Shop Talk: Staples; GarmentWorks; CNRG; Passion Spark Retreat Workshops; Berkeley Vacuum; Dimples

The Staples in downtown Berkeley will close on Oct. 18. Photo: Google Street View

STAPLES The downtown Berkeley location of Staples is closing Friday. A statement from the company said, “Our business is evolving alongside the customer. We continually monitor the performance of Staples stores across the country to ensure we’re meeting our customers where they want to be met.” Customers are encouraged to shop at the nearest location in Pinole. Staples, 2352 Shattuck Ave. (at Durant Avenue), Berkeley

Sara Alm (left) and Heather Habig at GarmentWorks, the new fashion school in Berkeley. Photo: Alm and Habig

GARMENTWORKS After a soft launch in January, a new school for fashion industry training and education opened for registration in Berkeley on Sept. 10. GarmentWorks co-founders Sara Alm and Heather Habig, both industry professionals and educators, are at the helm. The school opened its doors in January and now has more than 80 students. Classes in patternmaking and sewing are geared toward both professional-level career preparation for the apparel industry and enthusiastic hobbyists. Coursework is non-gender specific and trains students to design for every body. “The coursework encourages students to make patterns and sew clothes for themselves. This results in a gender-neutral, student-driven experience that is unique in the industry,” Habig said. Habig and Alm have over 20 years of combined experience in apparel construction, fashion design and instruction. Habig has run her own clothing business and worked for a Fortune 500 retail clothing company. In addition to teaching, Alm has authored two books. Habig noted that the location at the Strawberry Creek Design Center, formerly home to Berkeley Yoga Center, was chosen for its interior beauty of original exposed brick and huge windows that let in natural light, as well as its accessible location to the greater Bay Area. “Being next to a park in a residential area provides a nice environment for learning and creating,” she said. Fall quarter began Saturday and runs through Dec. 20. GarmentWorks, 1250 Addison St. (near Bonar Street), Suite 209, Berkeley. Phone: 510-529-4036. Connect on Facebook and Instagram.

Outdoor Supply Hardware will open in the former Orchard Supply Hardware space on Ashby. Photo: OSH

CNRG A new business is moving into the former Orchard Supply Hardware site on Ashby Avenue, which closed earlier this year. Central Network Retail Group, or CNRG, based in Tennessee, is a retailer that operates 104 lumber/hardware/houseware centers across 14 states. CNRG plans to open seven stores in Northern California, all in locations formerly operated by Orchard Supply Hardware, and branded as Outdoor Supply Hardware. Last year, Orchard Supply Hardware’s parent company, Lowe’s, closed all of its 99 home-improvement stores, including the one in Berkeley. John Sieggreen, president of CNRG said he plans to offer a similar product line. Mark Baker, former CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware, was a key player in bringing CNRG into the market. All stores are slated to open this fall. CNRG, 1025 Ashby Ave., (at San Pablo Avenue), Berkeley

PASSION SPARK RETREAT WORKSHOPS Jerry Beckerman earned his bachelor’s in psychology from Cal and also met his wife of 44 years, Marilyn, in Berkeley. “In 1976, we opened the nation’s second chocolate chip cookie store on Durant, Kingpin Donut, still on the corner of the mini mall,” he said. Now Beckerman is behind a new business specializing in career mentoring retreat workshops that has recently expanded into Northern California. The business was founded in 2003 in the Central Coast area as the nonprofit Segue Career Mentors. “We produced over 80,000 Student Career Exposures with local professionals sharing about their careers in local classrooms. Segue inspired the development of Passion Spark Retreat Workshops focused on guiding students to do what they love and also earn a good living,” said Beckerman. Passion Spark Retreat Workshops will be held at various locations in Berkeley. Beckerman explained the process as “inviting students to be gently guided by us into their inner world to discover/rediscover their passion(s) and then match one to a career to begin to engage their world.” Essentially, the program aims at making a difference in the lives of young people as they choose a life’s direction, he added. Passion Spark Retreat Workshops, location dependent on workshop dates and schedule. An “information evening” for parents, teens and grandparents will be held Tuesday, 7-8 p.m., 1600 Shattuck Ave., Suite 125, Berkeley (entrance on Cedar). Phone: 510-244-3884


BERKELEY VACUUM & SEWING CENTER The longtime business Berkeley Vacuum & Sewing will reopen at a new downtown location after it had to relocate from its Berkeley Way site due to a new 12-story apartment building planned for that block. In business over 35 years, the vacuum store will reopen soon next to Stonemountain & Daughter on Shattuck Avenue. Owners Susan Hedjazi and Wilson Soch hope to open by Nov. 1, although they’ve been dealing with various delays in setting up shop. The former tenant of the space was J&L Laundry. Berkeley Vacuum & Sewing Center, 2520 Shattuck Ave. (near Haste Street), Berkeley. Phone: 510-540-6248. Hours won’t change: Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Connect on Facebook.

A new children’s clothing store has opened in Walnut Square. Photo: Tatiane Wade

DIMPLES A new children’s clothing store has just opened in Walnut Square in North Berkeley. The boutique had its grand opening Oct. 1 in the space between Peet’s and Nico’s most recently occupied by Spokes Bike Lounge and, before that, Claddagh Yarns, a knitting supply store. “I was walking with my dog when I saw the location available for rental and thought it would be a great opportunity to open a kids store since there are none in the neighborhood,”owner Tatiane Wade said. (Kid Dynamo operated nearby at 2108 Vine St. until it closed earlier this year.) Dimples sells clothing for babies and children aged 2-8, toys, books, gifts, art supplies and some women’s clothing and accessories. Dimples, 1506 Walnut St. (near Vine Street), Walnut Square, Berkeley. Phone:510-647-9949. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website coming soon.

If you’re a Berkeley business with news or you have spotted a new or closing business in Berkeley, email us 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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