Employee and customers looking at skeletons
Berkeley’s The Bone Room will close its shop on June 1. Photo: Kaia Diringer

BONE ROOM CLOSING STORE Berkeley’s quirkiest store, The Bone Room, announced on Tuesday that it is closing its brick-and-mortar store on Solano Avenue (which it had already downsized last spring). A place of wonder for children and adults, scientists and artists for more than 30 years, The Bone Room will be focusing on growing its online sales, “hosting more pop-up shops around California, and … increasing our popular literary events,” according a March 22 Facebook post. The store was founded by Ron Cauble, a brilliant scientist and natural historian, who also opened the East Bay Vivarium in West Berkeley. Cauble died in July 2015. The Bone Room will close its doors on June 1, but the post urged fans not to despair: “Fear not, dear Bone Roomers!!! We are NOT closing down, but rather evolving. Keep following us (and turn on our notifications) for sales, special items, Bone Crew antics, videos and more. Your incredible support is what has allowed our shop to grow. Thank you for the years so far, and for the years to come!” Visit The Bone Room’s shop at 1573 Solano Ave. through June 1; visit its website and online store (real bats in lucite, priced at $30 each!); connect with The Bone Room on Facebook.

The Berkeley Photo Center . Photo: Orin Rutchick
The Berkeley Photo Center is housed in this South Berkeley Victorian. Photo: Orin Rutchick

BERKELEY PHOTO CENTER Last year, after moving from Minneapolis to Berkeley so that he and his wife would be closer to their children and grandchildren, Orin Rutchick established the Berkeley Photo Center, a hub that offers Bay Area photographers the resources to “learn, grow, create and exhibit” their work. Services include mentoring, critical review, fine-art scanning and printing services, and access to the latest digital print lab technology. As Rutchick puts it: “Berkeley Photo Center helps photographers articulate, develop and execute photography projects and produce professional-level portfolios of work.” Rutchick has over 50 years experience in photography and the visual arts. For the past eight years, he was the founder and executive director of the MPLS Photo Center in Minneapolis, a 12,000-square-foot facility with 300 paying members. In contrast. the Berkeley Photo Center is a 500-square-foot space on the third floor of Rutchick’s newly restored South Berkeley Victorian. Visit the Berkeley Photo Center’s website for more information.

Patelco after the fire. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Patelco after the fire. Photo: Tracey Taylor

PATELCO UPDATE A devastating fire that destroyed Mandarin Garden restaurant in downtown Berkeley in November also damaged the adjacent building and forced the closure of the Patelco Credit Union branch there. Patelco tells us, however, that they “remain committed to the area” and will reopen a branch in Berkeley in 2016, either at the existing location, at 2033 Shattuck Ave., or somewhere else. “We’re evaluating these alternatives and will provide [Berkeleyside] with an update as soon as we can,” they wrote. Patelco has re-installed an ATM machine at the existing location and reminds customers that it has branches in Oakland, at 360 22nd St. and in Lafayette, at 3498A Mt. Diablo Blvd., online banking and a mobile app, as well as shared banking agreements. Visit Patelco’s website for details.


LMI.NET Last month, Berkeley-based LMi.Net announced that super-fast fiber-optic internet would be available to the citizens of Berkeley in their homes or businesses. Fiber-optic internet is the platinum standard for providing the fastest internet access. LMi.Net has signed an agreement with Paxio, a leading provider of fiber-optic infrastructure, and will begin providing service in West Berkeley in the spring of 2016. “We have been working with city councilmember Kriss Worthington for many months to realize this project,” said Gary Morrell, president of LMi.Net. Worthington was concerned about Berkeley’s aging communications infrastructure, Morrell said, and spearheaded the initial City Council resolution, as well as the subsequent broad-band development assessment. Residential pricing will start at $49.95/month and business pricing will start at $119.95/month, with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps up to 10 Gbps. Visit LMi.Net’s website for more information.

PanotiQ: Now open in the Elmwood. Photo: Tracey Taylor
La PanotiQ. Photo: Tracey Taylor

LA PANOTIQ NOW OPEN We brought you news about French-style bakery chain La PanotiQ opening in the Elmwood in June of last year. The bakery and café is now open and serving a selection of French-style sandwiches and salads (think Jambon-Fromage and Salade Niçoise), as well as cakes and pastries (croissants, pains au chocolat), and fresh bread (baguettes, rustic loaves and ciabatta, for example). There’s Bicycle Coffee, in espresso drinks and also in Nitro cold-brew form, as well as a selection of teas, both hot and iced. La PanotiQ took over the space formerly occupied by Padi Restaurant, and before that — for many years — Holy Land. La PanotiQ is a family-owned bakery and café chain with several locations around the Bay Area. La PanotiQ Bakery Café is at 2965 College Ave. (at Ashby), Berkeley 94705. Connect with the bakery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns, and check out Bites for the latest East Bay restaurant news.

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email editors@berkeleyside.org.