Potential Amazon Books store in Berkeley sparks concern, uncertainty among local business owners

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Jinsu Elhance/Staff

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A new Amazon Books store may be headed to Fourth Street in Berkeley soon, as first reported by Berkeleyside.

The store would be located at 1785 Fourth St. in the space formerly occupied by Crate and Barrel, according to an application for a building permit on the city’s website. The permit is currently under review by the city.

An application for a zoning permit on the city’s website includes a project description for the location that details transforming the existing space into two separate retail spaces.

George Kiskaddon, the co-owner of the Fourth Street bookstore Builders Booksource, said he is concerned about how the opening of a new Amazon store could affect business in the area.

“Amazon basically puts retailers out of business,” Kiskaddon said. “It’s just bad news for everyone, especially for the consumer.”

Not all business owners, however, are concerned about Amazon’s potential arrival. Cindy Pugh, director of operations at home goods store The Gardener on Fourth Street, said she isn’t too sure about what the impacts will be of a new Amazon store on her business.

“The Gardener has weathered many phases of Fourth Street,” Pugh said. “We’re a very stable business, relying on loyal customers to have grown in the East Bay, and have opened two other stores.”

Amazon could not be reached for comment as of press time.

City Councilmember Linda Maio noted that Fourth Street attracts customers because of its variety of unique small businesses, and even with the Apple Store on Fourth Street, the area has maintained a “small scale feel.”

“While I would prefer an independent bookstore, people like bookstores and enjoy browsing through them to discover a new direction for them,” Maio said in an email. “I hope all goes well there. It is a very special spot.”

Contact Yao Huang at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.