College Avenue Commerce: Decades of Service, Merchants' Years of Service: a Final Look

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Following is the last in our series on businesses in business on College Avenue at least 25 years. If you have been "on the Avenue" and didn't see your business' name, email editor@rockridge.org. We want readers of The Rockridge News to know about you.

* The Breema Clinic at 6201 Florio (above 1st Federal Bank) and the Breema Center at 6076 Claremont Avenue were both opened in 1981 by Jon Schreiber. The center is where classes are held for practitioners who come from all over the U.S. and the world. The clinic is where clients go for classes, which are private and usually with an instructor. Breema's goal is to have you focus on yourself and experience the present to find balance and harmony. Novices achieve this state initially with the help of an instructor and some physical exercises, but eventually are able to find the focus on their own. Meditation, yoga, a little self-reflection all are components of the practice. Breema staff invite you to come learn how Breema can help with physical, mental and emotional well-being.

*    Maryanne Byars, owner of Cuttin' Up on College, is a very proud 6th generation Californian: her ancestors settled in Lake County and San Francisco in 1836. She was born at Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital and remained in Oakland, later attending Don's Beauty School and graduating in 1977. Some of you may recall Hairy Ways located on Claremont Avenue and operated by her mom. Maryanne worked there earning her spurs until she realized it was time to manage her own business. She opened Cuttin' Up on College in 1983 at 5811 College Avenue and has been there ever since. She has passed on her skills to over 150 stylists, including her son Louie who now holds down one of the chairs. While in her salon, I noticed all the seats were occupied by young men. Maryanne says that's nothing new for her; she has been styling men's hair since she opened. Maryanne is one of the businesses supporting this year's Kitchen Tour. You can fill out a paper sign-up form there (rather than on-line), and if you mention this article, she'll give you a 10 percent discount on your haircut. That sounds like a winning proposition. Hope you see her soon.

*    Katrina Rozelle Topp, owner of Katrina Rozelle Pastries and Desserts, graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 1984, spent a short time at Narsai's restaurant in Kensington, then opened her own business in 1987 on College Avenue. Located at 5931 College Avenue, she is next door to Dreyer's Ice Cream, about as good a location as one could want. Best known for her wedding cakes, Katrina also offers cookies and cupcakes if you can't wait for the special order. However, her imagination and execution in wedding cakes is nearly boundless. When you are planning that wedding at the neighboring Julia Morgan-designed church (College Avenue Presbyterian), make a right as you come out the door and order your cake at the same time from Katrina Rozelle. If you aren't getting married, you can still stop by for a cake especially designed for that golfer, musician, executive or other favorite attraction in your life.

n    The Bank of America has been at the corner of College and Claremont avenues since the late 1960s when the business was moved from its previous location to make room for BART and Hwy 24 construction. The bank has always been generous about letting shoppers use the metered parking lot, especially while Safeway construction was underway. The branch now serves mostly local businesses and residents, and does no mortgage financing. Friendly tellers are a hallmark of the branch's service. (Ed. Note: The stark appearance of today's bank building contrasts dramatically with the decorative flat-iron building the bank formerly occupied, which was located roughly where the BART station is today, according to long-time Rockridge resident Annette Floystrup. If you have more information or photos about that part of Rockridge, or others, email editor@rockridge.org.)

*   Body Time started life as The Body Shop, a store that many of us grew up with, that was on College Avenue in the Elmwood District beginning in 1980. The two sisters who started the business, which began in their garage, first opened the doors in 1970 on Telegraph Avenue, and that store is still there. In 1992, after opening the Rockridge branch store, the sisters sold to a British company called Body Time, the Rockridge store we now shop with. The owners of the store are Terra and Al Alberto, who actively work in the store and are busy with a new line of aromatherapy products. The culture, however, has remained the same: quality products and a reward for customer loyalty. Stop in and see how you can be pampered.

*    One of the first tenants in Market Hall when it opened in 1986, Paul Marcus Wines founder Paul Marcus had worked as a record buyer for Berkeley's Leopold's Records. That seemingly unlikely jump makes sense upon reading the background summary of staff displayed at the store and on Paul Marcus Wine's website, revealing how a love of wines can span many backgrounds. Whether it's wines from California or Catalonia you are after, Paul Marcus carries it or will work hard to get it, but they do like to try everything themselves first before they buy it. The store also hosts special evenings at local restaurants for meals paired with their wines. Visit the website for a list of interesting evenings. (paulmarcuswines.com/)