E’ville Biz: Bacano, Teacake bakeries among rash of recent Emeryville Restaurant and Retail closures
Bacano Bakery sadly announced their closure on April 5th. They held a final sale to bid farewell to the community they adopted over a year and a half ago. In addition, Bay Street’s Teacake Bakery closed in March after 10 years in Emeryville. Teacake was one of the few independent, small businesses at Bay Street. These were two of what seems like a rash of recent restaurant and retail closures and persistent vacancies. The reasons are varied, but the trend might be a concerning one for the economic health and vibrancy of our city.
We are very sad to announce that Bacano Bakery is now closed as of April 4, 2016 and at this time we do not have plans to re-open at another location. Bacano Bakery will also not be at any of the farmers’ markets any longer.
It has been our passion to make creative, delicious and nutritious baked goods for you. We’re filled with gratitude and appreciation to all of you who have supported Bacano Bakery. We got to know you as our friends, and your support always fueled our passion and creativity for making great food. We are equally grateful to our team of employees who worked tirelessly, making exceptional food and providing great customer service.
This has been a wonderful experience for us and we will take many fond memories and your friendships with us as we move on.
Thank you, friends!
– The Mad Bakers at Bacano Bakery
When I reached out to Bacano’s owner Laverne Matias to inquire about the reasons for their sudden closure, he opted for privacy and referred me to the property’s owners. Matias noted that there were circumstances beyond their control that caused the closing. “The community has been so supportive of Bacano from the start. We have made many new friends during the year and half we’ve been here in Emeryville and we would have loved to continue. We’re going to miss the local neighbors and the individuals and families who came from all over the Bay Area, as well as all the cool dogs.”
Will we ever taste those delicious gluten-free baked goods again? “We’re open to possibilities, but we don’t have any immediate plans to reopen anywhere else at this point. Starting from scratch in a new location is a huge financial and emotional commitment and all that capital went into this venture”. The space on 65th has a long history and was previously home to Cafe Aquarius who shuttered after being unable to negotiate a rent increase by the property’s landlords.
The bakery of petite cupcakes and delicious cookies shuttered back in March. Moving into the space will reportedly be SF based Kara’s Cupcakes. Teacake had been in Emeryville for 10 years.
To our dearest Customers and Community,
It is with the most thankful of hearts that we close our doors today. We’re so grateful for the foundation of support you’ve given us over the past 10 years, and will continue to cherish the sweet smiles and stories we’ve shared over cookies and cupcakes. Thank you so much for allowing us the great pleasure of serving and being part of such a wonderful community; we wish you all the best.
– Teacake Bake Shop
The SJ Mercury news is reporting that Sports Authority has scraped its plans to reorganize under Bankruptcy protection and will close all its stores. Reasons cited by one analyst cite the rapidly rising labor costs and “showrooming” which refers to shoppers browsing merchandise at Brick & Mortar stores but then purchasing it on Amazon or other online retailers. “With the minimum wage going up to $15 an hour and more people turning to online shopping, more stores are going to close,” noted consumer behavior and marketing trends analyst Phil Lempert in the Mercury article. “It’s fine to say that everyone should have a living wage. But the money has to come from somewhere.” No timeline for the closures was provided.
Elephant Bar temporarily closed after a small kitchen fire the day after Christmas and even posted a sign on their door announcing they would reopen. Since then, they’ve apparently decided it was a good time to exit Emeryville and the location has been removed from their website. Bay Street is already rumored to have found a replacement “Italian themed” tenant (please not an Olive Garden!)
Pier 1 Imports
The struggling furniture and housewares chain closed their Powell Street Plaza after a post-holiday liquidation. Amid declining profits and pressure from online sales, Pier 1 announced that it plans to close 100 stores as part of a three-year real estate optimization plan.
The popular furniture retailer that had been there since Bay Street opened, closed shortly after the holiday amid reports of lagging performance. Cookware and kitchen accessory retailer Williams-Sonoma, owned by the same corporation as Pottery Barn, shuttered last year around the same time. The space is already under construction and we’ve been told that the replacement tenant is “an exciting one”.
The Bay Street chain featuring Women’s clothing, bags & shoes shuttered shortly after the Holidays.
The former Bucci’s space sits vacant and is up for sale after announcing their closure last August ($195K if you’re shopping for a restaurant space). They apparently had six years on their lease when they opted to retire.
Besides Bay Bridge Optometry and Ike’s Sandwiches, Parc on Powell is a relative ghost town.
The San Pablo Corridor has so much potential but remains one of the most blighted areas of town.
The E-22 Cafe space on the prominent corner of Powell and Hollis sits vacant.
In addition, there are at least three businesses that are working to sell their Emeryville establishments on commercial real estate sites including the Chevron on Powell & Hollis. One of these businesses, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, expressed her desire to leave Emeryville. “We’re doing what all small businesses are doing. Raising prices, cutting shifts, trying to survive. I really don’t think they [council] understand how business works. We’re really disappointed. We tried to voice our opinion to city council and they wouldn’t listen to us. The city isn’t doing anything for small business. I haven’t seen anything.” The City’s website currently lists twenty available commercial spaces.
A robust Technology, Healthcare and Biotech workforce in our town should help support a healthy local dining and recreation scene and makes these recent failures and ample vacancies harder to discern. “Restaurants have always been a tough business” noted Sr. Director of the Bay Area Council’s Economic Institute Sean Randolph in this recent East Bay Times Article (formerly The Oakland Tribune). “But with additional costs mandated by the government may make restaurant owners feel as if it is less of a boom than it would be otherwise.” Randolph otherwise paints a rather rosy picture of the region’s economic health throughout the year.
Whether our city is progressing or regressing and the overall economic health of our city is unknown. The only current economic data the city maintains is in the form of their monthly progress reports that track new business licenses and closures. This data seems to suggest that business closures have accelerated and surpassed new business registrations as of late. The data does not account for if the business fits the cities large or small business threshold or is in fact a sole proprietorship. The data also doesn’t account for seasonal trends in business closures.
To offset all this bad news, their have been some encouraging signs that some businesses are willing to still give it a go in our city. Best Coast Burritos, Propaganda, a handful of food-pods in the Public Market and the recently announced Banh Mi Joint have all announced their intent to open in the last year. We also have word of a new spot on San Pablo at the long vacant Adeline Place and a possible brewery at “The Intersection” development on San Pablo Avenue.