Photo: HG Rugs
HG Rugs in West Berkeley is closing after 88 years in business. Photo: HG Rugs

HG RUGS is closing. In business since 1928, HG Rugs, or Henry Gertmenian Co. Rugs, at 1006 University Ave. (at Ninth) will be closing its doors after liquidating its inventory of more than 6,000 rugs. HG Rugs is the oldest and largest distributor and importer of handmade rugs in the U.S., including Persian traditional, contemporary, antique and tribal rugs. The company got its start in Los Angeles in 1927 and moved to San Francisco in 1928. In his elder years, Henry urged his sons Al and Paul Germenian, who were scholars and accomplished businessmen, to take over the business. The sons honored his wishes, carrying on the business even after their father passed away. In 2014, the company’s lease was quadrupled and it moved to its current location in Berkeley at 1006 University Ave. Current owner and family friend, Anthony Jalili, tells Berkeleyside that he took over the store last year when sons Paul, age 83 and Al, age 79, expressed their desire to retire. Having less success at the Berkeley location since its move, the company has decided to close its doors. It will close permanently once the inventory has been liquidated. Jalili anticipates that will take from 2-5 months. Henry Gertmenian Co. Rugs, 1006 University Ave., Berkeley 94710, Tel: 510-990 6352. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Photo: Yaza Couture
Yaza Couture, a socially conscious women’s clothing store, is open on Solano Avenue. Photo: Yaza Couture
Yaza Couture, a socially conscious women’s clothing store, is open on Solano Avenue. Photo: Yaza Couture

YAZA COUTURE Yaza Couture boutique on Solano Avenue offers socially conscious women’s clothing and accessories that are handcrafted by women, for women. Owner Namgyal Choedon Newton used to work in the technology sector, but her entrepreneurial spirit, which she attributes to growing up around her father’s Tibetan rug business, inspired her to contribute something more to the community of Berkeley where she lives. Named after the town in Tibet and the birthplace of her father, Yaza, which opened in February, offers handcrafted items made in Nepal, as well as by local artisans. “I realized my father’s business had an impact on me and how I see the world,” Newton told Berkeleyside. “I launched Yaza, a business that celebrates the women of Berkeley, the women of Nepal, and all women really, who are looking for an ethical way to add beautiful, contemporary garments to their wardrobe. My store offers what is very much a part of what Berkeley is about – multi-cultural, global, and socially conscious.” The family-owned workshop in Nepal is committed to healthy work conditions and good pay, while practicing reuse and recycling every day in the production process. “We even have a solar-panel system” Newton said. “And for the store, I was looking for something a bit different, something that had a contemporary look but global flair, but also just as important, I wanted to know who made my clothing, where it came from and how it was produced.” The space now occupied by Yaza Couture had been vacant for about five years, and before that was the site of a computer repair shop. Yaza Couture, 1535 Solano Ave., Berkeley 94707. Open Mon.-Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tel: 510-882 3317. Connect with Yaza on Facebook and Twitter.

SaHaira hair salon has a new location on Domingo Avenue. Photo: SaHaira

SAHAIRA SaHaira hair salon has moved into the space that was formerly Wine Thieves at 2926 Domingo Ave., across from the Claremont Hotel. (Wine Thieves has since relocated to 3401 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.) SaHaira was previously in business in Rockridge for eleven years, lost its lease and made the move to Berkeley in March 2016. Owner Shari Fritz has been a stylist for 35 years and said: ” We are a full service, ‘Bumble and bumble‘ exclusive salon that caters to all ethnicities with a staff that is multi-cultural. We keep ourselves educated and are able to provide the latest in techniques and colors.” SaHaira, 2926 Domingo Ave., Berkeley 94705. Tel: 510-595 4227. Open Tues.–Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sat. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Connect with SaHaira on Facebook and Instagram.

Games of Berkeley has moved to 2510 Durant Ave. This shows a mock-up of what the final facade will look like.  Photo: Games of Berkeley
Games of Berkeley has moved to 2510 Durant Ave. This shows a mock-up of what the final facade will look like.  Photo: Games of Berkeley

GAMES OF BERKELEY is continuing its move from its downtown location at 2151 Shattuck Ave.(at Center) to 2510 Durant (near Telegraph) — as first reported by Berkeleyside in May. The store is co-owned by Erik Bigglestone, his sister Branwyn and their stepfather Michael Sloan, but Erik is the only active member in operations of the store. Bigglestone told Berkeleyside that Games essentially outgrew the current space it had occupied for the past 20 years (it has been in business in downtown Berkeley for 36 years). He added: “The rent and utilities at the new building will cost less than our downtown location, with no appreciable reduction in outdoor foot traffic. The demographics of the area are different, but we expect to be able to continue serving most of our current customer base while at the same time tapping into the university student market, something we’ve never managed to do before to a great extent.” The retail space and event space will be larger and more functional as well. “The new space is a gigantic box about 20% larger than the current one, with no structural pillars in odd places throughout like the current building”, said Bigglestone. Plans for a “soft opening” are in the works, anticipated for Wed., Nov. 30. “That may need to be postponed depending on final permits and a painting delay. Both addresses will be open for business through the holiday shopping season until early January. A tentative target date for a Grand Opening is Sunday, Jan. 15, but that may be rescheduled for a bit earlier”, Bigglestone added. To start, the hours will be Wed.-Sun. from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a likely expansion to 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Games of Berkeley, 2510 Durant, Berkeley 94704  Tel: 510-540 7822. Follow the progression of the store’s move and upcoming opening events on its website or connect with the store on Facebook, Twitter or 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.

Mary Corbin is a writer and artist who has lived in Berkeley for over 30 years. Mary moved to the Bay Area from St. Louis to attend California College of the Arts in Oakland where she completed her BFA...