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Berkeley’s Urban Ore: The Best in East Bay Salvage

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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 pee'”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.

The Lights

Urban Ore describes itself as '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.' 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.

The Doors

The Doors

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.

Urban Ore
900 Murray St. @ Ashby (right off of the Ashby exit in Berkeley)
Monday-Saturday, 8:30am-7pm
Sunday, 10am-7pm

images courtesy of and

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.