Body Time, longtime Berkeley skin care company, closes after 5 decades

Daniela Cervantes/Staff

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Body Time, a Berkeley-based and family-run skin care company, is closing after almost five decades of business because of rising rent costs.

The company, which was established in Berkeley in 1970 under the name of The Body Shop, is currently selling off its inventory and will soon close its locations in Berkeley and Walnut Creek.

Amid constant rent increases, Body Time found it difficult to stay in business, as stated in an April 15 Facebook post. In the post, the company also indicated that it would close April 22 — but the Walnut Creek location was still open Tuesday, according to the Mercury News.

“Our rents have almost doubled and we weren’t able to negotiate our lease,” the company said on its Facebook page. “This was a big surprise for us as well as our many loyal customers.”

A different post Wednesday said the company received thousands of orders in the past two weeks. According to Body Time’s website, however, the company is not accepting any new orders but is focused on shipping already-received orders.

Body Time carries a wide selection of face, body and hair care products. The company also offers custom scenting, which allows customers to use perfume or essential oils to personalize their body and bath products.

With a long history in the Bay Area, the original Body Shop introduced several new ideas, such as minimal packaging and biodegradable products that differentiated it from the “mainstream cosmetics industry,” according to the company website.

Customer Kay Verdi said Body Time was significant in helping her shape her identity. She said she frequently visited the Shattuck Avenue location and eventually discovered her favorite fragrance, Night Rain.

“When I first went to Body Time … I was fairly new to California, so these stores seemed to me the essence of California and Berkeley,” Verdi said in an email. “Part of that was experimenting in various ways, including at Body Time, where I found my tastes in fragrance changed as I found my authentic self.”

In 1992, the company’s founders sold the name The Body Shop to a London skin care company and renamed its Berkeley locations Body Time. Terra De Almeida and Al De Almeida, the current owners of Body Time, bought the business in 2011.

Customer Wendy Lewis said she considers Body Time to be not only a store, but also “a story in the lives of so many” and a “dear friend.”

“The Body Time store and the people who worked there made you feel treasured,” Lewis said in an email. “The aromas and aromatics gave you a sense of wellness and escape with the promise of creating something special just for you or a loved one. I felt like I mattered to them as an individual.”

Body Time could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Jenny Weng covers businesses and economy. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jennyweng1999.