GETAROUND LAUNCHES IN BERKELEY Car-sharing service Getaround, described as Airbnb for cars, has just launched in Berkeley. A peer-to-peer car sharing company based in San Francisco, Getaround says it has been building up a community in Berkeley for the past few weeks and has had a great response. “We have close to 100 owners sharing their cars in Berkeley and Oakland and close to 10,000 renters,” said spokeswoman Hailley Griffis. Like Airbnb, Getaround works through its app: if you’re looking to use a car, you search for one nearby, enter your license and credit card numbers, and, once you’ve found it, book and unlock the car with your phone. (The car key will be waiting for you in the visor.) Sign-up is free, with no monthly or annual fees and all rentals include insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Typical charges might be $5.50 an hour for a 2008 Smart Car, $7 an hour for a 2014 Toyota Prius, or $20 an hour for a 2012 Model S Tesla. Cars are vetted before being accepted into the service, and renters can rate cars (the ability for car owners to rate renters is coming, said Griffis). Getaround says car owners make an average of $500/month sharing their car, and that the service will result in fewer cars on Berkeley streets, as studies have shown that each shared car takes 10-13 cars off the road. Visit Getaround’s website for details. Connect with them on Facebook.
2ND LOCATION FOR OLD YAK BAZAAR Old Yak Bazaar is planning on opening its second Berkeley store, having only recently opened up on University Avenue. A sign in the space formerly occupied by fair-trade store Global Exchange, at the corner of College Avenue and Russell Street in the Elmwood, states that the store, which specializes in “ethnically and uniquely handmade treasures” should be open in April. Global Exchange shuttered in February after its parent organization, an international human rights group, decided to focus on priorities other than retail. Old Yak Bazaar will be at 2840 College Ave. and continues to operate its other store at 1610 University Ave. Connect with Old Yak Bazaar on Facebook.
ANY MOUNTAIN CLOSING As we reported recently, outdoor sports mecca Any Mountain is closing its Berkeley store on Shattuck Avenue. It is currently holding a clearance sale and a store employee said it would probably shutter for good at the end of April. Berkeley Honda, which was displaced from its home at 2600 Shattuck Ave. in November, plans to take over the Any Mountain building at 2777 Shattuck which was originally a bowling alley, subsequently occupied by the original Berkeley Bowl. Representatives from Any Mountain were not available at press time. Berkeley’s economic development manager Michael Caplan told Berkeleyside that the sports store had decided the space was too big and was looking to move. Sports Basement opened in the old Berkeley Iceland building nearby late last year, though it is not known if that was a factor in Any Mountain’s decision to close.
YOGOFINA COMING TO THE ELMWOOD A frozen yogurt store is opening on College Avenue in the Elmwood in the spot that was, until recently, home to Body Time. YogoFina has posted a application to open in the retail space. The fro-yo chain already has several East Bay locations, including in Montclair, Lakeshore, Walnut Creek and Alameda. Expect the usual fro-yo flavor offerings and assortment of toppings. Body Time closed after several decades at the location after it was decided the Elmwood location was too small for its new retail concepts. Yogofina will be at 2911 College Ave. Visit Yogofina’s website for more information.
Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. 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, and check out Bites for the latest East Bay restaurant news.