Longtime Local Stationer Latest Store Closure

Contact Cheryl Pon at [email protected]





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Berkeley will soon lose yet another

independent retail store when 98-

year-old stationery provider

Radstons Office Plus closes its doors

for good at the end of July after years

of declining revenue.

“This is really hard but it just had

to be done,” said Diane Griffin, owner

of the Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley

Way store. “I don’t see a way to turn

it around.”

Griffin said no single factor led to

the April decision to close down the store, though she pointed to changing

purchasing trends from a large

local government agency and a 20

percent hike in the store rent as two

culprits.

“There’s no one reason that our

store is closing, because there are

many things that have to be

addressed that are out of our sphere,”

Griffin said.

The store has seen a 40 percent

profit loss over the last five to eight

years, Griffin said, in part because of

a shift in the retail industry toward

online-based business.

“The world has just changed the

way they order office (supplies),”

Griffin said. “There are less people

who are coming in the retail environment

and buying things in person.”

The business ultimately decided

not to renew the Radstons lease,

Griffin said.

“That didn’t fit into the scenario of

what we thought could make a profit

at the Berkeley store,” Griffin said.

“We were going to be in a trouble and

I didn’t feel comfortable filing a fiveyear

commitment.”

Berkeley resident and city

Councilmember Dona Spring

expressed regret at the closing of

Radstons.

“I shop at Radstons often—it’s a

good office supply store and a lot

more homey than Office Depot, so I

was very disappointed,” Spring said.

Radstons, established in 1908 by

Clifford Radston, was purchased by

Griffin’s father and grandfather in

the mid-1940s before coming into

the hands of Griffin and her husband in 1978.

The Berkeley store used to run a

profitable delivery business for public

institutions and independent

businesses, but the Griffins moved

the delivery service to the central

Radstons store in Hercules, Calif.

The delivery business is responsible

for 90 percent of store profit, Griffin

said.

The Hercules Radstons is also bidding

for a $500,000 annual contract

to provide office supplies to the city

of Berkeley.

Griffin said she and her husband

have tried to save on rent and rescue

the Berkeley store by offering to purchase

the property on which it is

located, but their landlord has rejected

the bids.

Spring said local landowners’

reluctance to accept bids could end

up hurting them.

“With every property owner with

this attitude, they’re not going to get

very much rent for their property

because it’s not going to be a vital

and diverse retail area where people

want to come to do their shopping,”

Spring said.

Employees at the Berkeley store

will be out of their jobs come July 14

and will receive severance packages

“to hopefully ease the sting,” Griffin

said.

“The saddest thing is that we have

some longtime employees and customers

and I appreciate their patronage,

and I’m trying to get their needs

serviced by our delivery business

from Hercules,” Griffin said.

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