Shop talk: Fastline; Ron’s Berkeley Muffler; Rockridge Two Wheels; Solano Jewelers

Fastline Shipping is now open on the corner of Shattuck and Francisco. Photo: Frontline

FASTLINE At the corner of Shattuck and Francisco, Fastline Shipping has taken over where Cal Copy was for 30 years. Fastline, run by Fadi Alhour and Nahome Walle, opened its first location in San Francisco eight years ago. They heard about the opportunity to open a second shop in the East Bay through a friend and loved the vibe of Berkeley and the visibility of the location. The business opened its doors on Nov. 10.  Fastline is a DHL and FedEx shipping outlet that also provides packing and shipping materials and printing services. In addition, the business does computer and phone repair.  Fastline Shipping,  1748 Shattuck Ave., (at Francisco), Berkeley 94709. Tel: 510-356-4419. Open Mon. –  Fri.,  10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Ron’s Berkeley Mufflers has closed. Photo: John Storey

RON’S BERKELEY MUFFLER After 56 years in business, the iconic shop has closed. Originally opened in 1962 at 2420 Shattuck in Berkeley, (where Giovanni’s Restaurant, now Gio’s, sits), owner Ron Hulse and his wife moved the business to 2709 Shattuck. “When the landlord died and the rent tripled, my father left and bought the property on Shattuck and 65th in 1987,” his daughter Abby Mayes said. “It took 2 years to get the permits to build and we had the grand opening in 1989 when I began working with him.” Though it was technically in Oakland (on the Berkeley border), the business retained its Berkeley moniker. What stood out about the business, from a visual perspective, was its storefront figure sculptures made from muffler parts, called “Muffler Men,” created by Hulse and his crew.

In 1999, Hulse moved to Auburn and worked two days a week before retiring a few years later, handing the business off to his daughter. “Working with my dad, he taught me everything I know, especially how to keep the business honest and reasonable,” Mayes said. Driving from Vacaville every day, Mayes said it was worth it because the customers were the best and her dad had built such a great reputation. She loved working and running the business. This past summer, the family looked into selling the property which sold in two months On Sept. 11, the doors were closed for good. Rockridge Two Wheels has moved into the space (see details below). Ron’s Berkeley Muffler, 6432 Shattuck Ave., Oakland, 94609. Read more about the iconic business in our “How Quirky is Berkeley” piece on Ron’s Berkeley Muffler from 2017, including a visit from Elvis Presley!

Rockridge Two Wheels has moved into the old Ron’s Berkeley Muffler building. Photo: Darragh Howard

ROCKRIDGE TWO WHEELS Purchasing the property that was once home to Ron’s Berkeley Muffler on Shattuck, the scooter/motorcycle dealer and repair shop, Rockridge Two Wheels owned by Darragh Howard, moved in Nov. 17.  According to its website, the business moved from College Avenue in the Rockridge area to the Shattuck Avenue location to offer “better opportunities for sales and service.” With the move of inventory from the Rockridge location to the new store, the original site on College now provides short and long-term storage for scooters and motorcycles. Plans are also in the works to operate an eBike store from the College Avenue location at some point in the future, which will be announced on the company’s website. Rockridge Two Wheels opened on College Avenue in 2002 and was the first Piaggio dealer in America. Later, the business expanded its sales and service to include a wide variety of other scooter/motorcycle manufacturers. Rockridge Two Wheels, 6432 Shattuck Ave. (at 65th), Oakland 94609. Tel: 510-594-0789. Open for Sales: Tue. – Fri., 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sat., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Service hours are Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


SOLANO JEWELERS The longtime business at the top of Solano has moved to Lafayette. The family-owned business was opened by Zareh Ekmekjian in 1977. When he passed away three years ago, his daughter Aline Aghababian took over the business (both pictured in the photo). With the lease ending, Aghababian decided to move the store to a bigger space in Lafayette, where she and her family live. The business closed its doors in Berkeley on Oct. 2 and opened in Lafayette on Dec. 1, retaining the name of Solano Jewelers. The store had a grand opening in early December. Solano Jewelers, formerly located at 1895 Solano Ave. (at The Alameda), Berkeley is now open at 61 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette, 94593. Tel: 925-444-0606. 

Shop Talk is Berkeleyside’s regular Berkeley local business column. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleyside reader who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details at editors@berkeleyside.com. Read previous Shop Talk columns. And catch up with all food- and drink-related business news with our Nosh coverage.

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