BERKELEY, Calif. — If you visit Berkeley, you likely walk down Telegraph Avenue.
This central street has a rich history as one of the cities counter-culture hubs. Despite this claim to fame, some people have begun to feel that Telegraph is no longer as relevant as it once was, instead becoming a tourist trap and full of corporate names.
Has Telegraph lost what it once represented?
It may seem that way from the lack of vendors lining the street but the lack of stands is explained by a rotation of vendors. It’s easy to set up shop on Telegraph: You need is a seller’s permit and business license and need to pass a screening process.
According to the California State Board of Equalization website says the quickest way to register is online ,and the agency tries to “make it as easy as possible,” which vendors agree is true.
Grace Stotts, mother of two, has been selling regularly for nearly five years, and says that Telegraph “is a family” and that she has always felt welcome.
Though some people do not understand the feel, and there are larger businesses appearing, Stotts saidthat there are enough locally owned shops for Telegraph to stay true to its roots. Her stand, filled with assorted jewelry and hats, sells well and she has been able to expand to fit the needs of her customers.
She says her customers are always thrilled to hear that she buys only wool and acrylic produced in the U.S., U.K., or Peru, and buys her stones and silver only from their sources.
Sttots’ commitment to keeping things local fits in well with the vibe Berkeley gives off, and she says she chose the area for just that reason. A lon time stand owner called Twig said that was typical of Telegraph vendors. He said, “No one started from someone showing them,” and it was the ability to make everything from one’s own creativity and skill that made selling on Telegraph so much fun.
For the vendors, at least, Telegraph remains the same. As Twig would say, “It’s fun!”