo and white wine were some of the favorites during a recent meal. … Continue reading »

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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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