Tag Archives: Berkeley business news

Shop Talk: Jeremy’s, Utrecht, Patelco, Hannah’s

Hannah's on Solano is now online only    Photo: Gill South
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JEREMY’S DEPARTMENT STORE Jeremy’s in the Elmwood is no more. The discounted designer apparel store had been at its 2967 College Ave. (at Ashby) location since the 1990s and closed for good on Nov. 20. According to a farewell letter that was posted on the store’s website, Jeremy’s did not have financial difficulties and was in profit when it shuttered. Owner Jeremy Kidson opened the first Jeremy’s store in 1987 in San Francisco’s South Park. He closed that store last year and made plans to consolidate both the SF and Berkeley stores into a converted church after buying the First Church of Christ Scientist at 1701 Franklin St. in Uptown Oakland. But, according to the East Bay Times, Kidson hit several roadblocks while trying to develop the space for retail, including permit delays, and he ran out of steam on the project. Kidson said: “From here, I will work on establishing a foundation to help kids from underprivileged backgrounds and continue my never-ending pursuit to help the underdog, along with some other ideas I have. I will still be finishing the Franklin building to serve as my home base and maybe even open a little café.” No news yet on new tenants for the vacated space on College and Ashby. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: Yaza, Sahaira, HG Rugs, Games of Berkeley

Photo: Yaza Couture
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HG RUGS is closing. In business since 1928, HG Rugs, or Henry Gertmenian Co. Rugs, at 1006 University Ave. (at Ninth) will be closing its doors after liquidating its inventory of more than 6,000 rugs. HG Rugs is the oldest and largest distributor and importer of handmade rugs in the U.S., including Persian traditional, contemporary, antique and tribal rugs. The company got its start in Los Angeles in 1927 and moved to San Francisco in 1928. In his elder years, Henry urged his sons Al and Paul Germenian, who were scholars and accomplished businessmen, to take over the business. The sons honored his wishes, carrying on the business even after their father passed away. In 2014, the company’s lease was quadrupled and it moved to its current location in Berkeley at 1006 University Ave. Current owner and family friend, Anthony Jalili, tells Berkeleyside that he took over the store last year when sons Paul, age 83 and Al, age 79, expressed their desire to retire. Having less success at the Berkeley location since its move, the company has decided to close its doors. It will close permanently once the inventory has been liquidated. Jalili anticipates that will take from 2-5 months. Henry Gertmenian Co. Rugs, 1006 University Ave., Berkeley 94710, Tel: 510-990 6352. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Continue reading »

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Berkeley clothing company Harvest & Mill has a mantra: ‘You are what you wear’

Harvest & Mill founders Paul Wallace and Natalie Patricia      Photo: Harvest & Mill
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We all know the phrase, “you are what you eat” and we certainly take that seriously in the Bay Area where the heart of local, sustainable and organic practices beats fervently and strong. But what about extending that ethos to the clothing industry, with the same level of commitment? Harvest & Mill, a clothing company with a design studio based in Berkeley — and sewing mills in Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco — does just that by providing a product that is organic, locally grown and manufactured using sustainable practices from seed to seams.

Founders Natalie Patricia and Paul Wallace are both self-described “jacks-of-all-trades.” Patricia, an East Coast native who has lived in Berkeley since 2009, has worked as a farmhand and gardener and started designing and sewing custom clothes one piece at a time in 2012. Wallace, originally from Cork, Ireland was the original organizer of the Heirloom Expo and manager of the Petaluma Seed Bank. He homesteaded in Sonoma for over ten years and has known about the benefits of pure fiber for decades. Together, the pair are sowing the seeds of the “grown and sewn” revolution in a community that provides fertile ground.

