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Recent Stories

  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    VANISHING ACT FOR NATURE’S EXPRESS The vegan eatery Nature’s Express, which has been in flux for two and a half years, has moved out of its location at 1823 Solano Ave. but is promising to return “close by” soon, according to its Facebook page. The store’s last day was July 16. In December 2013, longtime owner Carl Myers announced he was shuttering the healthy fast-food joint. But an outpouring of support let Myers keep the store open. The restaurant still struggled, losing $10,000 to $28,000 a month, and Myers shut it unexpectedly in July 2014. A new management team bought the business and stepped in, raised some cash, and managed to keep the restaurant afloat. “Things at the restaurant are going well,” Josh Levine, the new manager, wrote in a blog post in September 2014. “We have a new lease, food is coming out well, the team is amazing, and we are all having fun! The customers love us again, and though sales have been down since the changeover, morale is up! Because the food is coming out well.” No word on where or when a new Nature’s Express will open. (more…)

  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    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. (more…)

  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    SOURCE MINI Vegans rejoice! San Francisco restaurant Source is opening up a second location in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden at 1511 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. Source Mini is taking over the spot formerly occupied by Flavor Mediterranean Food, which closed as it wants to open a sit-down restaurant elsewhere. Source owner Mitchell Fox, who brought the concept of vegan fast food from the Bronx, says he knew San Francisco and Berkeley would be perfect for his original restaurant (which is on Division Street at De Haro) — it just happened he got a better deal on a building in the city. The Berkeley spot will be a smaller, take-out version of the restaurant. “It’s like a Subway or McDonald’s-esque vegan fast food menu,” he said. That means: vegan burgers and sandwiches, gluten-free tacos and quesadillas, dosadillas (as pictured above), and more. Fox said Source’s was the only vegetarian burger to be included in Grub Street’s latest Top 50 San Francisco’s list. Fox hopes to open Source Mini within two weeks. (more…)

  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    NATURE’S EXPRESS CLOSING Nature’s Express at 1823 Solano is closing Dec 31 after four years on the Berkeley street. The healthy/vegan fast-food business failed, according to owner Carl Myers, who wrote a long note on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “When ventures fail, it comes down to leadership, so I am painfully aware that the failure has been mine,” he wrote. “I apologize to the employees who have put heart and soul into this venture and the customers who have supported us for our failure to serve them in the future.” Ironically, Myers also salutes McDonald’s who, he writes, “do a lot of things right,” including customer service, locations and advertising. Judging from the response from many loyal customers on Facebook, it will be missed. [Hat tip: Kenneth Goldberg] (more…)