Shop Talk: Castle in the Air; 24-Hour Fitness; BMW Collision Center; Avant Card; Bait and Tackle

Castle in the Air on Fourth Street is closing in April. Photo: Castle in the Air

CASTLE IN THE AIR The art studio and crafts supplier on Fourth Street is closing its doors. The store provides supplies for artists and the artistically minded who want to work with paper-based artistry, calligraphy and vintage crafts. It also hosts classes with a roster of international teachers. Castle in the Air also publishes books in-house under the Dromedary Press imprint. Owner and painter Karima Cammell said the store will continue to hold classes through the end of April, while liquidating its in-store and online stock and shop fixtures. Cammell opened the store in 2001 as a center for artists to “converge, create together and build community.” She plans to pursue other creative projects, she wrote in a recent newsletter, and said the “change has nothing to do with the state of the world, which is far from kind to independent retailers. Instead, it’s simply time for a reassessment of what Castle in the Air is and what it can be.” Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth St., Berkeley 94710. Tel: 510-204-9801. Open Mon.- Sat.,  10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Connect on Facebook and Instagram

24-Hour Fitness in downtown Berkeley is closing the end of March. Photo: Emilie Raguso

24-HOUR FITNESS The nationwide gym franchise that has been in downtown Berkeley for decades is closing its doors the end of March. The gym will officially close at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 29. The property owner, Ruegg & Ellsworth, will be demolishing the building to create housing units. As described on the city’s zoning report, it will be a seven-story, mixed-use building with 66 dwelling units, ground-floor commercial space and underground parking.” Current 24-Hour Fitness memberships will be honored at its other locations — members should check details with Membership Services. Headquartered in San Ramon, 24-Hour Fitness has 400 gyms in 13 states and has been in operation for 30 years. 24-Hour Fitness, 2072 Addison St. (near Shattuck), Berkeley 94704. Tel: 510-548-4653. Membership Services Tel: 800-432-6348.  A second Berkeley gym located at 1775 Solano Ave. (at Modoc) remains open, as well as several other locations around the Bay Area.

BMW COLLISION CENTER Now open, the BMW Collision Center on Eastshore Highway provides auto body and collision repair for BMW and other models. Affiliated with BMW of San Rafael, the Center had a soft opening in October and is fully open for business. Services include full body work, windows, auto body painting and collision repair. The Center is a BMW factory-certified repair facility. The site was formerly used by Hawkins Hawkins, Inc., a sheet metal and signage wholesaler/manufacturer of traffic safety supplies. The 38,000-square-foot building in the West Berkeley Manufacturing District was renovated to expand and enhance the property for the new business. BMW Collision Center, 1255 Eastshore Hwy. (near Gilman), Berkeley 94710. Tel: 510-570-3440. Open Mon.- Fri., 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Avant Card on Bancroft near Telegraph has closed for good with no plans to reopen in a new space. Photo: Dan D

AVANT CARD Avant Card is one of several Telegraph Avenue area businesses that closed due to plans to construct a new housing and retail project called The Standard at its site. Unlike some of the others, however, the stationery store did not relocate. Avant Card had been in business at 2580 Bancroft Way in the Fred Turner building for 33 years.


Does anyone know what is happening at Berkeley Bait and Tackle Store? Photo: Josh Taxson

BERKELEY BAIT AND TACKLE STORE A longstanding “closed” sign on the window of the Berkeley Bait and Tackle on San Pablo Avenue suggests the store has shuttered, but for how long is unknown. After more than 40 years in business, the West Berkeley store has not appeared to be open for some time. Berkeley resident Dan Rohn said he has been a regular visitor to the store for years and is concerned about the store and its owner. “The owner is an 86-year-old man named CJ, who operates the store by himself,” Rohn said. “He’s the nicest guy you could ever meet.” Rohn said he has gone by the store seven or eight times in the past month and has not seen it open. It is usually open seven days a week, selling bait and fishing tackle. Repeated phone calls to the store have not gotten an answer. Maybe one of our readers can help us learn what is happening with the store? Berkeley Bait and Tackle, 2221 San Pablo Ave. (at Allston Way), Berkeley 94702. Tel: 510- 849-0432.

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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