Tag Archives: Berkeley business news
OPENING: WE ROCK THE SPECTRUM An innovative new spot for kids on the autism spectrum is opening in West Berkeley this month. We Rock the Spectrum is described as a “full inclusion, full integration educational fitness camp and community resource center” that addresses children’s, parents’, caregivers’ and advocates’ wellness and health. Co-founder of the Berkeley branch Barbara Brodrick tells us the inspiration for the new venture was her 4-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum and has benefited enormously from intensive early intervention treatment. “We built this facility to have all the resources available to all families with different-abilities children, and a safe fun place for all children and families where we can all feel a sense of belonging, away from the isolated feeling most of us feel,” Brodrick said. We Rock the Spectrum is having its grand opening Saturday, Sept. 27, when kids can try out the facility’s trampoline, zip line and swings. There will also be face-painting, music and a raffle. Tickets are $12 per child, with 20% of the proceeds going to My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation. We Rock the Spectrum is at 2920 Seventh St. in Berkeley. Learn more at We Rock the Spectrum’s Berkeley website. Connect on Facebook. … Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
GLOBAL 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 »
Popular North Berkeley restaurant Nature’s Express closed this week unexpectedly, with promises to re-open soon, leaving many nearby residents wondering what had taken place.
According to management, the vegan and vegetarian eatery at 1823 Solano Ave. has faced “abysmal” financial struggles and had to make changes, including staff reductions, to survive.
But former employees — many of whom quit in solidarity after several other staffers were let go — have launched a campaign to raise money as they look for new jobs, and to raise alarm bells about what they say are the negative business practices of new management. … Continue reading »
BELLHOPS Moving just got a little easier. In May, Bellhops set up operations in Berkeley. Using a business model akin to Uber or Lyft, the company hires local college students, or “bellhops,” to provide customers with moving help. The company started three years ago in Auburn, Alabama, and rapidly expanded to 145 cities across the country. Currently, around 80 UC Berkeley students are available for customers within 15 miles of campus, according to co-founder Matt Paterson. Operations are decentralized, and the company doesn’t own any trucks or garages, but its employees can rent moving vans if the customer requests it. As Patterson puts it, Bellhops is perfect for those who don’t need a professional service and instead could just use some helping hands. And the company recognizes that letting strangers handle your possessions can be nerve-racking, which is why it sends customers pictures and profiles of bellhops before they arrive. Trust and exceptional customer service are central to the company’s mission, said Patterson. … Continue reading »
SLASH DENIM Slash Denim at 2840 College Ave. has reopened its doors two months after a smoky fire damaged the inventory. The store, which sells high-end denim, is adding a mix of vintage clothes from its vintage store downstairs, according to owner Carla Bell. She opened Slash Denim eight years ago and the vintage store 35 years ago. The denim store will still carry new jeans, but will expand its vintage Levi collection, she said. On May 7, a light fixture fell from the ceiling and set part of the wall on fire, said Bell. Two people from the 7-11 store across the street spotted the flames and ran to a nearby fire station. The fire department responded at 4:20 a.m. and quickly extinguished the flames. Slash Denim held a 25%-50% off sale for two months while it was fixing the store, said Bell. The store was not insured, said Bell. … Continue reading »
MISSION HEIRLOOM CAFÉ Gluten-free, grain-free and soy-free offerings will be available at Mission Heirloom Café, which opens this fall in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. The restaurant will move into 2085 Vine St. where much-loved vegetarian Chinese restaurant Vegi Food operated until 2012. The Heirloom Café will be serving organic, non-GMO cuisine and Intelligista coffee. The café will have outdoor seating. Mission Heirloom currently operates a takeout kitchen on Eighth Street, where you can get a preview of their offerings by picking up lunchtime meals Tuesday through Friday. … Continue reading »
There’s a new bookstore in town, or at least a newly owned bookstore. After ditching a career in what she terms “corporate America,” Gina Davidson has taken over the former Analog Books at 1816 Euclid Ave., a stone’s throw from the Cal campus.
With a fresh stock of books and a stylish makeover, Bookish has been up and running under Davidson’s direction for about six months. Davidson — a novice at bookselling — says she is hoping Berkeley’s famously book-friendly community will support the business and help her fulfill her dream of running a bookstore.
It’s something Davidson has been thinking about for some time: while she was holding down senior jobs at companies like Motorola and PayPal, she would also surreptitiously be perusing Craigslist for available bookstores, and her eyes would light up when she found one. She remembers seeing two listings, one in Sebastopol and the other in Castro Valley, before spotting the ad for the Berkeley lease.
It took the death of a friend for her to take a leap of faith, however. “That was an impetus,” Davidson said recently in the pocket-sized Northside store. “I didn’t want to look back and say, ‘What if?'” The fact that Davidson’s husband joked he would leave her if she didn’t grab the opportunity after years ruminating about it may also have played a part. … Continue reading »
OLD YAK BAZAAR A new fair-trade store is coming to town this fall. Old Yak Bazaar, self-described as an alternative trading company, sells up-cycled handcrafted designs from artisans around the world. Upcycling, for those that may not have heard the term before, is a process where low-value materials are converted into higher-quality products. These products include bags, home decor, jewelry, scarves and toys. The company is based out of Minneapolis and operates an online shop. It’s still unclear when and where in Berkeley the new place will open, but details should be made available next month when the lease is confirmed, according to co-owner Wen-Yan King. … Continue reading »
FILTHY GORGEOUS A brother-and-sister interior decorating team have moved their Filthy Gorgeous store from Walnut Creek to 1987 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley. The shop sells a wide variety of home decor items — including chairs, sofas, art, tables, storage, lights, and accessories — and offers upholstery and personalized home design services by appointment. Clients’ homes have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens and Sunset Magazine. According to the store’s website, the pair strive for design that “incorporates unique and personalized blends of old and new, function and elegance, budget and beauty, creating timeless looks while accommodating the inevitable evolution of life.” Filthy Gorgeous joins the Adeline Corridor neighborhood’s large number of antique and vintage furniture stores.