Category Archives: Local business

Localwise offers community-oriented jobs platform

Localwise's two founders and crew of interns are based out of SkyDeck, UC Berkelely's incubator for start-ups. Picture: LocalWise
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If you’re a local business searching for employees, Localwise may be the place for you. If you’re Starbucks, look elsewhere.

Localwise is the creation of UC Berkeley alums Benjamin Hamlin and Maya Tobias. It’s a job board for local businesses in Oakland and Berkeley, but it seeks to be more than that: its website describes it as “the start of the work local movement.”

Since its inception in January, only local businesses, non-profits and households around the Bay Area are eligible to advertise on Localwise. The platform aims to bridge the gap between job seekers and owners of small, local businesses. Jobs advertised on the site range from full-time positions to internships and gigs.Continue reading »

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Telegraph restaurants, shops face uncertain future

The Village is a smorgasbord of small businesses and restaurants, offering a quiet refuge from Telegraph Ave. Photo: Emily Dugdale
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Tenants at Telegraph Avenue’s The Village may be facing the end of their time at the quaint shopping mall, as a proposed 7-story mixed-use building, which would involve demolishing the complex, awaits approval by the city of Berkeley.

The Village, constructed in 1946 and located at 2556 Telegraph Ave. (at Blake Street), is home to a small, diverse collection of restaurants, offering Japanese, Korean, Swiss and Ethiopian food, among others, each with its own loyal customer-base. Also on site is a longstanding hair salon, and, until recently, a music shop. The Village customers include local residents, business owners, families, and UC Berkeley students, said merchants at the mall.

Noriko Taniguchi, co-owner with her husband of the popular Japanese restaurant Norikonoko located at the entrance to The Village, expressed her frustration and dismay about the pending development.”They didn’t tell us anything,” she told Berkeleyside last week. “We’ll all come together to fight this new building.” … 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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Berkeley’s Ashby Village celebrates fifth year of helping seniors help themselves

At Ashby Village, volunteer Mark Goldman helps Chana Bloch with her computer. Photo: Ashby Village
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As Ashby Village marks its fifth anniversary, no one could be more pleased—or surprised—than co-founders Pat Sussman and Shirley Haberfeld. In 2006, Sussman read an article about Beacon Hill Village in Boston, an organization formed by older people who wanted to stay independent as long as possible. Sussman, having worked as a healthcare administrator, hospice director, and staff and board member of Lifelong Medical Care, knew how challenging it could be for older people to stay socially connected, remain in their homes, get the help they might need, and make their own decisions.

“Let’s start a village,” Sussman said to her longtime friend Haberfeld, an educational psychologist. Haberfeld didn’t hesitate. She’d just gone through a frustrating time of trying to find resources in case her mother moved to town. Sussman and Haberfeld bought a how-to manual from the Beacon Hill group, and got to work. … Continue reading »

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Revolution Books: Berkeley’s radical bookstore relocating

Larry Everest (right) and Reiko Redmonde, have volunteered at Revolution Books for decades. Photo: Emily Dugdale
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Storied progressive Berkeley bookstore Revolution Books hopes to relocate this summer and has launched a crowdsourcing campaign to cover the moving costs.

The 27-year-old bookstore has been described as a “Berkeley institution” by celebrated local poet Robert Hass.

With its all-volunteer staff, and calendar of panel discussions and  programs in venues across Berkeley, the radical store sets itself apart from other independent bookstores in the Bay Area by its emphasis on social change. … Continue reading »

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University Village, Sprouts get (final) green light

A rendering of the new University Village development. Image: courtesy the City of Albany
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The disputed UC Berkeley land next to Albany’s Gill Tract is in contention no more. Last week, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university to build a senior housing development and Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store on San Pablo Avenue in University Village.

Read more on Berkeleyside’s coverage of Occupy the Farm.

The development, on a long-vacant lot next to the Gill Tract research field, has been the site of protests since April 2012 on the part of Occupy the Farm, which has stated that UC Berkeley’s plans would “pave over a rare natural resource” and that the Gill Tract is “public farmland that belongs to the people.”

