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In the spotlight Downtown Berkeley

David Phillips grew the Earth Island Institute from ‘a few sprouts’ into a network of more than 80 environmental activist projects

Executive director David Phillips will step down after 40 years at the Earth Island Institute. Courtesy: Earth Island Institute

In 1982, the environmental activist David Brower, who founded several environmental organizations and led the Sierra Club for many years, founded the Earth Island Institute, a hub for grassroots environmental projects, with colleagues David Phillips and John Knox, who became the organization’s founding co-executive directors. Knox retired in 2020. 

“We started Earth Island Institute as a big experiment,” said Phillips, “a place where people with great ideas to help save the planet could come and get started, supported and mentored. It’s turned out to be a great concept for demonstrating what accomplishments can come from small groups of committed individuals.” 

After 40 years as either co-executive director or executive director, Phillips announced on Nov. 8 that he would be stepping down from his role once a successor is named. He said he wants to “make way for a new generation of leadership.” However Phillips will continue as project director of the institute’s International Marine Mammal Project, which works to project dolphins and whales.

Under Phillips’ leadership, the Earth Island Institute has grown from what Phillips described as “just a few sprouts” into a network of more than 80 environmental activist EII projects around the world. Among the organizations formed under EII’s umbrella include the Rainforest Action Network, Sacred Land Film Project and the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Phillips was instrumental in developing Earth Island’s role as a fiscal sponsor for small groups working on conservation, wildlife protection, Indigenous rights, climate-change solutions and plastic pollution. In addition, he was involved in the creation of a national youth environment prize and a legal advocacy program and is one of the founding directors of the David Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley. He called the center “the greenest building in the city,” an office and event space where environmental nonprofits can “help educate and inspire work for the protection of the planet.”  

As Earth Island’s executive director, Phillips concurrently led the International Marine Mammal Project, whose mission is to protect dolphins, whales and the ocean environment. Over the years, Phillips has spearheaded several successful environmental campaigns, resulting in the protection of tens of thousands of dolphins annually and the rescue and release of Keiko, the orca featured in the Free Willy film. 

“Dave has been an incredibly steady and effective leader for the organization,” Josh Floum, president of EII’s board of directors, said in a press release. “He leaves Earth Island stronger than it has ever been.”

Earth Island Institute, 2150 Allston Way, Suite 460, Berkeley. Phone: 510-859-9100. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

Open Solano Avenue

A new studio fills in, creates and raises eyebrows — in a good way

Maya Moore doing a pre-draw that her client must approve before the actual tattooing of new eyebrows takes place. Courtesy: MooreBeautyLove Studio & Academy

According to InStyle magazine, fuller, more shaped brows have been in fashion since the 2010s, but for many that trend isn’t so easy to achieve. Two increasingly popular forms of semi-permanent tattooing — microblading and nano machine hair strokes — can fill in missing brows or create the equivalent of entirely new brows. 

Both are offered at MooreBeautyLove Studio & Academy, which opened on July 23 on Solano Avenue. 

Microblading involves pigment being scratched into the skin using a tiny blade on a hand-held tool. Nano machine hair strokes is a less invasive option that applies pigment to the skin using a single needle (or group of needles) without cutting into it. 

Inside the new MoreBeautyLove Studio & Academy on Solano Avenue. Courtesy: MooreBeautyLove Studio & Academy

The nano machine process has a quicker healing process: five to seven days versus the 10 to 14 of microblading. Depending on a client’s skin and lifestyle, results for both procedures can last from a year-and-a-half to three years. Prices start at $300 for microblading to about $950 for a session with Maya Moore, the studio’s master artist and lead instructor on the academy side. She co-owns the studio with her husband, Jamar, who is CEO.

“There’s all sorts of people coming in for services,” said Jamar Moore. 

Owners Jamar Moore, CEO, and Maya Moore, master artist and instructor, center, surrounded by staff at MooreBeautyLove. Courtesy: MooreBeautyLove Studio & Academy

The majority of customers are women who choose the procedures out of convenience. “They don’t have to fill in their brows every morning,” Moore said, “which is convenient, especially if they’re on camera a lot.”

About a quarter of the studio’s customers have lost their brows to chemotherapy or alopecia. Other customers have also lost part or all of their brows due to aging. 

The Moores had a shop in Richmond for about a year before moving into the 3,500-square-foot space on Solano, a former Verizon Wireless store, which they renovated. 

“They’re called artists because there is an art to it,” Moore said, of the studio’s eight brow artists. “When you’re creating a brow design, it’s custom to that person’s face. If customers have some hair, the artist has to go with the flow of those hairs so it looks natural and real.”

The process begins with a pencil sketch of where the artist will draw the new “hairs.” Once approved by the client, the tattooing process begins. Looks vary, from a natural look to replace what was lost to more stylized versions typically favored by the young. 

A growing customer category is men, Moore said. 

“Initially they think, ‘Oh it’s for women,’” he said, “but once they see more men getting it done, they will feel more comfortable with it.”

