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Solano Avenue: Keep Goodwill Out?

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Solano Avenue in Berkeley has a two and a half block stretch of quaint shops that cater to a upper-middle class crowd. Currently, there's 11 vacant storefronts, including the Oaks Theater. And with rents running $2 to $5 per square foot, it's difficult to find tenants to replace the vacancies. But that hasn't stopped local business owners from being vocal about their disapproval of Goodwill hoping to move in to two spaces that were formerly occupied by Front Row Video and The World of Dance studio. "We want to bring people back to Solano. But we want to attract upscale customers, and this isn't the way to do it," said Carol Fabrietti, whose business has been on Solano Avenue for 22 years. Elena Palega, who opened up her Solano Kids consignment store just six months ago thinks the door-off donations will be unsightly. "It's going to cause a lot of junk being left, dropped off in doorways," said Palega. "It's just not fitting with the street." There's also concerns that a large Goodwill will force out local antique stores and used clothing stores. Goodwill has discussed the idea of combining the two stores with the city of Berkeley, but hasn't officially submitted a revised application, as combining two stores will require a public review and hearing.
· Arrival of Goodwill store on Solano prompts concerns [Berkeleyside]