General Appliance on Shattuck near Blake has shut its doors

General Appliance, which has been selling appliances in Berkeley under numerous names since 1939, abruptly shut its doors on Monday.

The store, located on Shattuck between Dwight and Ward, is still stocked with refrigerators, cabinets and other kitchen goods, but has a sign on the door announcing the closure.

Sign on front door of General Appliance

Efforts to reach Don Collins, the store’s owner, to discover why he shut the business, were not successful. There was no message about the closure on the store’s answering machine or on its website.

But appliance stores have been facing increasing competition in recent years from the Internet and big box merchandisers like Home Depot.

For years, the Wick family ran Wick’s, an appliance store, from that property at 2534 Shattuck Avenue. The family sold the business and it reopened as General Appliance in 2005, according to records at the Secretary of State’s office. The owners then sold the business to Collins.

The closure leaves a void on a street a few blocks from the downtown section of Shattuck Avenue.

“We are very sad to see them go,” said Allison Etchison who co-owns with Hadley Salz Home 101, an urban general store on the same block. “I assume there is going to be another appliance store coming in.”

While there may now be less foot traffic on the street, Etchison said her store has more in common with Stone Mountain and Daughter Fine Fabrics than General Appliance. Their mutual clientele are mostly women crafters and people who like to decorate their homes.

“If the fabric store would to close we would be seriously affected,” she said.

Home 101 also remodels and stages houses that are coming up for sale. It recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...