Shop Talk: Ohmega Salvage; Totally Rad Gallery; Women Made

Ohmega Salvage
Ohmega Salvage is reducing its hours in January 2020. Photo: Mark Nez

OHMEGA SALVAGE The longtime southwest Berkeley home salvage business says it must adjust because of the changing demographics of Bay Area homeowners. It will cut back its hours to weekends-only starting in January. According to the owner, Katherine Davis, architectural salvage is much harder to acquire and re-sell, and the business has suffered from the changing face of brick-and-mortar retail. The internet also has become a large competitor and fewer walk-in and drive-by customers has added slowing sales, she said. Ohmega Salvage was founded in June 1974 and operated from adjacent lots at 2403 and 2407 San Pablo Ave. for 30 plus years. Those locations closed in March 2018 but the business had added another location in 1998 at 2400 San Pablo Ave., its current address, where it consolidated its inventory down to half of its original stock.

“I am sad about the lack of recycling of building materials of our classic homes here in the Bay area. Recycling was once the pride of our city,” Davis told Berkeleyside. As interest in the re-use of original architectural pieces declined, she said, overhead expenses — garbage collection, PG&E, EBMUD, alarm systems, worker’s compensation and higher wages — have continued to grow, which has made it hard to keep the business running smoothly. Hence, the future of the Ohmega is unclear, Davis said: “We will take the month of January 2020 to regroup and be open only on weekends.”
Ohmega Salvage has cut staff due to the financial strains, going from eight full-time staff in January to just three since October. At its peak, the business had 15 full-time employees. Ohmega Salvage is holding an ongoing clearance sale from now until Dec. 22. Beginning in January 2020, the business will be open weekends only. Ohmega Salvage, 2400 San Pablo Ave. (at Channing Way), Berkeley. Phone: 510-204-0767. Open: Current hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Beginning January 2020, weekends only, same hours.
Totally Rad Gallery is closing its doors in November. Photo: Totally Rad Gallery

TOTALLY RAD GALLERY The art space that exhibits contemporary works by emerging local and national artists is closing its doors. According to gallery director Amber Mueller, the gallery received an eviction notice when new owners bought the building. The gallery has been operating for 4.5 years at its San Pablo Avenue location.  The original notice set Dec. 31 as the date to vacate, but the gallery will close Nov. 23. Mueller said the new owners are Read Investments and, though they did not tell her directly, she believes they are planning to build a large mixed-use building with commercial and residential spaces. Read Investments did not return Berkeleyside’s calls for comment.

A new exhibition, “It’s Not Love,” is slated to open Nov. 2 with an opening reception from  6-9 p.m. It will showcase work by Mueller, a painter and media artist. “The last exhibition will be bittersweet to say goodbye after so many years of hard work, literally, building this gallery from scratch. We even built the walls. We created so many great relationships with our neighbors, our patrons and our artists,” Mueller said. Totally Rad Gallery, 1212 San Pablo Ave. (near Harrison), in the Gilman Arts District, Berkeley. Phone: 510-570-6846. Open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Open from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 23. Connect on Facebook and Instagram 

The pop-up shop Women Made has extended its lease on Fourth Street through the end of the year. Photo: Jamestown

WOMEN MADE The concept pop-up shop has extended its lease in the Fourth Street shopping district. Women Made features the products of women designers, artists and small businesses, including apparel, art, home goods and more. The pop-up opened in July and will be open until the end of the year. Women Made is owned and operated by Berkeley-based jewelry designer Lina Shatara, who is also the creator and force behind Berkeley’s Fourth Street Maker’s Row. “The goal of the store is to support female business owners and in turn help grow local economies, create jobs and support families and communities,” Shatara said. Women Made, 1901 Fourth St. (at Hearst Street), #108, Berkeley. Phone: 347-779-4619. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., in November; and Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., in December. Check the website for holiday hours. Connect on Instagram 


Editor’s note, Nov. 3: Due to an editing error, this article originally said that Read Investments’ 57-unit building,  Aquatic IV, would go into spot now occupied by Totally Rad Gallery. That plan is actually for a parcel next door. 

If you’re a Berkeley business with news to share, or you’ve noticed a new or closing business in Berkeley, email editors@berkeleyside.com. Read more Shop Talk columns. Catch up with food- and drink-related business news on Nosh.