TERRANOVA BODY After operating in Berkeley for 43 years, TerraNova Body, a manufacturer of natural bath and body care products, is moving to Richmond on June 21. Its building at 1011 Gilman St. was sold and the new owner is tearing part of it down to make room for a parking lot for the new Whole Foods.
“I’m sad,” said Kathy Saunders, who runs the company with her sister, Ann Saunders Gordon. “I grew up here.”
Saunders said she thinks it is getting increasingly difficult for manufacturers to stay in Berkeley because rents are high and the city doesn’t seem to care if businesses like hers stay. “They have done nothing to motivate us to stay,” she said.
Dave Fogarty, who works in the city’s economic development program, said the office often works closely with businesses to help them relocate within the city limits. Saunders said she contacted the city a few years ago, but Fogarty said no-one in the office remembers working with her.
“This is an issue, business retention, that we are very concerned about,” said Fogarty. TerraNova “is a firm in a specialty niche market. That’s the kind of business that tends to succeed here.”
TerraNova got its start in 1970 when Jane Saunders and her sister-in-law, Peggy Saunders Short, opened The Body Shop on Telegraph Avenue. It was one of the first stores in the nation to offer body care products formulated with natural, biodegradable ingredients. The company grew into a local chain of retail stores, but sold its trademark name to a British company and became Body Time. In 1979, the two women split the company, with Short taking over retail operations and Saunders starting a wholesale business.
Today, TerraNova sells more than 10,000 gallons of lotions, shampoos, body washes and massage oils, more than 10,000 pounds of essential oils and fragrance, and more than 50,000 bars of soap all over the United States and Asia annually, said Kathy Saunders. The new plant will be at 2700 Rydin Road, near Costco.
Developer Douglas Wiele, who is working on the Whole Foods project, said last week that ultimately a second story will be added to 1011 Gilman to make up for the 7,000 square feet of lost ground-floor space. Whole Foods plans to have industrial and kitchen operations in that part of the property, he said.
LEVANT Shihadeh Kitami has been in the food business in Berkeley for close to 25 years, first selling food on the Cal campus, then selling street food on Telegraph Avenue, and then opening Razan’s Organic Kitchen, which he has operated at 2119 Kittredge since 1998. But in the past few months, his food business has grown rapidly, first doubling, and now tripling in size. Kitami opened Arabica Mediterranean Cuisine at 2115 Kittredge, right next to Razan’s, on May 21. Now he and his brother Zaid Kitami and a young Tunisian investor, Haithem Bennour, are about to open Levant’s Organic Café just a few doors away on the corner of Kittredge and Fulton. Levant will be a casual coffee house and dining place, with organic free-trade coffee (probably Equator Coffee) and a salad bar. It should open sometime in July. Kitami isn’t finished yet, though. He plans to create an organic rooftop garden to supply his restaurants with fresh produce and herbs. That will be coming later this summer, he said.
ADDISON ENDPAPERS Addison Endpapers has been making exquisite paper goods for 24 years. Tucked away in a storefront without a sign at 3054 Telegraph Ave. near Dowling, Julie Addison and her daughters Marina and Geneva not only feature their fine paper goods, but antique jewelry, stationary, books and lanterns. They also do custom letterpress printing. The store just opened an exhibit of natural history items, including beautiful sprays of old coral (which can no longer be legally collected), fossils, monkey skulls and other intriguing items. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.
WEST BERKELEY MERCHANTS UNITE Shop owners around Gilman Street have formed a new merchants’ association to build community and coordinate future neighborhood efforts. The West Berkeley Merchants, already about 20 strong, met for the first time last week to learn about how the Whole Foods development and other changes on Gilman might change the neighborhood’s landscape. Topics ranged from questions about the city’s plans for the Gilman exit off Interstate 80, to how the merchants might work together on special events. Merchants interested to join the group or learn more can email Rosie Cote at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, new directions, relaunches, relocations. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns here.
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