Find out which stores have opened, closed or moved and what’s new in Berkeley’s small-business communities. If you have Berkeley business updates to share, send an email to email@example.com.
- Design Within Reach chooses Berkeley for its first outdoor furniture showroom
- Nike jumps on the wellness bandwagon with a new concept store: Nike Well Collective
- Missing a perfume that’s no longer made? Scents by the Bay can recreate it
- Multicultural Institute gets a state award for helping day laborers and domestic workers
- Habitot’s brand of hands-on play and learning for kids 0-5 is now taking place on Bay Street
- Flora Arte will flower no more
- Biz Buzz: Target pricing discrepancies, Ridwell taking multi-layer plastic bags
Open Fourth Street
Design Within Reach chooses Berkeley for its first outdoor furniture showroom
The Herman Miller Group closed its Danish home furnishings brand HAY in February but decided to keep the location in the family. It opened a Design Within Reach outdoor furniture showroom, the first of its kind, in April.
Aimed to attract both the design trade and homeowners, the showroom allows customers to check out wares in person. Once purchased, the items will be shipped out of DWR’s Batavia, Ohio, warehouse. The only cash-and-carry items will be small-scale products like HAY flower pots and the occasional floor sample, said assistant store manager William Taylor.
Known for its contemporary and high-end offerings, DWR’s outdoor collection includes metal and teak furniture, along with TUUCI umbrellas, Sunbrella fabrics and HAY ceramic flower pots. Prices range from an $85 towel to $20,000 for a 12-by-10-foot TUUCI cantilever umbrella, complete with heating elements.
Across the street is DWR’s indoor furniture store, a mainstay on Fourth Street for two decades.
Open Fourth Street
Nike jumps on the wellness bandwagon with a new concept store: Nike Well Collective
It took months for Nike to just do it.
That is to build out the former Amazon “4-star” store that closed last March to its liking, opening Nike Live on May 25. By June 13, the store turned into one of three Nike Well Collectives in the Bay Area, joining locations in San Ramon and San Jose. Inspired by insights from Nike Women consumers, the stores are designed to support wellness journeys for everyone.
The new concept seeks to take a chunk out of the $1.5 trillion wellness pie, offering customers a more holistic approach to fitness via its stores and app.
Not just a place to buy $65 biker shorts and $180 running shoes, the collectives also incorporate what Nike describes as five pillars of holistic fitness: movement, mindfulness, nutrition, rest and connection. Nike plans to do that by hiring 1,000 new global fitness trainers and partnering with researchers, medical professionals and scientists engaged in cutting-edge research in the mind-body sciences.
Like joining a brand’s frequent shopper program, the most benefits become available to members, who join via the free app, signing up with an email address. Benefits include free shipping over $50, invitations to special events, workouts with Nike trainers, expert advice, members-only merchandise and offers all year long.
Open The Elmwood
Missing a perfume that’s no longer made? Scents by the Bay can recreate it
Scents By the Bay, which bills itself as a luxury home, bath and body company intended to make you smell “scentsational,” opened in November 2020 in San Francisco’s Ingleside and added a Pleasanton store in July 2021. The latter didn’t work out.
“It wasn’t a good repeat business area for us,” said owner Tarah Ornelas. “We were looking for more of a neighborhood. That’s when we found the Elmwood.”
Ornelas closed the Pleasanton location and moved the store to College Avenue on May 1.
Among the “scentsational” offerings: more than 500 oils, including organic therapeutic grade essential oils and perfume oils, handcrafted massage oil candles and aromatherapy jewelry.
The store also features retired scents — in oil form — that customers come in and ask for, most notably Rain and China Rain from the former Body Shop across the street. The top most requested perfume fragrances are BCBG’s Metro and Antonia’s Flowers.
Ornelas said the store can also replicate fragrances and carries duplicate designer scents, basically a copy of a designer fragrance in oil form.
There are also handcrafted organic massage oil candles ($12-$40) “that not only burn clean but the wax is super hydrating for your skin,” Ornelas said. Customers can refill the store’s candles or create their own custom scent during the store’s wax pour days.
In keeping with the refilling trend, the shop also sells a full line of bath products in gallons that can be custom scented and taken away in 4-, 8- or 16-ounce sizes and refilled when you return.
Prices range from $6 for a bar of soap to $100 for an ounce of perfume. During Happy Hour (noon to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday), perfume and essential oils are 20% off.
