Shop Talk: Red Oak Realty/Marvin Gardens Real Estate; Vintage European Posters; Koraa

The Red Oak Realty leadership team: Melissa Bush, Vanessa Bergmark and Aman Daro. Photo: Red Oak Realty

RED OAK REALTY/MARVIN GARDENS REAL ESTATE Red Oak Realty, a woman-owned business that was founded in a hot tub in Albany more than 40 years ago, is acquiring fellow East Bay brokerage Marvin Gardens Real Estate, which will create the largest independent brokerage representing the East Bay, with an estimated $1.2 billion in annual sales volume. The acquisition will see the brokerage swell to a total of 160 agents.

With increasing consolidation in the real estate industry, which often involves corporate takeovers of smaller firms, the two East Bay companies decided the acquisition would help them maintain the values of local, independently owned real estate brokerages. “Increasingly, real estate is becoming a national business with ownership far from operations. As an independent brokerage, Red Oak has local ownership, which gives it the unique, high-quality, East Bay-tailored structure that we as locals know makes the East Bay special,” Red Oak said in a press release.

Todd Hodson and Marion Henon, owners of Marvin Gardens Real Estate, will join Red Oak Realty as sales managers under the continued direction of Red Oak’s leadership team: CEO Vanessa Bergmark, Senior Vice-President of Sales Melissa Bush and COO Aman Daro. “Both companies have shared the same values for decades, Henon said in the press statement. “Rather than work as separate factions or submit to a giant corporate takeover, we’ll be stronger together with this decision.” The merger is expected to be completed on Sept. 1. Red Oak Realty, 1891 Solano Ave., Berkeley 94707. Tel: 510-527-3387. Red Oak Realty will have a total of six offices to serve the East Bay. Connect on Facebook and Instagram.

Vintage European Posters on Fourth Street is closing with an online sale. Photo: Vintage European Posters

VINTAGE EUROPEAN POSTERS The shop on Fourth St. in West Berkeley is closing its business after the passing of longtime owner Elizabeth Norris. The store sells authentic, original vintage posters from various time periods and countries. Norris began collecting posters in 1997 and opened her business in 2003. The posters span one hundred years from 1880 to 1980. In a letter on the company’s Facebook page, the family announced their inability to continue the business and plans to close the doors of the store at the end of the year. A final sale began online on Aug. 1 and runs through September 10. The proceeds will go towards Norris’ children’s education. The store is providing limited access to the showroom by appointment only and all online sales are final. A community memorial for Norris will be held on Sept. 15 at Sibley Regional Preserve. Vintage European Posters, 2201 Fourth St., Berkeley 94710. Tel: 510-843-2201. For more information about the online sale and memorial, visit the Facebook page.


KORAA/TRAVEL + COLOR  After three years under the name of Old Yak Bazaar, the Elmwood business has re-branded as Koraa/Travel + Color. Husband and wife owners, Wen-Yan King and Tenzin Losel (Jampa), aka “Team Wampa,” travel the world for hand-crafted, artisanal collections to add to their store in the former site of Global Exchange on College and Russell. The couple arrived in Berkeley for the first time in 2014 after a decade in the mountains of rural north India. They started their business out of a passion for travel and color. “We can tell you a story about each and every product and the people who make it,” King said. When planning their target market, they envisioned a community that is ultra liberal, multicultural and appreciative of artisan made crafts and fair trade principles. “With that in mind, we decided to move here from half way across the world, a refugee and an Asian American with a few gigantic suitcases. Thankfully, what we envisioned is almost exactly what we found,” King said, adding that Berkeley is now home to not only their business but also their hearts. Koraa, 2840 College Ave. (at Russell), Berkeley 94705. Tel: 510-529-4495. Open Mon. – Sat., 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sun., noon to 5. Connect on Facebook

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.