FESTOON SALON + SHOP Melissa Ong Ryan opened Festoon Salon + Shop at the corner of MLK and Rose in 1989 at the age of 24. Now she is closing the salon on June 30 and reopening a “tiny Festoon” in a new location at a time to be determined. Ong Ryan said Festoon’s rent has almost doubled in five years and the business can no longer support the amount of overhead at its present location. Soon after opening the salon, Ong Ryan met John T. Ryan who became her partner in life and in business.
Speaking about the challenges of running a small business, Ong Ryan said: “The risk and liability is truly mind-numbing. In four years there have been over 400 new business-related laws enacted. We love doing hair but we don’t love the politics bent toward supporting large business. And we don’t even want to start discussing the impact of Amazon on the retail side of our business.”
“We love doing hair but we don’t love the politics bent toward supporting large business.” — Melissa Ong Ryan
The salon offers cuts and color treatments from 11 stylists, two junior stylists and two apprentices. Additional staff include two receptionists and general manager Heather McDonald who has been at the helm for over 20 years. Expressing gratitude for all the “Festoonies” who helped her business thrive — numerous clients and staff over her 30 years in business — Ong Ryan said she wants the community to remember how important it is to support local small businesses. “We have seen graduations, marriages, births, and then graduations again,” she said. “We have been graced with our clients’ trust. We have thrived, touched many lives, made careers, and created so many beautiful heads of hair. We always think about Festoon Salon as its own universe where the most amazing conversations happen.” The Ryans are currently seeking a 500-square-foot space for their relocation and encourage anyone with leads to contact them with information. Festoon Salon + Shop, 1401 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Rose), Berkeley 94709. Tel: 510-524-2953. Open Tues. – Sat., 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Mon., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Connect on Facebook.
YOUR TWO EYES OPTOMETRY Optometrist Dr. Leslie Handmacher, in practice for 40 years in North Berkeley, has moved her office to the ground floor of the Walnut Square shopping complex. Your Two Eyes Optometry is now in the space formerly occupied by Twig & Fig which closed in August 2018 after owner Liz Webster died. The eye business made the move on April 1 and began taking appointments on April 9. Handmacher began her practice 40 years to the day, on April 1, 1979 and will be handing the reins over to her partner, Dr. Nadia Samii, with Mustaf Zahid as optician. Handmacher will continue as a partner for six to 12 months before retiring, she said. Previously located upstairs in the complex at Walnut and Vine, the partners decided to move the business when a long-time patient said she could no longer access the office upstairs. The new space is larger and fully wheelchair accessible. Your Two Eyes Optometry, 2110 Vine St. , Suite B, Berkeley 94709. Tel: 510-244-2712 (appointments) or 510-540-5555 (general info). Open Tues. – Fri., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sat., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
COMPASS REAL ESTATE Compass Real Estate opened a new residential brokerage branch on Delaware Street in West Berkeley on March 26. According to spokesperson Kat Wylie, the location was chosen because of the local presence of retailers like Apple and Amazon 4-star, along with home-design shops and restaurants. The space was last occupied by Ergo Sleep Systems, an organic mattress retailer. Compass Real Estate was co-founded in New York in 2012 by Ori Allon and Robert Reffkin, who was born in Berkeley. Their first office was located in the Chelsea Piers area of New York City. The business operates coast to coast and has 40 offices in San Francisco and the East Bay, representing both commercial and residential properties. Compass Real Estate, 801 Delaware St. (at Fifth), Berkeley 94710. Tel: 510-770-6804. Office hours: Mon. – Fri., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some agents available on weekends by appointment.
BULKY AND BOOKISH Berkeley has a new shop specializing in pencils. Opened on Fourth Street’s Maker’s Row in January, Bulky and Bookish’s owner Liz Barry is a Berkeley mom of three who says that the inspiration for the store came from the CW Pencil Enterprise on New York City’s Lower East Side. In addition to pencils, the store carries stationery from small makers in Los Angeles, Paris, and NYC as well as a selection of books. The store also sells plant-based laundry detergent and dish soap in bulk in an effort to help cut down on household plastic consumption. Bulky and Bookish, Maker’s Row on Fourth Street, Tel: 510-590-1539. Open Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
HATCH The College Avenue home goods and accessories boutique Hatch closed its doors after holding a sale on all its inventory in mid-April. Hatch opened its first location in Montclair in 2011 and moved to its Rockridge location in 2015. The women-owned boutique specialized in goods made from recycled, reclaimed and sustainable materials, sourced both locally and internationally. The store also supported fair-trade practices. A sign on the door states, “To all our friends and neighbors, It is with a heavy heart that we have closed Hatch in Rockridge. We have greatly enjoyed being part of the neighborhood and we thank you for your support, loyalty and kindness over the years. We’ll miss the friends we’ve made. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this closure. Thank you for your patronage.” No further comment was provided by the owners. Hatch, 3210 College Ave., Berkeley 94705. Tel: 510-350-8196.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Read previous Shop Talk columns. And catch up with all food- and drink-related business news with our Nosh coverage.