Coming soon: public and private parties and classes on making perfume, cologne and soap and aromatherapy jewelry.
As to being in Elmwood? So far so good.
“It’s much better for who we are and how we want to be integrated in the community,” Ornelas said.
In the spotlight West Berkeley
Multicultural Institute gets a state award for helping day laborers and domestic workers
Although some day laborers set up on Hearst Avenue between Second and Ninth streets looking for work, Berkeley’s Multicultural Institute runs a hiring service that connects employers with day laborers, creating a safer experience for the employer and a more equitable one for the worker.
By hiring through MI, employers are guaranteed a set price, workers get a fair wage ($25 an hour to start for day laborers) and the organization acts as an intermediary should translation or other issues become a problem.
Because of such work with the immigrant community, MI was chosen as a California Nonprofit of the Year by State Assembymember Buffy Wicks, a yearly award in which state legislators single out “outstanding nonprofits” within their districts. Executive director Mirna Cervantes received the award at a June 7 luncheon for the 114 winners at the state capitol on June 7.
“We are a small team of 12 serving Contra Costa, Alameda and San Mateo Counties and are humbled to be recognized and celebrated at the state level,” said Cervantes in a press release.
MI has been working with Latino immigrant communities, particularly those from Mexico and Central America, since 1991. In addition to helping day laborers, MI also assists domestic workers with fair pay job placements, provides day laborer housing in Redwood City, adult education, job training, after-school tutoring, health and legal resources and a food pantry that’s open to all. In the future, the organization hopes to open a day laborer housing facility in Berkeley.
Habitot’s brand of hands-on play and learning for kids 0-5 is now taking place on Bay Street
Just in time for summer recess, Berkeley’s Habitot Children’s Museum — without a permanent home for three years — has found a temporary space in Emeryville. The children’s museum has been there since June and can stay through Sept. 1.
The new location features a new interactive exhibition, “Space Station Experience,” where kids can play astronaut, complete with space suits and helmets, and try to solve some of the problems real astronauts encounter. There’s also a new Imagination Station with activities that include building a rocket that launches, the art studio from Habitot’s former home and a Sweet Stars area for babies.
Timed session tickets are available on Eventbrite, with a few walk-up spaces available. Sundays are reserved for birthday party rentals.
For 22 years, Habitot operated at 2065 Kittredge St., but lost its lease in November 2020 when the building was sold. Since then, the children’s museum has been operating in a virtual and mobile capacity, with pop-ups throughout the Bay Area.
Executive director Gina Moreland hopes angel investors will help the nonprofit find a permanent home, “but it will take some time with permitting, buildout and fundraising even when we find it,” she said. “We really need the community to step up if they want there to be an East Bay Children’s Museum!”
Closed Downtown Berkeley
Flora Arte will flower no more
Emojis crying rivers of tears were among the many responses bemoaning the June 25 closing of Flora Arte on its Instagram page. The store sold flowers, flower arrangements, plants and dozens of artful pots and containers. It also boasted its own outdoor nursery next door.
Owner Jin Song, who opened the shop in 2015, wrote on Instagram that the store’s shuttering was due to “rising costs and economic challenges.” She does not plan to open another store.
Flora Arte, 2070 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (off University Avenue), Berkeley. Phone: 510- 910-9221. Connect via Instagram.
Biz Buzz: Target pricing discrepancies, Ridwell taking multi-layer plastic bags
- A customer of the University Avenue Target store recently complained on Reddit about prices at checkout being different from the price listed on the shelf. This may not be an unusual occurrence — at least two class action lawsuits are underway against Target, including one brought in Chicago last year. In that case, the plaintiff alleges that he, too, experienced price discrepancies and that this has happened at other stores across the country, which has resulted in Target being fined by at least two state agencies. If that’s happened to you, complaints can be filed with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office by emailing askcepd-DA@acgov.org or calling 510-383-8600. Complaints can also be filed with the state attorney general’s office.
- Last month Ridwell, a paid service that recycles items traditional curbside recycling programs (like Berkeley’s) will not accept, expanded its pickup service to include multi-layer plastic bags that hold items like almonds and frozen berries. Recycling programs don’t take such bags because they’re made up of several layers of plastic and other materials fused together, so they end up in landfills. Ridwell has partnered with specialty recyclers who turn those bags into products like flower pots and building blocks.