Category Archives: Local business

Terry Sellards, former editor of the Berkeley Gazette

Terry Sellards, former editor of The Berkeley Gazette
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A memorial service is planned in San Francisco for Terry Sellards, 76, former executive editor of the Berkeley Gazette and Richmond Independent and a long-time communications consultant in the Bay Area.

His memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at St. Agnes Church, 1025 Masonic Ave., in San Francisco.  Mr. Sellards died of heart failure on March 5 at Kaiser Hospital San Francisco.

Born in 1937, Mr. Sellards had a varied and far-flung career in journalism, publishing, and politics.  He was associated with the Berkeley Gazette for fourteen years, was also the editor of an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, and was a founding editor of Endangered Species magazine in Australia. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to consider restricting large drugstores, future of proposed Solano Ave. Walgreens store in the balance

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Berkeley is set to consider whether to limit the number of larger drugstores in the city, at least in certain neighborhoods, which may put a halt to disputed plans by Walgreens to open a new store on upper Solano Avenue.

The issue will be discussed at the city’s Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, March 19.

If the commission, a citizen’s group that advises the Berkeley City Council, approves drugstore zoning recommendations proposed by city staff, it will move Berkeley closer to legally prohibiting the proposed new Walgreens — a project that set in motion the city’s renewed examination of chain drugstore locations. … Continue reading »

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Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel files for bankruptcy

Photo: Michael Layefsky
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Pacific Steel Castings, based in west Berkeley since 1934, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Oakland on Monday. Pacific Steel, one of the largest independent steel casting companies in the U.S., has 410 employees in three separate plants at the eight-acre site off Gilman Street. There are no immediate layoffs or interruptions in payment of wages or pensions.

The company hopes the bankruptcy proceedings will enable it to restructure its liabilities and remain in operation, possibly under a different owner from the Genger family which is in its fourth generation of ownership. Pacific Steel makes carbon, low-alloy and stainless steel castings for U.S. and international customers, largely for heavy-duty trucks and construction equipment.  … Continue reading »

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Local business

Neighbors stop a new Starbucks opening in Berkeley

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A mobilized, vocal group of South Berkeley neighbors, working in concert with local merchants, has prevented a Starbucks from opening in South Berkeley.

Berkeley’s City Council voted Tuesday, March 11, to deny Starbucks an administrative use permit for a 2,063-square-foot space at 3001 Telegraph Ave., at the southeast intersection with Ashby. Council members made the vote after hearing from dozens of local residents and business owners that such a high-customer-volume coffee shop would increase traffic congestion and exacerbate what they described as an already taxing parking situation. The denial came in spite of the fact that the original application from Starbucks was approved by city staff one year ago tomorrow.

Starbucks’ argument, that parking would not be unduly impacted — supported by two separate independent parking studies commissioned by the company — and its contention that many of its customers and employees would be arriving on foot, failed to win the upper hand after more than three hours of discussion. The coffee shop chain also came to the table with promises to move an AC Transit bus stop north across the intersection of Ashby and Telegraph to provide new parking opportunities, and lease three additional spaces in the Chevron gas station lot kitty-corner to the new store. But it was to no avail. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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CUGINI MANZONE Giuseppe and Michele Manzone opened Cugini Manzone last Thursday night in at 2930 College Ave. in the Elmwood. The restaurant features an Italian wood-fired oven for thin-crust pizza and calzone (the Manzones are also cooking eggplant parmesan and roast chicken in the wood-fired oven), as well as a full menu of Italian antipasti and pastas. The restaurant is only open for dinner at the moment (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.), but plans to open for lunch and mid-afternoon snacks soon. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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TAYLORBLUE Home design studio Taylorblue is now up and running in its new store at 2911 Claremont Avenue (at Domingo) in the 1913 firehouse that was formerly home to Giorgi art gallery (and, more briefly, the Golden Gate Creativity Center). Taylorblue owner Lani Blue Taylor worked out of the San Francisco Design Center under the name The Sherrill Collection for 30 years before relocating to Berkeley. The showroom carries home furnishings and accessories from brands including Sherrill, Hickory White, and Artistica, as well as original works of art. … Continue reading »

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Just 1 Berkeley restaurant on Top 100 Places to Eat list

Pizza from Cheese Board
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Berkeley may be a foodie’s idea of heaven, but just one of the city’s restaurants made it into a recently released Top 100 restaurants in the country ranking — and it’s not the one you probably thought of first.

Move over Chez Panisse, it’s Cheese Board‘s sought-after pizza that puts the collective in the no. 16 spot in the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. list compiled for the first time by Yelp.

