The Gap Closing, Burger King Remodeling, Bruce’s Barbershop Opens, Brandy Melville Coming, Forever 21 Spared

2 mins read

Our periodic Restaurant & Retail report with recent business closures, openings and news across Emeryville.

Photo: Kendall Williams

Burger King Remodel

Burger King began construction on an overdue remodel of its Powell Street Plaza location last month. The plans includes renovated bathrooms, a new entrance and a reconfigured drive thru.

The E’ville Eye broke the news in 2016 that In-N-Out was considering moving into the space. They withdrew their permit in 2017 amid questions of traffic and parking impacts.

The BK drive-thru remains open during construction.

Photo: Bobby Lee

The Gap Closing Bay Street Location

Bay Street anchor tenant The Gap has announced their closure by offering initial discounts of 30-50%. The news was a surprise, but not entirely shocking as the clothing retailer has had well documented struggles. Last March, they announced the closure of 230 stores in the next two years.

They will close for good on January 26th.

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Bruce’s Barbers Opens at Public Market Emeryville

Bruce’s Barbers officially opened on November 22 after announcing their lease back in June. They are located in the “Breezeway” area of the Public Market behind Peet’s.

Bruce’s offers six chairs for hair and one for specialized skin services. The specialize in short barber style haircuts/beard trims and straight razor shaves. Appointments can be booked online.

Bay Street Forever 21 Spared from Closures?

Fans of the local Forever 21 can breath a sigh of relief for now. The bankrupt clothing retailer recently announced a list of five closures in the Bay Area. The Bay Street location was not among them.

The announced closures include SF’s Stockton Street store, San Mateo’s Hillsdale Shopping Center, Fairfield’s Solano mall, San Rafael’s Northgate mall and the Tanforan shops in San Bruno. These stores are expected to close after the Holiday shopping season on Jan. 5. At least 515 workers are expected to lose their jobs in California.

Brandy Melville Opening

Brandy Melville, a clothing and fashion accessories brand that caters to teenage girls and young women, recently announced they would be opening a Bay Street Location. They will occupy the former Arts Africains space who recently moved a few storefronts down.

The Italian founded retailer opened their first location in 2009 and have grown to around 100 locations.

Construction at the space is underway and they have targeted a winter grand opening.

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Photo: Sarah Han

Grato Burgers Reopens as “The Meat Up”

Berkeleyside Nosh editor Sarah Han recently noted in her October “Bites” roundup of East Bay food news that Grato Burgers has rebranded itself as “The Meat Up.”

According to Han, the menu will be fairly similar — sandwiches, burgers, salads, smoothies and juices — but more focused. The have also discontinued their breakfast menu.

Photo: Kendall Williams

LaserAway Opening at former See’s Candies Space

A new facade is under construction at the former See’s Candies location who shuttered back in October. LaserAway specializes in hair removal, skin rejuvenation and Botox treatments.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. Measure F – Measure for a Safer Emeryville is misnamed because the tax increase would fund both Public Safety AND Early Childhood Education. At least it should be broken into F.1 (Safety) and F.2 (Handouts to people with children < 5 years old – about 300 – who will move away eventually) so we can vote appropriately.

    The December 3rd Community Presentation is not available yet so we don't know the split of the $2,000,000. Every week I watch live broadcasts on the internet and then have watched re-plays immediately. Why can't a City in hi-tech Emeryville post something within a week?

    Dear City Council: Keep raising taxes and pretty soon the volume of milk and honey will go down. If the city doesn't collect $2,000,000 more in taxes where will cuts in services be made? We desperately need a safer city so you hitched your socialist wagon to a strong horse.

    "Community oversight will ensure funds are spent as promised." Anybody know how to learn about this? The City website has 3,400+ links to pdf's but no way to sort by date.

    • That gravy train is about to run out of steam…

      It actually feels like they are skirting the law when it comes to honestly writing the ballot initiative. Since they have listed several entities to receive funds from the tax increase, it’s considered a “special” tax. That designation requires a 66.67% approval.

      “A special tax is any tax levied for a specific purpose. If revenue from a tax is earmarked in a legally binding way for a service such as education, transportation, fire or police safety, parks and recreational facilities, or mental health services it is a special tax. Special taxes imposed by local governments require a two-thirds (66.67 percent) supermajority vote at the ballot box for approval. If a district or taxing authority was created for a specific purpose, such as a fire protection district or a school district, it has no ability to impose general taxes and can only submit special taxes to the voters.”

      We’re stuck with these “enlightened” five till next November.

      • Vote NO on measure F (Measure for Safer Emeryville) because there is no accountability for increasing our taxes by $2,000,000 / year as written. This is enough to add at least 10 people to the payroll – and doesn’t consider lifetime pensions. There is no remedy provided when the increased taxes are not realized. Besides – Emeryville already has a surplus! For fiscal year 2018-19 the consolidated General Fund revenues exceeded the budget by $4.2 million! Apparently – one use of the surplus is to buy plaques immortalizing the names of City Council members.
        The increased sales tax all of us will pay would allegedly fund:

        1. Additional firefighter positions (Alameda County taxes are sufficient in other cities already)
        2. Additional police officer positions (Desperately needed – but how many?)
        3. Additional public safety support positions (Explain the need?)
        4. Additional code enforcement positions (These positions should be paid for via the building permit process)
        5. Additional engineering positions (Explain the need?)
        6. Funding the Emeryville Child Development Center (The open ended language originally proposed to fund undefined “Capital Improvements” was deleted per demand by SEIU. Another example of the tail wagging the dog.)

        The priority order for enrollment at ECDC is as follows:

        1. Siblings of current families and staff (how convenient.)
        2. Families who live in Emeryville (how many Pre-K children actually live here? Parents already receive numerous tax breaks for childcare.)
        3. Families whose parents work in Emeryville (Let’s increase the cost for non-residents. Many employers reimburse employees for childcare.)
        4. Families who live in the greater 94608 zip code area of Oakland (Increase the cost for non-residents.)
        5. Families from throughout the Bay Area (Increase the cost for non-residents.)

        Furthermore, California Proposition 13 will increase funding for public preschools by $15 billion and require us to pay taxes amounting to $740 million / year for 35 years to pay off the bonds. And – California already has a $21 billion surplus! If Emeryville City Council can’t get funds for their socialist agenda from the state gravy train – why are they in office?

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