Setting up shop in North-West Berkeley because they feel that “Berkeley is amazing” the founders extol the virtues, “From the Marina to the Hills, Berkeley has always inspired industrial artists, intellectuals and mavericks. If you are doing something interesting, come to Berkeley! The Bay Area also has farming and manufacturing within ten miles of each other which is remarkably unique.” Currently, they sell their product line mostly online and to like-minded organizations. … Continue reading »

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Target to open new Berkeley store on University Avenue

Target Express downtown Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, Nov. 11: Berkeleyside reader Ian Crew asked Target on Twitter when the University Avenue store might open, pointing them to this story. The reply? “We can’t release the official date. But keep in mind, Target only opens new stores three times a year, in March, July and October.”

Original story: Target will open a store at 1414 University Ave. in Berkeley on the site of the former Savers Thrift and, before that, Andronico’s. It will be the second central Berkeley location for Target, which opened a Target Express in downtown last year.

Kristy Welker from Target’s communications department confirmed Target had “signed a lease for a new store on University Avenue in downtown Berkeley.” Welker said she was was able to share any additional information at this point.

Several neighbors in the central Berkeley area said they had observed crews at work on the site, whose cross street is Acton Street, and heard rumors it was being developed for Target. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: Dorset Finds, Revival Barber + Beauty, more

Dorset Finds at 1201 Tenth St., Suite D specializes in unusual home decor     Photo: Dorset Finds
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DORSET FINDS Looking for a “new, old look” for your home or office? Dorset Finds, which opened in August 2016, specializes in “vintage industrial” furniture and home décor. “Much of what I sell are artifacts from the Industrial Age,” owner Justin Dorset told Berkeleyside. “These pieces often originated in early 20th-century factories, most of which were scattered along the East Coast and in the Rust Belt. My tables have found their way into celebrity homes, tech-company boardrooms, upscale restaurants and designer boutiques.” Dorset Finds carries one of the best selections of Uhl Toledo chairs and stools on the West Coast, according to Dorset, as well as lights that tell a story — in particular, 1920s–1940s task lamps with articulating arms. There’s also a multitude of unusual finds of solid design.  “Our restoration work is hand-done in order to preserve the soul and integrity that naturally comes with a utilitarian item that’s been used for decades,” Dorset said. Opening his first shop in Brooklyn in 2010, Dorset and his wife moved to Berkeley to be closer to family and to get a new start, bringing all their inventory with them. The Dorset Finds showroom is usually appointment only, but it will be opening its doors to the public for ‘open-studio’ visits every Saturday in December from 12–5 p.m. in the lead-up to Christmas. Dorset Finds, 1201-D Tenth St., Berkeley 94701, Tel: 646-460 2810. Open by appointment only, with special holiday hours. Connect with Dorset Finds on Facebook and Instagram.
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Shop Talk: Farrow & Ball; The Black Squirrel; The House; The Batchery

Farrow & Ball coming soon to West Berkeley   Photo: Farrow & Ball
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FARROW & BALL Coming soon to the Fourth Street shopping district is Farrow & Ball in the former home of the Claremont II (Claremont Rug Company) which has since relocated to Rockridge. Farrow & Ball Showroom will specialize in interior and exterior eco-friendly paint finishes, wall coverings, and products for preparation and application. Their website tells us they will have an expert service team on hand to offer advice and design schemes. An in-home color consultancy will also be available. Farrow & Ball, 1813 Fourth St., Berkeley 94710  Open Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. 12-5 p.m. Connect with Farrow & Ball on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.

