Another Round of Business Closures Hits Emeryville

3 mins read

Business closures continue to hit Emeryville hard in the wake of the pandemic and challenging business climate. Adding to our last report that identified eight closures, this report lists an additional ten businesses that have closed their doors for good. The silver lining is that two businesses have decided to open during this time.



The vitamin and supplement chain filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to close 27 California stores, and up to 1,200 across the country. The GNC at the East Bay Bridge Shopping Center was among these as reported by the Albany Patch.

The Meat Up

The Meat Up (FKA as “Grato Burger”) adjacent to Arizmendi closed after the march shelter order before reopening briefly for take-out orders. Yelp is reporting that they have closed for good.

Square One Yoga

Square One Yoga on 62nd street will not reopen even when indoor exercise facilities are eventually allowed to by the county. They announced the news in a letter to members. “The lease for our Emeryville location came up recently, and I decided not to renew it. I know this may be sad for a lot of you since you may have practiced there for many years, but even pre-Covid, Emeryville struggled. We will combine the Emeryville and Temescal schedules when we reopen so that you can still practice with your favorite teachers.“

Mattress Firm  (East Bay Bridge Shopping Center Location)

The Mattress Firm on San Pablo Avenue has closed according to yelp. There is another Mattress Firm location at the Powell Street Plaza.

J. Crew

J. Crew declared bankruptcy back in May shortly after the pandemic began and indicated this would come with store closures. On the announced list of eight closures included the Bay Street Emeryville location.

JoS. A. Bank

Men’s clothing retailer JoS. A. Bank filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid the pandemic. USA Today published a list of closures which identified the Powell Street Plaza location.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop at Bay Street’s temporary closure became permanent as they have opted to not reopen. The location opened in 2009.

Photo: Bobby Lee

Kara’s Cupcakes

The Kara’s Cupcakes at Bay Street has been removed from their website all but assuring the closure of the location that opened in 2016. Kara’s recently closed their Walnut Creek location.

10/1 Update: Proprietor Kara Haspel has confirmed the closure of her Emeryville location to Berkeleyside reporter and Emeryville resident Joanna Della Penna through email. “Our Emeryville location is available for lease assignment or sublease.”


SF-Born Timbuk2, who opened at Bay Street in 2018, is now vacant and has closed.


Old Navy – Bay Street to Powell Street Plaza

After announcing a second location at the nearby Powell Street Plaza back in October of last year, speculation began that the Bay Street location may close. This proved to be true as the Bay Street location closed its doors for good on June 26th shortly after the grand opening of the new location.

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The Broken Rack

Broken Rack owners Wayne and Marilyn Boucher finalized the sale of their Emeryville business they’ve owned for 22 years back on July 7. “Covid was the last straw for us in an already difficult business climate,” Boucher noted when contacted. “We think dividing the space into two rental suites makes sense and feel fortunate to have been able to sell our business during the pandemic.”

Ohana Cannabis (FKA “East Bay Therapeutics”), who operate across from them on Peladeau Street, are the new owners. They will reportedly partition the space for two separate businesses with a percentage of the current space being converted to a dispensary. An amendment to Emeryville’s current cannabis regulations was required by the Planning Commission and City Council due to the proximity to park space.

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Horn Barbecue (West Oakland)

Horn Barbecue, who first announced they’d be opening in the former Brown Sugar Kitchen space on Mandela Parkway about a year ago, announced they’ll finally be opening to the public this Saturday, September 26.

Pitmaster Matt Horn has seen his issues of challenges from the city (and the “community”), but he has remained steadfast and committed. Food reporter Sarah Han has the scoop on Berkeleyside.com.

*UPDATE* The Grand Opening has been delayed for another week. Follow them on Instagram @HornBarbecue for the latest updates.

Banana Republic Factory Outlet

All of The Gap’s brands have now vacated Bay Street with Old Navy & Banana Republic Women & Men (consolidated into a one Factory Outlet store) moving across Shellmound to the more autocentric Powell Street Plaza. Athleta recently closed their shop and The Gap, which closed pre-pandemic, has temporarily been filled as a seasonal Spirit Halloween store.

Foot Locker (Pop-Up)

Foot Locker has signed a short-term lease to occupy the former Athleta space at Bay Street. The store is considered a “pop-up” although they may extend the lease for long-term tenancy depending on performance.

Ramen 101

Local food chain Ramen 101, who have locations throughout Northern California, will open in the former Smashburger location on 40th. They will be Emeryville’s third ramen location joining Yuzu Ramen on 65th and Shiba Ramen at the Public Market.

