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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    THREAD LOUNGE Opening today in downtown Berkeley: Thread Lounge, an upscale fashion store offering discounted designer clothing for women, men, and children, as well as limited home furnishings. Owner Colleen Schmidt, a former buyer for Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan among others, already has two stores — in San Francisco and Chicago — and is testing the waters in Berkeley with a popup version of the bohemian-style shop in the old Fed Ex-Kinkos corner building at Shattuck and Bancroft Way. “We are like a designer sample sale,” Schmidt says. “We work with over 400 designers worldwide.” Local labels currently in stock include Laurel B (sweaters that retail for $250-$400 are $80) and Wendy Katlin ( $200-$450 tops and dresses for $50-$100). Schmidt works in partnership with her boyfriend, Jon Vohr, who creates the artwork and fixtures in the store, although Schmidt is quick to point out that the décor will be much more appealing if they decide to settle here. “Everyone asks me why I didn’t go to Fourth Street but I think there’s room for growth in downtown Berkeley. There aren’t a lot of fashion options here,” she says. Thread Lounge is throwing a “Meet & Greet” opening for the public with wine and appetizers on Thursday, Jan. 31, 7-9pm. Thread Lounge is at 2295 Shattuck Ave. Open: weekdays, 12-7, Sat. 11-7, Sun. 12-6. (more…)

  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    DOUBLE SHOT Fertile Grounds Café at 1796 Shattuck Ave, is adding a mezzanine with more tables which will double its seating capacity. The café has been open on and off during construction. Fertile Grounds opened in March 2002, shortly after owner Ayman Morrar graduated from UC Berkeley. Ayman’s goal is to have an intimate, cozy café, with an emphasis on quality food, and a vibrant, robust menu. Lebna plates, falafel, homemade hummus, grilled tuna sandwiches are among his most popular dishes. Fertile Grounds doubles as an art gallery, featuring exclusively Berkeley artists. Right now Julia Kosivchuk‘s work is on display. Follow the café’s progress on Facebook.

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