Acid Heroes

May 16, 2015

Going out of business

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:03 pm
Tags: , , , ,


I always get a sad feeling whenever I see a business going out of business.  Often, I watched them when they were setting up their business in the first place.  Putting all the pieces together with a great sense of hopefulness.  And I’ll think of all the hard work and money they invested.  Ending up with broken dreams.

I had watched these guys spend a lot of time preparing to launch their new store on Telegraph and Durant. Called “Earth’s Bizarre.”  So it was hard to get a read on exactly what it would be.   They had spent several months painting the front of the building in colorful colors.  And when you peaked through the slits of the boarded-up front windows it looked like they were filling the building with all sorts of mysterious and magical-looking objects.  So there was a great sense of curiosity and anticipation about what they were cooking up.  It seemed like one of those mad dreams that a bunch of starry-eyed hippies used to dream up back in the old days.

When they finally opened up around Christmas, I had a sense, the first time I went in there, that the place was doomed as a business model.  Which was sad.  Because they had collected all sorts of weird and wondrous merchandise.  Life-sized Buddha statues.  Full suits of armor.  Vintage electric guitars that had once been owned by the likes of Bob Dylan and Keith Richards (starting at $20,000).  All kinds of expensive, hand-crafted art objects and curios.  A real eclectic mix.  And a welcome change from the usual bland and generic corporate chain stores that now dominate Berkeley.

But I couldn’t help wondering:  Who was gonna’ buy this stuff??  I mean, the Tele neighborhood is mostly made up of poor college students living in cramped hovels.  Even if they could afford to buy the stuff, where the hell would they put it?
Four months later, the dream was over.   “They were paying $11,000 a month rent,” explained Hoodie Dave, as he watched them loading their inventory into U-Haul trucks.

It’s always a shame when cool things can’t afford to exist in this harsh world of ours.  Fragile dreams often don’t come true.

I remember this other budding entrepreneur who came up with this crazy, original idea for a business on Telegraph a couple of years ago.  A restaurant that sold nothing but breakfast cereals.  Cheerios, Captain Crunch, Sugar Frosted Flakes, etc.  The store looked so zany and cool with all the different cereal boxes on display.  “The idea came to me one night in a dream,” said the owner.  Unfortunately, I guess it didn’t occur to him in the dream that since cereal is so cheap and convenient to prepare at home, most people wouldn’t be willing to pay extra to have it prepared in a restaurant.  The poor guy struggled along for a year until he finally packed it in.

It’s a cool thing when somebody comes up with an original idea that nobody had thought of doing before.  I guess the problem is:  There’s often a reason why nobody had thought of doing it before.


All buddhas half off.








  1. I see that where I live too. (Lanc. Pa) our ” downtown has been working on cleaning itself since I was a kid and doing a pretty good job. But I often see these stores or boutiques pop up , and then 6 months or a year later I’ll see that location is now a different store or up for rent. On the brighter side , occasionally one or two will manage to eke out a living and actually appear to prosper.

    Comment by Rich — May 17, 2015 @ 11:13 am | Reply

    • Yeah. Its always nice when one of them finds a niche and makes a go of it. California is brutal on small businesses.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — May 18, 2015 @ 2:05 am | Reply

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