Is Amazon Books coming to Berkeley's Fourth Street?
The buzz on Berkeley’s busy Fourth Street shopping district is all about which store will pop up once construction is completed.
There has been no official announcement, but a work permit filed with the City of Berkeley lists Amazon Books as at least one tenant.
Amazon has not commented publicly that it’s coming to Berkeley and they would not answer our inquiries. But the word on the street among shoppers is mixed.
"Amazon is too corporate for me," said one woman from Berkeley.
"I think it will be a good addition. We can definitely use more bookstores," said an Oakland man.
But whether Amazon comes or not, there's no question that Fourth Street has been gradually changing. What began in the 1980s as mostly independent mom and pop owned boutiques also now has chain stores next door like Apple and Lululemon.
"I kind of liked feeling like it was a special little neighborhood place. I don't feel like that anymore," said Robin Dintiman, who says she's been coming to Fourth Street for decades.
But many people say they like the mix.
Castle in the air, an independently owned gift and curio shop, says the store benefits from having a mix.
"Sometimes we get people who never would have found us. They come in and then they are our customers," said longtime employee Clint Marsh.
While some worry that, if Amazon does come in, it will undercut surrounding businesses, others say it may bring in more foot traffic.
“I have nothing against chain stores. I'd just rather they stay in shopping malls," said Dintiman.