Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s Berkeley

Cause of car fire at Berkeley Trader Joe’s unknown

Photo: Greg Merritt
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Update, Aug. 12: Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb told Berkeleyside in late June that, counter to comments made to this story, the involved automobile was not “an old poorly conditioned vehicle: It was late 90s, fairly old, but in really good condition inside and out.” The driver had pulled into the garage, then noticed white smoke coming from the hood after getting out of the car. The driver went to open the hood and, as soon as she pulled the release, she saw black smoke and flames. Someone else called the fire department immediately and, just as firefighters were arriving, there were enough flames to activate the sprinkler system.

Webb said the driver was an elderly woman who had a friend in the passenger seat, and that the fire department was called right away: “They didn’t leave the building to go shopping. It wasn’t a negligent activity.”

There were so many firefighters on scene, he said, because it was a residential structure.

Webb said an issue related to the electrical wires likely caused the fire, and that it appeared to be a mechanical malfunction. He also noted that, because it did not appear any crime had been committed, the ultimate cause is left to be determined privately between the vehicle owner and the insurance company.

Generally speaking, he said, people who notice smoke coming from a car while still behind the wheel should park in an outside area away from other hazards, such as trees or power lines. It’s good to be away from traffic, he said, but ultimately it depends on the conditions around when the incident takes place.

Original story, June 24: Authorities closed the roadway to through-traffic Friday evening on Martin Luther King Jr. Way at University Avenue when a car fire broke out in the parking structure at Trader Joe’s in Berkeley.

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said Sunday, via email, that the cause of the fire has not yet been determined. … Continue reading »

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Parking around Trader Joe’s sparks ‘vigilante’ action

Pink parking signs
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By Linda Hemmila

If you’ve received a parking ticket near Trader Joe’s on University Avenue in Berkeley, you’re in good company. So many people have been ticketed there over the past year and half it’s become a neighborhood cause, has provoked defiant action from a “parking vigilante”, and is up for renewed discussion at the next scheduled City Council meeting on January 17th.

The trouble stems from parking signs in the area, which, according to councilmember Jesse Arreguín, are “very confusing”. The city has acknowledged as much by dismissing most contested citations because, it says, the signage is not sufficiently clear to visitors.

It all started in June 2010 when, as part of the redevelopment of the downtown area — and with the June 11 opening of Trader Joe’s — the city altered parking signs in the neighborhood that designated one side of the street as resident-only parking and the other side two-hour parking. The signs on the residential side were adorned with red and white city-made stickers denoting “no parking” that were placed directly over the old sign which said “two- hour parking”. The streets in questions include Berkeley Way, Addison Street, Bonita Avenue and Grant Street. … Continue reading »

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Group pickets Trader Joe’s over Florida labor practices

Demonstrators gathered outside Trader Joes. Photo: William Newton
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A group of protestors demonstrated outside Trader Joe’s on University Avenue on Saturday to encourage the chain to pressure Florida tomato growers into treating their workers more fairly.

Tomato pickers in Florida are among the poorest in the country, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has successfully waged campaigns against Taco Bell and McDonalds to get them to sign a “fair food agreement.” The coalition is holding actions in California this month to get Trader Joe’s to demand more … Continue reading »

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The Trader Joe’s effect: A Berkeley building makeover

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It was known as “the Homeless Hilton” by the homeless people who used to camp out on the roof of the building on the corner of MLK and Berkeley Way. But now, following an extensive renovation orchestrated by a team of locally based companies, 1841 Berkeley Way is looking sharp — and its office and retail spaces are being snapped up.

It all started with the arrival of Trader Joe’s said the building’s owner, John Gordon. “Trader Joe’s has been a wonderful amenity for the whole neighborhood,” he said. “It has increased the foot traffic and this is a much safer corner now. We took the opportunity to upgrade the building with this in mind.”

“The project has been well received by local residents and merchants — in a short period of time we leased all four of our vacant spaces,” said Gordon.

The building, which is now known as Berkeley Plaza, was originally built in 1977-78, designed by architect John Rolf Hattam as a Radio Shack store. It is unusual in having high-maintenance roof-top parking with a car ramp. The parking spaces are now more secured and used mainly by the building’s tenants. … Continue reading »

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A lukewarm review for new Berkeley building

New Californian building on Trader Joe's opening day.
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The building which houses Berkeley’s newly opened Trader Joe’s was given a lukewarm review by the Chronicle’s urban design writer John King this weekend.

While King welcomed the five story mixed-use building as an example of the sort of smart growth cities like Berkeley need, he was less than enthusiasic about its design, calling it “more overstuffed than urbane”.

The New Californian building, as it is called, comprises 148 apartments as well as Berkeley’s first Trader Joe’s. In style terms, it … Continue reading »

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Essence of Berkeley: Food shopping as worship

Berkeley's Farmers' Markets: outdoor tent revivalists?
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In case you missed it, a post on this site last week elicited an entertaining rumination by Berkeleysider EBGuy on Berkeley’s food stores and their role as our new cathedrals — or temples, or synagogues. More Berkeleysiders weighed in with their analogies. Here’s the full list (so far):

Farmers’ Markets: outdoor tent revivalists. This is where the Food Fundamentalists go. Berkeley Bowl: non-denominational mega church. Draws from the surrounding region. You go there, right? Berkeley Natural Grocery: storefront religion at … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s food meccas: The new religion

Berkeley Bowl shopper
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We couldn’t resist hoisting from the comments this reflection by EBGuy on food shopping as religion (prompted by today’s opening of Berkeley’s Trader Joe’s) :

I have a theory about Berkeley.* With organized religion on the decline, we look to food to provide a shared communal experience. Grocery stores are our cathedrals. Feel free to make your own list mapped to a different faith tradition:

Farmers’ Markets: outdoor tent revivalists. This is where the Food Fundamentalists go. Berkeley Bowl: non-denominational … Continue reading »

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Shoppers rush right in to new Trader Joe’s

Photo by Sasha Vasilyuk
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Even before the new Trader Joe’s on University Avenue officially opened this morning, a large crowd gathered outside.

“We had about 80 people at the door,” said Mary Ann Gallagher, the “captain” of the store. “They were super excited. We had people waiting since 7. They were taking pictures. It was like a party out there.”

Business has been steady since then, she said.

Sasha Vasilyuk, co-founder of Sandbox Suites, a shared working space on nearby Addison Street, was … Continue reading »

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Parking will be tight at new Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's on University and Martin Luther King
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The new Trader Joe’s on University and Martin Luther King will open on June 11, but be prepared to walk rather than drive.

The new store only has 48 parking spaces, and the city council, wary of squeezing out spaces used by nearby residents, voted this week to severely limit street parking in the area.

Shoppers frequenting the popular chain may have to search for parking spaces – and walk further than they might like – because the city … Continue reading »

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Dozens line up for job at Berkeley’s Trader Joe’s

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Dozens of people lined up Friday to apply for a job at the Trader Joe’s opening at University and Martin Luther King.

The new store will open in the ground floor of a five-story, mixed use building that was constructed on the site of the old Kagen’s auto supply store.

Thanks to @umhai for the photo.