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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. I found myself nodding my head as I looked at the list of closures and openings. I’m sure the pandemic was the last straw for a lot of those businesses. But in each case you could say they had their own “comorbidities”. As a side note, Hit upstairs that people in Emeryville really like their ramen shops 🙂

  2. Appreciate these updates. Not sure how it could be done but knowing that LOCAL businesses are open would be a great service for Eville Eye to provide. I was so sad to hear that Grato Burger and had closed. Would definitely have gone out of my way to order some to go had I known they were offering it. There really is no way for these out of the way places to let others know what they are doing..

    • Option 1: Perhaps E’ville Eye could buy all outstanding shares of YELP.com in order to provide the service requested.

      Option 2: use The Google (as 43 used to say) and type in “Emeryville Hamburgers.”

      Option 3: way back in 2000 B.S. (Before Smartphones) people used to actually talk to each other and ask questions like “Hey dude – where can I get a good burger to go around here?” Sigh.

  3. A warning to any retail, small business, or restaurant considering opening in Emeryville: DON’T.

    The business environment is terrible. The City Council is anti-business and particularly hard on small businesses. They will readily endorse ANY “progressive” idea that comes down the wire, and are particularly supportive of those that actively hurt enterprise.

    The unions, particularly the SEIU, see Emeryville as a place to market new, extreme ideas, and the council is willing to indulge these marketing efforts for their own political careers.

    Multiple city council members are looking to make a name for themselves, and that means getting national press. In the political arenas they are trying to exploit, getting press means attacking business. The crime doesn’t help. The occasional looting is a bonus.

    No one competent is willing to run for elected office because the endorsement process is corrupt, and the existing officials are so bad that any change is daunting.

    If you’re considering setting up shop, take a pen and make a big red ‘X’ through Emeryville. If you don’t, you can expect your business’s name to appear shortly on a future installment of the ever popular “More Business Closures in Emeryville” monthly series.

    Every dollar invested in Emeryville is a dollar wasted. The best business decision you will ever make is the one you just made not to open a business here.

    • I agree, Emeryville is following the path of Oakland for the past 40 years; over-taxing and discouraging business from locating there and here. Tax and spend, and over-regulation as you try to get construction permits and open your business. Emeryville has millions of dollars in their coffers, and the employees have great benefit packages. They couldn’t care less about privately owned and operated businesses. Vote NO on any new Alameda County and Emeryville taxes as you will never see the benefit. Ask Oaklanders. And, vote the business-unfriendly councilmen and women OUT OF OFFICE ! November 3 is your chance, it’s not just about Trump-Biden. No on more taxes and bond issues !

      • Well written. Please run for office in Emeryville. Liberals don’t understand bonds are paid back by increasing taxes. Yet we have not seen any benefits.

        More low income housing has not been created in Emeryville as promised 2 years ago. More public safety workers have not been hired as promised 6+ months ago. Public schools in Emery Unified School District have an average math proficiency score of 21% (versus the California public school average of 38%), and reading proficiency score of 28% (versus the 50% statewide average). Emery district’s average testing ranking is in the bottom 50% of public schools in California.

        I noticed Emeryville businesses reinstalling plywood window shutters recently. They know the city councilors do not support them.

        Examples of California politicians driving the state into the ground:

        Four of the worst 6 cities for African-American economic growth and home ownership: NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, San Diego.

        California has accounted for only 5 percent of the nation’s greenhouse-gas reductions and ranks 40th in per capita greenhouse-gas reduction over the past decade. Failed California (and other liberal states) forest management policies causes the forest fires within our borders, not global climate change.

        Wake up Californians! Stop voting for liberal elites who hate deplorables. Understand the rules concerning writing in candidates to avoid the mass throw out of ballots.

        A society that puts equality before freedom gets neither. A society that puts freedom before equality gets a high degree of both. Milton Friedman

  4. Why are these gibberish comments found on every article about business closures? Although admittedly, the rightwingers didn’t try to pin “VHS Rental store”, “Circuit City” or WaMu on the minimum wage I’m sure it’s implied in “business environment” complaints.

    All—Maybe your efforts would be better applied to *running* your businesses, instead of posting on comment sections of articles.

    • LOL. When you put hundreds of the most motivated and hard working people in the community out of business, they have time on their hands.

      The minimum wage has been devastating to Emeryville’s small businesses.

      And the business owners whose lifes’ work and investment were destroyed aren’t going to let Emeryville forget it.

      It took decades to build some of these businesses, and a few hours of stupidity from the ideologues in the City Council and the evil folks of the SEIU to destroy them.

      You better believe the small business owners are going to take a few minutes every month to remind the community what happened and who is responsible.

    • Precious – business advice from union dictators and “tattlers.”

      Everyone knows the following: VHS stores went bankrupt because cable tv was provided free of charge via taxpayer subsidies. Circuit City went bankrupt when it stopped compensating more productive workers via commissions. WaMu went bankrupt because Bill Clinton forced them to make mortgages to unqualified buyers.

      Nothing to see here folks – just another ad hominem attack by a denier of science and facts.

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