THE BLACK SQUIRREL Calling all craftspeople: a new shop is opening soon in Berkeley at 651 Addison St. near the Fourth Street shopping district for all manner of fiber artists. Starting out as a six-month trial pop-up, the shop will carry a collection of yarns and fibers from indie dyers from California and across the U.S. hand-picked by owner Chase Lometa Clark. Her intention is to provide unique, high-quality materials produced by small, mostly women-owned manufacturers. She hopes to attract a “slightly younger, hipper demographic of DIY-er’s than most.” Fabrics and supplies for quilting and sewing will also be on hand and there will be a range of classes, including beginner courses, offered from $5-$25. Chase tells Berkeleyside: “The shop is on the bottom floor of a new apartment building which is dog-friendly and has a great community of residents and building managers behind it. It’s got super tall ceilings and lots of windows in a huge space which means we can have a really awesome workshop space to host classes and special events. The workshop space will always be available for customers to use even when classes aren’t in session.” … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: Dijital Fix, Yogofina, Urban Remedy, Spokes

An assortment of gadgets on College Avenue Photo: Digital Fix
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DIJITAL FIX It seems like the Elmwood is always expanding its assortment of new shops and among them is the newly opened Dijital Fix Design & Electronics. Originally from Brooklyn, the store made its West Coast debut in San Francisco in 2012, and has just opened its Berkeley location. (The spot used to be Collector, which closed over the summer.) What can you hope to find at Dijital Fix? An eclectic mix of widgets and gadgets and thingamajigs that meet at the intersection of fashion, home decor and electronics. It’s at once a curiosity shop and a resource for functional household items, depending on your interests. Dijital Fix has also kept its San Francisco flagship store at 820 Valencia St. near 19th in the Mission. Dijital Fix is at 2950 College Ave. (at Ashby Avenue). Phone: 510-982-5040. Hours: Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m, weekends until 9 p.m. Connect with Dijital Fix on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Get ready to sweat: 6 new high-end fitness centers are coming to Berkeley

An example of one of Cyclebar's "theaters." Photo: CycleBar
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Berkeley residents are about to get a lot more fit. Or at least have more opportunities to do so.

Four high-end sports facilities will be opening their doors this fall, as will a smaller boutique gym. A fifth national brand hopes to open in Berkeley in 2017.

The five, CycleBar, EquinoxCity Sports Club, Soul Cycle and Orange Fitness are all connected to national or regional franchises that promote state-of-the-art workout equipment, classes set to the latest music, videos, flashing lights and more. Bōld is a father-daughter venture that will feature Pilates equipment and the Lagree training method.

CYCLEBAR  The first to launch will be CycleBar, an indoor bike spinning center, which will open in October at 1929 University Ave., the site of the old Fred’s Market. CycleBar is one of a number of national spinning franchises with cult-like followings (Soul Cycle and Flywheel are others), and is growing at a rapid rate. The company, created by siblings Alex Klemmer and Bill Pryor, started in Boston in 2004. The duo started licensing CycleBar franchises in January 2015 and expect to have about 300 fitness facilities around the country by the end of 2016. … Continue reading »


Scoop: Off The Grid coming to downtown Berkeley

Pelican Po'Boys at Off the Grid Emeryville. Photo: Off the Grid/Facebook
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Food trucks are coming to downtown Berkeley, offering a new option for Sunday lunch.

Off the Grid will launch a food-truck market in Civic Center Park starting Sunday, Sept. 11. The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and offer eight food trucks and live music, along with beer, wine and refreshments from San Francisco bar Lucky 13.

Off the Grid said the rotating line-up of vendors at the new Berkeley location will include Smoke’s Poutine, Canasta, Passione Pizza, Lexie’s Custard, Cupkates, Flavors of Ethiopia, Curry Up Now, Curbside Kitchen, Señor Sisig, and others.

Read more about Off The Grid markets in the East Bay.

The new market represents the fourth time Off The Grid has opened a food truck hub in Berkeley — the three former market all closed down after a couple of years.