Stefanie Rawlings, of Occupy the Farm, originally filed a lawsuit against the city of Albany and UC Berkeley that alleged that the city’s approved Environmental Impact Report was deficient. When Rawlings lost the suit, she filed an appeal on the grounds that the report did not lay out appropriate alternatives for the building plan, and that the city did not appropriately consider the alternatives listed. … 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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Berkeley coding school aims to help close tech race gap

Co-founders Bianca Giandolfo and Albrey Brown from Telegraphy Academy. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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While grinding through software coding courses at San Francisco programming school Hack Reactor, Albrey Brown, 24, often found himself as one of the few students of color in the room.

Meanwhile Bianca Gandolfo, 26 — like Brown a Hack Reactor alum and former instructor — used to view software engineering as a career path for “a white guy in a basement by himself.”

Instead of ignoring these realities, as some might, the tech-savvy duo decided to do something about it.

Enlisting Hack Reactor as a partner, the pair has launched Berkeley-based Telegraph Academy, a tech coding school that aims to teach software engineering to under-represented minorities and create a network of tech workers of color.

The first class of students, arriving at the Academy’s bustling Shattuck Avenue location from as far away as Honduras and the East Coast, will fire up their computers on June 29. … Continue reading »

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Urban Air Market hops the bay, lands in Berkeley

A crowd at the Urban Air Market. The San Francisco-based festival is branching out to Berkeley and Oakland locations. Photo: Urban Air Market
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The Urban Air Market, a festival for local designers, is hosting its first East Bay event in Berkeley on Saturday June 20. The Berkeley market, which has been in the works for nearly ten months, will set up shop on Allston Way adjacent to the weekly farmers market on Center Street.

Vendors hail from across the Bay Area and are independent artists, designers, and curators who use environmentally friendly and sustainable practices to create their products. Repurposed hardware, vintage-style, even products scavenged from landfills and reworked as high-end sustainable goods and fashion, are all markers of a UAM vendor. … 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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Books Inc. opens in North Berkeley after move

Books Inc. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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Workers were still putting the final touches to the store’s exterior Monday morning as both local residents and out-of-town visitors explored the new Books Inc. which opened its doors today in North Berkeley.

Books Inc. shut down its smaller store on Fourth Street to move to 1491 Shattuck Ave., the former location of another independent bookstore, Black Oak Books, which closed in 2009. (Black Oak is now at 2618 San Pablo. Ave.)

“The response from the public so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” said manager Schyler Baker at the store today. “Even as we did construction, passerby would stop and pop their heads in to check if we were open yet.”

“This space is bigger, which is very helpful to us,” Baker said. “It allows us to expand our book and magazine selection, especially children’s books and cookbooks.” Continue reading »

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Jittery John’s cold-brew coffee lands in Berkeley

Judy Schlussel (left), who runs sales for Jittery John's, and co-founder Kristina Barnes at the Berkeley production plant the cold-brew coffee company moved into recently. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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When a man accidentally dropped a Viagra pill into his glass of cold-brew coffee recently, then wrote about it on Reddit, a certain Berkeley startup got a lucky break. The man wrote that he had to drink the coffee — pill and all — because the cold brew was just too good to throw away. For Kristina Barnes, co-founder of Jittery John’s, the first sign that her brand had had a moment of viral internet fame was when she noticed a sudden spike in online sales.

“People on Reddit asked the guy which brand of cold brew was so good, and after he told them it was Jittery John’s, it led to lots of new customers,” she said a couple of weeks ago at the cold-brew coffee company’s new West Berkeley production facility. “We couldn’t have asked for better free marketing!”

Marketing is not something the young company has done much of so far. Word of mouth has been the main way people have discovered the rich-tasting coffee concentrate that is sold in sturdy glass bottles evocative of those that held tinctures and tonics in days of old. … Continue reading »

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Shakespeare & Co. closes after 51 years in Berkeley

Shakespeare & Co. on Telegraph Avenue and xxx closed on June 2, 2015. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Shakespeare & Co., a used bookstore that has been operating on Telegraph Avenue since 1964, closed its doors for good this week.

The owner, Jon Wobber, said the store was not earning enough income for the time he was putting in. He made the decision to shutter yesterday, on June 2, and served his last customer before locking the door for the last time around 8 p.m.

The building that houses Shakespeare & Co., at 2499 Telegraph Ave., on the corner of Dwight Way, was bought last year by Telegraph Partners, LLC, which plans to extensively remodel the building. Telegraph Partners managing member Ito Ripsteen said the company was open to the bookstore remaining, said Wobber. But the store would have had to close for three months, so Wobber thought the time was right to close the business. … Continue reading »

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