One of my old roommates gets immediately overwhelmed by large, overstocked stores. As soon as she enters a thrift shop, a library, or a salvage yard, she has to peeâ€”it’s some sort of physiological phenomenon triggered by clutter. For her, Urban Ore is the worst (the bathrooms are nothing to write home about and although it’s organized chaos, it’s chaotic nonetheless). For me, an OCD Jew who can endlessly sift through junk for useless tchochkes, it’s the best.
Urban Ore describes itself as â€œa disposal service so people can let go of unwanted but still-useful goods without wasting them, and a retail store where other people can find things they want at a low price.â€ There is a fee to drop things off at the dump, so disposing of your reusable things at Urban Ore actually saves you money (and sometimes makes you money). It’s a pretty simple idea, but one that is rarely put to action. But this is Berkeley and we expect as much idealism-turned-reality from the People’s Republic.
Their retail departments include a wide range of stuff, from industrial building materials to housewares, electronics to sporting goods, furniture, art, and thousands and thousands of windows, doors, knobs, and fixtures. The 3-acre yard and warehouse is not as quaint (nor as clean) as my other favorite, The Depot, but if you don’t mind a few (read: many) feral cats and the faint (read: somewhat potent) scent of kitty litter (read: cat piss), urban ore is the prime spot to score some eclectic goods for your house, art project, or architectural endeavor. There is literally nothing they don’t have.
900 Murray St. @ Ashby (right off of the Ashby exit in Berkeley)
images courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com and christaassad.com