Ben Himlan, a spokesman for Off The Grid, said he is hoping the “fourth time is a charm.” He said he felt hopeful about the prospects for the downtown market because of its location next to a park, close to transit and retail. … Continue reading »

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Merchants see recent changes on Telegraph Avenue as mostly positive

Mad Monk interior Photo Courtesy Stuart Baker
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As Mel Ash presents a potential site for a new mural on the Haste Street-side wall of the recently opened Mad Monk: Center for Anachronistic Media on Telegraph Avenue, a woman standing nearby methodically tears a book apart. Pulling one page at a time from the old volume, she carefully sets each page on the pavement in an array around her. After finishing his description, Ash turns to the woman and reminds her not to make a mess — that she can hang out, but he won’t tolerate her littering outside Mad Monk. “I’ll pull up my pants, and put my shoes on,” she grumbles, and promises to tidy the pages.

Read more about Telegraph Avenue on Berkeleyside.

Claiming that Telegraph Avenue has shaken its “seen better days” reputation and been completely revitalized would be a mistake. To wit, across the avenue from Mad Monk on the northeast corner of Telegraph and Haste, the infamous Heroin Hotel lot remains a fenced-off vacant lot. A Drug Free Zone city sign there has been altered by an unknown interloper to read simply “Drug Zone.” … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Mark Bulwinkle’s sculpture inside the new Mad Monk

Julia Vinograd. Photo: John Storey
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As Berkeleyside reported in July, Ken Sarachan’s resurrection of the old Cody’s bookstore at Telegraph and Haste is open for business. Inside are books and records, and nine painted-metal portrait sculptures by Mark Bulwinkle, depicting iconic Berkeley figures. Sarachan has used Bulwinkle on other projects, and Bulwinkle art decorates the outdoors balcony at Mad Monk as well as the restrooms. … Continue reading »

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Sara Strong continues her family’s woodworking legacy

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Woodworking runs deep in Sara Strong’s blood. Her grandfather was a boatbuilder from Finland who came to the U.S. and started a furniture business. As a young child, Strong spent Sundays at his side, watching and learning as he worked in his wood shop. On other afternoons, she did the same with her carpenter father.

Even so, woodworking as a profession is actually fairly new for Strong. She has been in web and graphic design for most of her adult life and, aside from the occasional project, didn’t give the woodworking idea her full attention until just a year and a half ago. Yet it’s no surprise that Strong Wood Studio is growing quickly.

“It’s all just kind of in me. It comes out,” she says as we gaze at a table-to-be in its glue-up stage. The piece rests on her deck, done up with bright orange clamps, waiting to be trimmed, sanded and finished. It looks good, like a woman in curlers getting ready for a night out — you can just tell it will steal the show. … Continue reading »

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Magoosh: Proof that Berkeley startups can flourish without Silicon Valley

Co-founder of Magoosh. Photo, taken in June 2016: Kelly Sullivan
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To tour Magoosh’s Berkeley offices is to visit the unremarkable. Nestled inside an office building on Milvia Street, the company would be easy to miss if it weren’t for the homemade logo affixed across several windows. Unlike many of Silicon Valley’s hot startups which boast multi-million dollar valuations, lavish perks such as free booze, gyms and electric scooters, Magoosh’s offices are tame — open-plan layout, app-booked conference rooms and a handful of standing desks thrown in, it’s all relatively quiet.

That’s not to say Silicon Valley’s clichés are absent: Apple products abound, there is a game room complete with a ping-pong table and the majority of the employees are young. And Magoosh has taken the Valley’s money — though nowhere near as much of it as many of its peers. And its four founders were once part of the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley, designed to manufacture entrepreneurs, much like Stanford has done historically.

Read more about Berkeley startups on Berkeleyside.

Launched in 2009, Magoosh is in the education business: it creates digital tools that prospective students use to study for standardized tests such as the GRE, GMAT and LSAT. To help students prepare for those tests, the company has built a veritable arsenal of software products that span mobile and desktops. The company touts its relatively inexpensive offerings — for example GRE prep costs $129 for one month of access, or $149 for six months — and says they are about a quarter of the price of those of its competitors. Helped by a free trial to hook prospective customers, Magoosh CEO Bhavin Parikh says the company has captured about 10% of the students who take the GRE and GMAT every year.Continue reading »

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