Daiso in Berkeley closes after 9 years of service

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Anissa Nishioka/File

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Once a one-stop shop for everything from stationery to cosmetics to home goods, Daiso in Berkeley recently closed after nine years of service.

As of Tuesday, Daiso posted a sign in the window stating it was permanently closed, according to a post from student Ayah Jiha on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page. The photo posted to Facebook showed the entrance to Daiso with four pieces of paper taped to it, reading “WE ARE PERMANENTLY CLOSED!” More than 1,000 members of the group commented on the post — many of them to share their sadness and anger about the closure.

Daiso opened its Berkeley location on Telegraph Avenue in March 2011. Often referred to as “the Japanese dollar store,” according to its website, Daiso appealed to many college students on tight budgets, as well as local families.

Members of the community are also saddened by the closure of the store, such as Allison Landa, who has lived in the Bay Area since 1997 and shopped at Daiso since it opened.

“I’m super bummed that it’s closing,” Landa said in an email. “I always liked taking my son, who is 4 1/2, there for a little toy or two.”

Landa added that the Daiso was a nice, clean place with good service and that her sadness was rooted in the current events that “are bringing an end to many good things.”

Alex Knox, executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, said Daiso’s closing likely happened as a result of several factors.

“There’s a lot of potential and a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the business community in our district,” Knox said. “I wouldn’t look at Daiso closing as a telltale, necessarily, of the economy in our district, but usually a decision to close a store like that comes from a variety of different factors.”

Knox added that he was sorry to see Daiso go, but thinks there are opportunities for other businesses to move into the district.

Knox also emphasized the importance of student presence and activity for businesses in Berkeley — many businesses, according to Knox, are relying on signals that indicate what students may be interested in.

“We, certainly with Daiso leaving, want to make sure we are continuing to have a mix of businesses that, in particular, serve the student population and offer a variety of different services and products,” Knox said.

Knox added that he does not have much information about what businesses are moving into the district, and said activity has slowed down due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Contact Luis Cobian and Catherine Hsu at [email protected].