PARAISO PLANT STUDIO A new plant store opened on Nov. 15 on Allston Way in Trumpetvine Court in downtown Berkeley. Owner María Blum-Sullivan is a designer and artist with a background in interior design, and the store includes some of her artwork. Started in 2018 as “Plant Chandeliers,” Blum-Sullivan sold her wares at the Alameda Antiques Faire, other local maker fairs and online. The business slowly grew from there. She also previously ran a freelance graphic and web design business called Blum & Sullivan Design. She got the idea for her plant creations as a child rummaging through the goods at Urban Ore with her father. She discovered she could re-purpose old lamp parts, festoon them with succulents and create something new. And voila — a business was born.
Taking it to the next level of brick and mortar, Berkeley was a natural location for Blum-Sullivan. “Being a queer, Latinx immigrant growing up in the East Bay, I’ve always felt that Berkeley might be a welcoming place for someone like me,” Blum-Sullivan said. She added that she was lucky to find this particular location next to businesses that resonate with her own. The space is owned by the Martin family who also own Jupiter, Triple Rock Brewing and Drake’s and was most recently occupied by Sara Lisch Gallery, which was open less than one year. “They were really enthusiastic about the vision I had for the space,” Blum-Sullivan added. That vision included creating an environment where people can learn about and buy indoor plants, get help with “plant-scaping,” and find one-of-a-kind plant art.
“This business is one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. I’m still a one-woman-show, but would love to grow into a cooperative model in the future,” Blum-Sullivan said. Having Jupiter’s idyllic vine-covered courtyard setting next door was a big bonus for the designer and shop owner. She hopes to host plant-related events outside in the future. Paraiso Plant Studio, 2115 Allston Way, Shop 1 (in Trumpetvine Court), Berkeley. Phone: 510-590-7916. Open Wednesday and Thursday, noon-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, noon-7 p.m. and Sunday, noon-4 p.m.
TITLE NINE Title Nine has moved to another location on Fourth Street. The store opened in its new location on Nov. 30 in the space formerly occupied by Castle in the Air. The retailer previously had a shop on Fourth (at Hearst), making the move to its new location a short one. A grand opening celebration will be held on March 21 and 22, with a bike raffle, swag giveaways and fun activities. Title Nine is a woman-run and owned business founded by Missy Park in 1989 in her garage in Berkeley. Park is still hands-on with her company. According to Lisle Stephens, a self-proclaimed “happy worker” at the Fourth Street store, Title Nine has not undergone corporate consolidation as many other outdoor clothing and gear companies have done in recent years, making the Berkeley-born business a special place to work and shop. The company is named for the Title IX legislation that paved the way for girls and women in sports in 1972. Title Nine, 1805 Fourth St. (at Addison), Berkeley. Phone: 510-526-1972. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Connect on Facebook and Instagram
JEST JEWELS The long-time jewelry-and-more store Jest Jewels on Fourth Street is closing. According to a store employee, the landlord did not extend leases this year for Jest Jewels or any other businesses in the building, which includes Papyrus and 4th Street Bagel. The business is co-owned by Eleanor Carpenter and Leslie Drapkin, who opened their first Jest Jewels 34 years ago. The Fourth Street store opened 23 years ago and is one of five stores owned by the two women who are retiring sometime later this year. The final day for the store is slated for March 30, after a last-minute one month extension. Merchandise is currently 50% off until closing. Jest Jewels has one remaining store on Union Street in San Francisco. The store on Hayes Street closed in November, Embarcadero closed the end of January and the store in San Jose closed two years ago. Jest Jewels, 1791 Fourth St., Berkeley. Phone: 510-526-7766. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
SOLA LUCY Women’s consignment store Sola Lucy is closing its shop on Delaware Street, near the Fourth Street shopping district. “My landlord is selling the space and it’s been a process because new owners are using an SBA loan,” said owner Lucy Ross. “We’ve known about the sale since December and it’s still not final so we still don’t know what our exact last day of business will be.” Information will be announced on Sola Lucy’s website as it becomes available. Ross opened the Berkeley store in 1994 and has a second store in Montclair, which opened in 2010 and will remain open. “It’s been an amazing experience and quite honestly I never thought I’d still be in business after 26 years. I grew up here, got married to a successful entrepreneur, gave birth to two beautiful girls, supported my community by employing amazing women and, most of all, I feel I’ve done my part to reduce, re-use and re-chic! I’ve been fortunate to have strong community support and amazing clients,” Ross said. Sola Lucy, 803 Delaware St., Berkeley. Phone: 510-526-8611. Hours, until the store closes for good, are Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. In Montclair at 2220 Mountain Blvd., Oakland. Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Noon-5 p.m. Connect on Facebook and Instagram
If you’re a Berkeley business with news to share, or you’ve noticed a new or closing business in Berkeley, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more Shop Talk columns. Catch up with food- and drink-related business news on Nosh.