Tag Archives: Allen Cain

In Berkeley the Blue Glove Crew clean up — at speed

Karen Nierlich shows trash she cleared from a storm drain's grate.
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It all started with a desire to lose weight. Six years ago, Allen Cain, Executive Director of the Solano Avenue Association and Solano Stroll, decided as a New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds, set an example for his daughter, and help tidy up the North Berkeley street at the heart of his organization. How would he do this? With regular power walks/trash pick-up expeditions.

Cain spent roughly three years walking, at a feverish pace, up and then back down Solano, cleaning up en route. Eventually others joined him and, thus, the Blue Glove Crew was born.

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Pete Rosos joined the crew for several of their walks recently, and created the photo essay published here. … Continue reading »

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La Farine on Solano in Berkeley closes abruptly

The La Farine bakery at 1820 Solano Avenue abruptly closed on Tuesday after failing to negotiate a new lease with its landlord. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The La Farine bakery at 1820 Solano Ave. in North Berkeley abruptly shut its doors Tuesday, July 1, after failing to reach a lease agreement after a protracted battle with its landlords.

A telephone message on the company’s phone line says the store had to shut abruptly because it could not renew its lease, but that it hopes to relocate somewhere else on Solano Avenue.

“We are very very sad to leave,” said Jeff Dodge, the owner of La Farine for the last 17 years. “Plain speaking, we don’t have a lease, and when you can’t work something out with your landlord, you have to go.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley parkers may get five-minute grace period

PEO 2(1)
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In a measure that will be considered by the City Council Tuesday night, Capitelli is suggesting that parking enforcement officers give people a five-minute grace period after their meters expire.

“We hear that parking enforcement officers have been seen waiting at targeted cars for the exact minute the receipt has expired,” Capitelli wrote in the measure. “This has created tremendous ill will and frustration, ultimately discouraging people from patronizing our local businesses.”

Sometimes there is a discrepancy between the time on the watch of a patron and the time on the parking meter, Capitelli noted. This “friendlier” policy will ease that distinction.

The five-minute grace period would only apply to cars using a pay and display meter that produces a time-stamped receipt that can be displayed on a dashboard.

Any ease in parking restrictions would help attract customers because shoppers always have the option of going to a mall or going to Albany, where is parking is free, instead of coming to Berkeley, said Allen Cain, the director of the Solano Avenue Association. … Continue reading »

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Goodwill out, Pet Food Express in on Berkeley’s Solano Ave

Solano Avenue
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Goodwill Industries is no longer planning to open a store at the top of Solano Avenue, but Pet Food Express is now hoping to snag the 5,000 square foot space.

Goodwill could not come to an agreement with the landlord, but will still look for another location in that part of Alameda County, according to Kimberly Scrafano, the vice-president of development for Goodwill Industries of the East Bay.

“There were some logistical reasons not to open at that site but we are still looking to open in that area,” said Scrafano.  “We don’t have much of a presence there so we think it would be a good location.”

The expressions of concern from some Solano Avenue merchants that a Goodwill store would detract from the street’s high-end image had nothing to do with the decision to look elsewhere, said Scrafano.

“It appears a lot of folks have a misperception about who our donors and shoppers are,” she said. “Most of the folks who shop in our store are middle-class women.”

Pet Food Express, a locally owned chain that opened a store in Berkeley in 1990, is negotiating with the landlord for the spaces once occupied by Front Row Video and The World of Dance Studio, according to Michael Levy, who co-founded the company in San Francisco in 1980. Pet Food Express would have to do extensive remodeling of the space and is still working out details to make sure moving there is a viable proposition, he said. … Continue reading »

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Arrival of Goodwill store on Solano prompts concerns

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Goodwill Industries is planning to open a 5,000 square foot store at the top of Solano Avenue and some area merchants are concerned it will drag down the shopping district’s image.

Goodwill is hoping to move into space formerly occupied by Front Row Video and The World of Dance studio, according to Allen Cain, the director of the Solano Avenue Association. Goodwill would knock out the wall between the spaces to create a large store that will sell used clothing, furniture, and home goods.

The new store would fill two of the 11 vacant storefronts on the two and a half block stretch of Solano that rests in Berkeley. Still, some merchants don’t think a Goodwill store is a good idea.

Carol Fabrietti, owner of Ideas 4 Elements, which has been on Solano Avenue for 22 years, says she does not want Goodwill opening on the avenue.

“We want to bring people back to Solano. But we want to attract upscale customers, and this isn’t the way to do it,” she said.

Alaina Palega, who moved her Solano Kids consignment store into the block near The Alameda just six months ago, is worried that drop-off donations will be unsightly and will mar the street’s image.

“It’s going to cause a lot of junk being left, dropped off in doorways,” said Palega. “It’s just not fitting with the street.”

Palega is also worried that a large Goodwill, which is a non-profit, will squeeze out local antique stores and used clothing stores like hers.

“It’s going to hurt a lot of small businesses that are here,” said Pelaga, who has set out a petition on her counter to protest the Goodwill store. “We have a lot of consignment stores and antique stores. It’s going to kill a lot of small guys. So you are going to trade four or five stores for one big store.”

Hannah Hernandez, who has owned and operated Hannah’s, a kid’s used clothing store for 16 years, is not worried. Goodwill generally just puts its donations on racks and customers have to paw through massive amounts of clothing to find good things. She offers a different experience to her customers.

“The service I provide is culling all the junk,” she said.

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