MooreBeautyLove Studio & Academy, 1831B Solano Ave., Berkeley. Phone: 510-777-6059. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Connect via Facebook and Instagram

Closing Solano Avenue

Transports customers will soon have to run to Rockridge store

The Solano Avenue branch of Transports will close Dec. 17. Credit: Joanne Furio

Bev Nakashima, a swimmer and a runner, opened Transports on College Avenue in Rockridge, selling gear that catered to her sports in 1982. By the mid-aughts, business was so good, she opened a second Transports on Solano Avenue in 2007. The latter location, however, is not going to make it to the finish line. 

The Solano store will close on Dec. 17 due to a slowdown that hasn’t picked up after the pandemic.

Right now most merchandise in the Solano store has been marked down 15% (sale merchandise has been reduced 10%) to help clear out the inventory. 

“We are sad to leave the Solano Ave neighborhood but hope our loyal customers will visit our Oakland store,” said Sarah Dever, who’s in charge of Transports’ brand relations.

Transports, 1559 Solano Ave. (at Peralta Avenue), Berkeley. Phone: 510-528-8405. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Connect via Facebook and Instagram

Moved Downtown Berkeley 

The bank is back: Bank of America returns to its original downtown spot — but in a new building

The Center Street side of the new Bank of America Berkeley Main branch. Courtesy: Bank of America

After more than two years, Bank of America’s original Downtown Berkeley location will reopen on Dec. 5 on the ground floor of the Residence Inn by Marriott, at 2129 Shattuck Ave. The move will coincide with the closing of the bank’s 2151 Shattuck location across the street, which acted as the main Bank of America branch while the Marriott was being built. 

The new financial center boasts more than 5,600 square feet and includes teller stations, a media wall, seating areas for clients and five ATMs (four in vestibules and one in the lobby). In the past, customers had access to a parking lot adjacent to the bank, which has now become part of the Marriott. Instead, customers can park in one of two designated (and free) parking spaces in the hotel garage. 

“We are excited to move back to our original location of Berkeley Main financial center,” said Manal Price, Bank of America Consumer Banking Market Leader for the Greater East Bay, in an email. 

The financial center will be staffed with an on-site financial services advisor, small business consultant, credit solutions advisor and a team of relationship managers and bankers “to assist the community for the entire spectrum of their financial needs,” Price said. 

A spokeswoman for the bank said the transition from one location to the other will be seamless: “There will be no interruption of service.”

Bank of America customers in the North Shattuck neighborhood have not been so lucky. Their Bank of America branch at 1536 Shattuck Ave. closed on Aug. 23. 

Bank of America, 2129 Shattuck Ave. (at Center Street), Berkeley. Phone: 510-542-5405. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Connect via Facebook and Twitter. 

Closed Solano Avenue

After eight years, Chloe’s closes its closet door

The pandemic helped to close Chloe’s Closet, a children’s clothes and toys consignment shop. Credit: Joanne Furio

In 2003, Martha Coogan opened Chloe’s Closet, a children’s clothing and toys consignment shop whose name comes from an animated children’s TV show, in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights. By 2014, Coogan had an Inner Sunset store, too, and business was booming, so she opened a third location on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue. 

“She thought it would boom in Berkeley as well,” said Michelle Martinez, who bought Chloe’s five years ago. Unforeseen circumstances — like a global pandemic — and a lack of foot traffic combined to put the kibosh on the Solano store. It closed Oct. 31. 

“The pandemic really pushed us to the edge,” said Martinez. “We had to make the best decision for the business, which was to close that store.”

Martinez wanted to reassure consignors that all agreements in terms of payment for goods sold will remain the same. Martinez recommended calling the San Francisco stores (415-642-3300 or 415-664-4611) or emailing for more info.

Chloe’s Closet, 1545 Solano Ave. (off Neilson Street), Berkeley. Connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

In Brief

Biz Buzz: Berkeley Potters Guild, Holiday Gift Fair, West Berkeley Design Loop

  • Berkeley Potters Guild’s 51st annual holiday show and sale opened Dec. 3 from with a party featuring live music at the guild, 731 Jones St. The sale continues on Dec. 4, Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 17-23, also from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, the sale will be from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The work of 17 clay artists will be featured, ranging from vases to jewelry and sculpture. 
  • The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual Holiday Gift Fair, will take place on Dec. 8 from 4-7 p.m. in the Hotel Shattuck’s plaza, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue). Admission is free. Co-sponsored by the city’s Office of Economic Development, the sale will feature 25 vendors. For a preview, check out the fair’s gift guide
  • West Berkeley Design Loop, a referral network of Berkeley design and building businesses, will hold a mixer on Dec. 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Ashby Lumber, 824 Ashby Ave. (at 7th Street). Light refreshments and appetizers will be served. Mixologist Darshan Amrit, architect at Berkeley’s Studio KDA, will demonstrate cocktails “certain to wow your friends and families,” according to the email. Newcomers are welcome. Register by emailing

Joanne Furio is a longtime journalist and writer of creative nonfiction. Originally from New York, she has been a staff writer, an editor and a freelance magazine writer. More recently, she was a contributing...