The list is is something of a riposte to more elevated rankings like the Michelin Guide, in that it is based on the views of the ordinary man or woman on the street rather than food critics. … Continue reading »

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After 21 years, Tilden merry-go-round to get new operator

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Tilden Park’s cherished antique merry-go-round will continue spinning — but possibly in a different direction.

For the first time in 21 years, the East Bay Regional Parks District could, at its March 18 board meeting, approve new management and operation of the Tilden merry-go-round. This could spell the end of the merry-go-round’s Christmas Fantasy tradition, a month-long holiday extravaganza the current operators began 16 years ago.

Terri Oyarzùn and her family have managed and operated the 103-year-old carousel and its crew of colorful wooden animals since the previous operators retired in 1993. When her second 10-year contract expired last year, and EBRPD put the merry-go-round out to bid, Oyarzùn was among three potential operators who submitted proposals, but hers was not ultimately selected. … Continue reading »

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Farm Burger, Soccer Pro, Road Runner Sports to Berkeley

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A new shopping destination is emerging at the intersection of 10th and Gilman streets in West Berkeley. Three new businesses have just signed leases to move into Gilman Crossings, a commercial hub whose transition was kickstarted by Whole Foods’ decision to move into the area last year.

Soccer Pro and Road Runner Sports are both opening up in the complex formerly known as Gilman Village, and Jason Mann will open the first west coast outlet of Farm Burger, a farm-to-table restaurant that will hopefully incorporate a boutique-style craft brewery. They will join Philz Coffee and Doughnut Dolly as new tenants who have already signed leases. … Continue reading »

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Oldest Volvo dealership in U.S. makes way for Chrysler

A Volvo is parked outside McKevitt Volvo on Shattuck Ave. By the end of the week, Chrysler cars will be on sale. Photo: Frances DInkelspiel
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The McKevitt auto dealership at 2700 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley is doing a reverse course – of sorts.

Starting March 1 it will stop selling Volvos, ending the existence of the longest continuing Volvo dealership in the United States. Instead, it will sell Chrysler cars like Jeeps, Dodge and Ram – much as the dealership did when it first opened in 1926. … Continue reading »

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TCHO Chocolate to move from San Francisco to Berkeley

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TCHO, the high-end chocolate company founded in 2005, will move its entire production and retail facility from San Francisco’s Pier 17 and an East Bay warehouse to 3100 San Pablo Ave. (just south of Ashby) in southwest Berkeley.

The company has signed a 12-year lease, with an option to grow, for 49,000 square feet in the Marchant Building, part of a 395,000-square-foot property consisting of retail, office, R&D, and light industrial space. The move will begin in April.

TCHO’s recently appointed CEO, Andrew Burke, said the move was prompted by the need for more space as the company is growing fast. “We looked extensively for a long time, but could not find the space we needed in San Francisco. The Marchant Building was the ideal mixed-use space –manufacturing/warehouse/retail/office,” he said. The new location is more than 30% larger than the Pier 17 space, which has been the company’s headquarters for the past nine years. … Continue reading »

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New: Bootleg Creamery launches its offbeat flavors

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When Jessica Rollison started making her homemade ice cream available to her friends — who quickly spread the word to their friends — people went crazy for it.

“They would be calling me and saying, ‘I really need more ice cream, it was so good,’” she said. As she packaged up pints of Spiced Chai or Goat Cheese and Blackberry, she joked to her husband that she felt a little like a drug dealer.

Five months after rolling out her flavors and gleaning feedback from those original customers, Rollison has launched Bootleg Creamery, selling hand-packed pints online that are available for delivery or pick-up in the East Bay and San Francisco. Rollison also hopes to open a brick-and-mortar store one day in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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rasa2RASA CAFFE Rasa Caffe, at 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Adeline), had its soft opening on Valentine’s Day and will be open intermittently between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. until its official opening on Saturday March 1. Owner Rasa Sun Mott said the soft opening was principally to thank the new business’s crowdsourced backers and the local community. Mott, an Oakland native and the son of two high-profile Black Panther activists, raised $16,252 on Kickstarter to help him open the new coffee shop. As we reported in October 2013, Bicycle Coffee is being served (sweet spiced coffee with nutmeg is a speciality), as well as chai from his own recipe, and a selection of locally sourced pastries. Rasa Caffe is in the former Alchemy Café space, and part of the Firehouse Art Collective complex; Mott intends to collaborate with the group for events. The café will be featuring prints by artist Emory Douglas for its opening. … Continue reading »

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