Tag Archives: Kensington Circus Pub

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Thread Lounge 1/1 1.28.13 Photo: Tracey Taylor
Print Friendly

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. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley Bites: Jessica Prentice

jessica.prentice3
Print Friendly

Jessica Prentice’s claim to fame comes from coining the term locavore, chosen as the 2007 Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary.

The New York City-trained natural chef lives and breathes the locavore lifestyle. She is a co-founder of Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen cooperative on University Avenue, which sells nutrient-dense, prepared foods (think soups and stews in bone broth made from scratch), and co-creator of the Local Foods Wheel, a whimsically illustrated guide to local, seasonal and ecologically-sound eating.

Prentice, 41, is the author of Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection, and one of the women profiled in Temra Costa’s recent book Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat.

She lives in Richmond Annex with her partner, fellow food advocate Jacob Wright who works at the Center for Ecoliteracy, and their 16-month-old son.

We sat down to talk at Three Stone’s communal table. Prentice nursed a large mason jar of reverse-osmosis filtered water spiked with trace mineral drops.

What do you like about running a food business in Berkeley?

We attract open-minded, forward-thinking people who want to eat well.  I love the diversity of our kitchen volunteers and apprentices.

One of our volunteers is a follower of The Hate Man, who espouses oppositional thinking. At first I just thought he was kind of intense and eccentric; he only ever wears a skirt.  He’s worked with us for three years — he sears the meats for us on Tuesday nights. Now I know that I have to just make commands: “go to the walk-in and get whatever”, without saying please or thank you. If I ask him how his day is he’ll say “bad”, and when I introduce him to new volunteers I let them know that they need to say “I hate you” to him as a greeting.

We also have a lot of transgender volunteers. People you call “he” but they’re on their period. We have plenty of only-in-Berkeley moments.

What’s challenging about owning a food co-op in town?

This is an expensive area and our community cooking business wouldn’t work if we had to pay all our kitchen workers. Labor is expensive. But we give people commercial culinary experience cooking high quality food in exchange for labor.

What kind of customers do you attract?

We have a cutting-edge group of customers that fall into several sub-sets. We have a lot of followers of the Weston A. Price diet, a nutrient-dense way of eating. We have people with kids who want their children to eat healthy. And we have people who have been through a major life-changing illness like cancer, come out the other side, and want to take care of their bodies. We get a lot of people who are interested in healing practices, and we get our share of wealthy customers who can afford to eat this way and just think it’s a good idea.

People who come to us know that good food is an investment — our meats are pasture raised, our produce is organic, we even use biodynamic raisins. It’s quality, nutrient-rich food so you need less of it but you pay a bit more for it.

Are there any misperceptions about the food scene here?

Eating locally is elitist — a notion that needs to be questioned.

It comes down to priorities and choices. Think about the amount of money that people — of all races — spend on their hair. You could buy a lot of good food with the money some people spend on hair treatments and products.

Almost every adult now has a cell phone. I ride the bus a lot, presumably a lot of people on the bus are of lesser means, but they’re all talking on their cell phones. What people pay for a cell phone plan could also pay for a lot of good food. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,