Tag Archives: Berkeley businesses

Amazon opens new store on UC Berkeley campus

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Amazon opened a sleek, modern, brick-and-mortar store on the UC Berkeley campus Thursday and it promises to ease package delivery and return for students, faculty, staff and the community.

But Amazon hopes the store, located in the refurbished Martin Luther King Jr. building facing Sproul Plaza, will be more than that. There are couches and chairs scattered around the 3,500-square-foot space, as well as a large television screen for students to watch movies or play video games. A large table holds Kindle e-readers, Fire Tablets and Fire TV devices, creating “an interactive Amazon device experience,” according to a press release.

The idea is to be such an inviting environment that students “turn into lifelong customers,” said Ripley MacDonald, Amazon’s director of student programs. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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BAUBLES & BEADS TO CLOSE Baubles & Beads in North Berkeley will be closing its store, probably in March, after 25 years of serving the city. Owners Lisa and Jim Kaufman say the reason is partly due to rising expenses. As they write in a letter to customers: “We have struggled with this decision since the recession of 2009, the closing of our San Rafael location in 2012, and again today with rising costs of rent and operational costs. The success of our website, BaublesAndBeads.com, allowed us to keep our Berkeley bead shop open over the past several years. The decision to close the store was never taken lightly as we fully understand the impact it will have on the local beading community.” Meantime, there are lots of discounts being applied to merchandise. Baubles & Beads is at 1676 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709  Tel: 510 644-BEAD. Connect with Baubles & Beads on Facebook for updates.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Premier Cru files for bankruptcy

Seven customers are suing Premier Cru, a wine retailer at 1011 University Ave., for not delivering wine they had purchases. Photo: Gordon Commercial Realty
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Update 1/19: The FBI is now fielding customer complaint calls about Premier Cru, according to spokesman Prentice Danner, after the Alameda County District Attorney’s office asked it to intervene. That does not mean the FBI has launched an investigation into the workings of Premier Cru, he said. The number to call is 510-808-2600.

Original story:

The customers of Berkeley’s Premier Cru who were hoping to get delivery of wine they paid for but never saw delivered are probably out of luck.

The wine company run by John Fox filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy on Jan. 8, claiming it had more than $70 million in debts but only $7 million in assets – most of it wine.

The city of Berkeley is one of the entities that might get left in the lurch. Bankruptcy court filings show that Fox – doing business as Fox Ortega Enterprises – owes the city $175,000, although the papers do not state why. Fox also owes money to the IRS, the Franchise Tax Board, and California’s Employment Development Department. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Black Oak Books to close after 33 years

Gary Cornell, the owner of Black Oak Books, in the store. Photo: Black Oak Books
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Black Oak Books, which has had a presence in Berkeley for 33 years, is shutting its doors.

Gary Cornell, the math professor and entrepreneur who rescued the storied bookstore in 2008 during the recession and who is still subsidizing its rent, said the store no longer makes financial sense. Its location, at 2618 San Pablo Ave. near Carleton Street, does not draw enough foot traffic and sales have been generally flat the past six years (Although they did go up by 1% in 2015). In addition, Berkeley has raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour, with more increases to come, making it more difficult to run the business.

Read more stories about independent bookstores in Berkeley.

“I wish I could have kept it open,” said Cornell, 62. “But, in the end, you have to say it’s not working.”

The store will close at the end of January, he said. Until then, all the inventory at Black Oak Books — both new and used books — is 40% off. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: There’s one hiring trick local businesses may be missing

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Over the past year, I have spoken to over 500 Berkeley and Oakland based business owners about their hiring practices. The consensus: hiring is hard!

As a former caterer and the current Co-Founder of Localwise, a Berkeley-based online job board, I know the pain of hiring local employees. I also know a trick: focus on transferrable skills.

Below I’ll explain what transferrable skills are, why they are important, and the massive social impact we could unleash by focusing local … Continue reading »

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Berkeley business tries novel way to stop public urination

Pee repellent wall. Photo- Ethan Cheng
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An employee at a downtown Berkeley business was getting tired of people using an alleyway on Shattuck Avenue as a toilet and decided to do something about it.

Ethan Cheng, the facilities manager at North Berkeley Properties, said the recessed space between Arinell Pizza at 2119 Shattuck and Bank of America at 2129 has had problems with graffiti and public urination for as long as he can remember, even though it is checked and cleaned up regularly by the downtown Berkeley ambassadors.

“I never could figure out how to fix the issue until I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about how the San Francisco Public Works Department was trying to combat a similar issue on its public walls,” Cheng told Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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