Tag Archives: Shop Talk
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 »
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 »
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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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 »
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 »
BELLI OSTERIA SHUTS DOWN After four years of serving exquisite pasta such as homemade black ravioli, pasta with clams and other Northern Italian fare, Belli Osteria, at 2016 Shattuck Ave., has shut its doors. Paul Oprescu, a Cal alum who majored in American history, opened the gem of the restaurant in Oct. 2012, right next door to the extremely popular Comal. “I had decided, some time ago, to go back to teaching and focus on my personal life, Oprescu told Berkeleyside in an email. He tacked a sign up on the front windows sending his regards to loyal customers. “Thank you for four wonderful years.” Oprescu sold the business to Steven A. Dumain, an Italian-American from New York, and Alessandro Uccelli, an Italian from the northern part of Italy. The pair will open reopen as an Italian restaurant soon with a wood-fired pizza oven, wrote Oprescu. … Continue reading »
MAD MONK CENTER FOR ANACHRONISTIC MEDIA Ken Sarachan’s Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media threw open its doors in April after years of construction. The spacious space at 2454 Telegraph Ave. that formerly housed Cody’s Books now holds thousands of used books and LPs (brought from the basement of Rasputin’s down the street). There are no CDs or DVDs, only “analog” media. Thus the name. Sarachan has said he has plans to install a café and music venue in the space, but those elements have not arrived yet. Bookmarks, T-shirts, and book bags are also on the way. … Continue reading »
BODYROK Fitness studios Bodyrok had their grand opening May 21 at 1601 University Ave. (at California). The studios, which offer stationary bikes and Pilates reformer machines, offer full body sculpt classes (using a blend of Pilates, cardio and weight training), and a variety of cycle classes. Bodyrok says its approach is to “take a traditional reformer workout and turns it up a notch by adding strength training exercises and high-energy music to keep the heart rate up the entire 40-minute class. Our method includes a greater variety of exercises, longer segments and quicker transitions, resulting in a more intense, sweat fueled, fast-paced Pilates workout.” Berkeley is Bodyrok’s fourth location as it has two in San Francisco and one in Carlsbad. Bodyrok is at 1601 University Ave. (at California). Connect with Bodyrok Fitness on Facebook. … Continue reading »
HUCKLEBERRY BICYCLES Huckleberry Bicycles, which has been on Market Street in San Francisco since 2011, has just opened a second location at 2424 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley (which, until they closed in February, housed MSC Custom Bikes). Huckleberry sells Cannondale, Brompton, All City, Surly, Masi, Salsa, Faraday, Shinola and Spot Brand new bikes, as well as a selection of bags (think Brooks England), apparel (Levi’s, Cadence Collection, Swrve) and shoes. There is a full-service repair shop onsite. The owners are Jonas Jackel, Brian Smith and Zack Stender. Jackel tells us they chose Berkeley because “it’s a great bike city with excellent bicycle infrastructure and strong roots in cycling culture.” Himself a Berkeley resident, Jackel sees potential for another good bike shop here. “The population is growing, and many of the new residents ride their bikes every day,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to succeed here with our unique assortment of products. We have a lot of customers from the East Bay who frequent our SF store, so we thought expanding into this market was a good fit for our business. Asked why Telegraph, Jackel said: “We’re in a great spot to serve the needs of the students, families and young professionals who live in the area. Telegraph has a high volume of foot traffic, and this neighborhood and the adjacent downtown area have high population density and bicycle ridership. All good things for a bike shop.” Huckleberry is now in soft opening and plans a “grand opening sale” May 14-22. All bikes plus select categories will be on sale at both of its stores. Huckleberry Bicycles, 2424 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley 94704 Tel: 510-900 1133. Open Mon.–Fri. 11am-7pm Sat.–Sun. 12am-5pm. Connect with Huckleberry on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. … Continue reading »
BONE ROOM CLOSING STORE Berkeley’s quirkiest store, The Bone Room, announced on Tuesday that it is closing its brick-and-mortar store on Solano Avenue (which it had already downsized last spring). A place of wonder for children and adults, scientists and artists for more than 30 years, The Bone Room will be focusing on growing its online sales, “hosting more pop-up shops around California, and … increasing our popular literary events,” according a March 22 Facebook post. The store was founded by Ron Cauble, a brilliant scientist and natural historian, who also opened the East Bay Vivarium in West Berkeley. Cauble died in July 2015. The Bone Room will close its doors on June 1, but the post urged fans not to despair: “Fear not, dear Bone Roomers!!! We are NOT closing down, but rather evolving. Keep following us (and turn on our notifications) for sales, special items, Bone Crew antics, videos and more. Your incredible support is what has allowed our shop to grow. Thank you for the years so far, and for the years to come!” Visit The Bone Room’s shop at 1573 Solano Ave. through June 1; visit its website and online store (real bats in lucite, priced at $30 each!); connect with The Bone Room on Facebook.
