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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    RASA CAFFE Rasa Caffe, at 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Adeline), had its soft opening on Valentine’s Day and will be open intermittently between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. until its official opening on Saturday March 1. Owner Rasa Sun Mott said the soft opening was principally to thank the new business’s crowdsourced backers and the local community. Mott, an Oakland native and the son of two high-profile Black Panther activists, raised $16,252 on Kickstarter to help him open the new coffee shop. As we reported in October 2013, Bicycle Coffee is being served (sweet spiced coffee with nutmeg is a speciality), as well as chai from his own recipe, and a selection of locally sourced pastries. Rasa Caffe is in the former Alchemy Café space, and part of the Firehouse Art Collective complex; Mott intends to collaborate with the group for events. The café will be featuring prints by artist Emory Douglas for its opening. (more…)

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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    MR. MOPPS’ BOOKSTORE We brought you the news in August that much-loved toy store Mr. Mopps’ would be opening a standalone bookstore. Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books is opening on Saturday Oct. 19 at 1417A Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near Rose Street, and just four doors down from Mr. Mopps’ toy shop. Co-owners Devin McDonald and Jenny Stevenson wanted to expand their selection of books in the toy shop and seized the opportunity when the lease was made available at 1417A a couple months ago. The grand opening will include a book signing with Parker Jacobs, author and illustrator of The Goon Holler Guidebook and co-creator of TV shows “Yo Gabba Gabba” and the “Aquabats!” Customers can also purchase silk screens of the bookstore’s new poster, which was designed by Jacobs (pictured left). There will also be face and glitter painting for children. The grand opening will run from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    BRENT’S UNIQUE SHOP One of the oldest businesses on San Pablo Avenue, Brent’s Unique Shop, 1824 San Pablo Ave., is closing down at the end of the year. Esther Williams, who ran Brent’s Unique Shop for 45 years, died in June. Her close friend David Clark is overseeing the store’s liquidation sale, which he said will likely continue for the next six months. “[We have] guitars, musical instruments, antiques, furniture, china, chandeliers, glassware, it’s to the rafters,” Clark said. “It’s one of those shops that’ll never happen again — it’s amazing.”

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