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.
FIVE STAR VIDEO ON UNIVERSITY TO CLOSE After 23 years of serving customers at 1550 University Ave. (at Sacramento), Five Star Video will be closing up shop there and focusing on its other store, on Solano Avenue. Owner Andy Katz tells us declining sales account for the decision to shutter. He said the last day of business at the University Avenue store will be Sunday, Feb. 21. However, on March 11, 12 and 13, he will briefly reopen the store to have a liquidation sale of its fixtures and its video library. Katz invites all those who still enjoy video rentals to set up a membership at Five Star Video at 1882 Solano Ave. (near The Alameda) — the store moved there from Albany in 2012.
SHADOWBOX OPEN Accessory, musical instrument and jewelry store Shadowbox opened at 1741 Alcatraz Ave. (at Adeline Street) with a big party Feb. 2. The store is the brainchild of experimental world fusion and electronic music group Beats Antique, and early reports are positive. Writing on Shadowbox’s Facebook page, Angela Enos Jarman gave the store five stars and said: “Not a huge shop but I love the decor and atmosphere
UMPHRED FURNITURE TO OPEN Umphred Furniture, a custom upholstery workroom that builds handcrafted furniture locally, has taken the lease at 2119 San Pablo Ave. (at University) and plans to open at the end of February. Owner Jim Berrens said: “Just as the food movement has brought us farm to table, we now have furniture crafted the old-fashioned way, available direct to consumer. We want to be the local butcher shop or bakery shop of custom upholstery.” Umphred was a well-established Bay Area furniture manufacturer in the 1970s that sold to designers and local furniture stores, according to Berrens. “The frames are all solid wood, so no “throw-away” furniture, keeping sofas out of land fills,” he added. Umphred joins the many home building and home design businesses that constitute Berkeley’s Design Loop. Umphred Furniture, 2119 San Pablo Ave. [This post was updated after publication.]
WYLDWOOD RECORDS & RELICS OPENS Mike Walti has opened up Wyldwood Records & Relics at 1212 San Pablo Ave. (at Harrison Street), next door to the Totally Rad art gallery, which we reported on last month. Wylwood describes itself as “an eclectic vintage clothing, record and novelty antique” store. Connect with Wyldwood on Facebook.
SOMEWHERE ELSE OPENS Also new to the same spot on San Pablo is artist space Somewhere Else, like Wyldwood, above, at number 1212. Its owner, Breezy, is joining forces with Amber Mueller, owner of nearby Totally Rad Gallery, and Mike Walti at the new Wyldwood Records (see above) to host “First Saturdays” events every month, similar to Oakland’s Art Murmur First Fridays and Saturday Stroll events. Muller said he hopes the new shops will “add a new cultural element to the neighborhood.” The first event in the series was held Feb. 6.
ECOLOGY CENTER STORE TEMPORARILY MOVED The Ecology Center has temporarily moved its store, help desk, library and seed library a few doors down from its location at 2530 San Pablo Ave. to 2506 San Pablo, close to the corner of Dwight Way, while it is remodeling. The center says it aims to open a new-look store, in the location it has occupied for more than 30 years, in late spring.
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.