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NEW OWNERS FOR THE FRENCH HOTEL The three-story brick French Hotel on Shattuck Avenue in the Gourmet Ghetto has long been a favorite spot to get an espresso or latte. Now the hotel has a new owner/operator that is planning to renovate the 18-room hotel, make it more upscale, and convert the coffee shop into a bistro. It will be renamed SenS Hotel and Bistro Berkeley. Dean Banks, the associate vice president and director of operations for Prima Donna Hotels, which purchased the property, said standards will be kept high and customers shouldn’t worry, even though the source of the coffee will change. (The hotel and café had been owned and run previously by David “Sandy” Boyd, who operates a number of other coffee shops through his Emeryville-based company Espresso Roma) “It’ll be the same,” said Banks. “I doubt people will taste the difference.” The hotel operator plans to bring in high-quality coffee and add soups, sandwiches, and other menu items, he said. Prima Donna Hotels, which is owned by Michael W.N and Shirley N. Chiu of Los Gatos, will renovate the rooms and decorate them in an east-west style similar to the hotel it operates in Bali in Indonesia. The hotel group also operates the Residence Inn by Marriott in Livermore. It just sold three hotels in Portland, OR, and is building another hotel in Indonesia, said Banks. Watch for the temporary banner out front announcing the new name change. … Continue reading »
SVENSSON AUTOMOTIVE CLOSING AFTER 50 YEARS Svensson Automotive, which was founded in Berkeley by Rune Svensson in 1966, has closed up shop at 1740 San Pablo Ave. Current owner Baljeet Pal, who most customers know as BJ, said the business is closing as the property owner intends to turn the land into apartments (Berkeleyside has not been able to confirm this yet). The auto shop originally specialized in servicing and repairing Swedish car makes, such as Saab and Volvo, but subsequently expanded to include Toyotas. BJ immigrated to the U.S. in 1977 from India, and began working at the auto shop with his father, who then owned the business, in 1980, according to Jerome Solberg who spoke to him recently. BJ bought the business in 1985. “I really want to thank all of the loyal customers I have had over the past 35 years, they made my job enjoyable and rewarding,” BJ said to Solberg. “I am proud to say that my business put all three of my children through college and all of them pursued postgraduate educations. I now plan to semi-retire, play a lot of golf, and tour the world!” BJ will spend the non-leisure part of his retirement at Svensson’s second location in Lafayette which he opened in 1994. … Continue reading »
PEOPLE’S CAFÉ CLOSED People’s Café, at 2015 Shattuck Ave. (at University) in downtown Berkeley has closed to make way for two new businesses moving into the ground floor of the WeWork Berkeley building. As we have reported, Ippudo NY ramen restaurant and Blue Bottle coffee shop are moving in there. With its late opening hours and selection of cheap eats, from bagels through sandwiches, People’s Café was a favorite among Cal students. Its lease expired about a month ago, according to architect Ben Farrell who is responsible for getting the two Soma Capital-owned spaces ready for their new tenants. Farrell said the café was given an extended grace period until construction began at the corner spot. Ippudo will be at 2118 University and Blue Bottle at 2015 Shattuck. Farrell added that, if all goes well, Blue Bottle may be able to offer outdoor seating on a widened sidewalk, depending how quickly the Shattuck Square improvement project, which calls for a more pedestrian-friendly environment in the area, is implemented. … Continue reading »