From the Inside of Urban

I’m not going to tell you that I’m about to report on a veritable mecca of used goods and acessories. I’m not going to tell you that you will be able to find anything you want if you decide to explore the nearly half-block warehouse of jumbled doors, counter tops, used clothing and light fixtures. I’m not going to tell you these things because they simply aren’t true.

But here’s the deal.

Urban Ore is an enormous, and I really mean enormous, Berkeley area warehouse and yard full of old fixtures, bathtubs, records, uniforms, stereos, chairs, desks and old hockey skates. They take donations and sell them ‘as is’ to anyone who is willing to take the time to explore. They’re mission statement reflects a desire to “end the age of waste by advocating and developing total recycling”. I found everything from old school pictures and half empty fish food, to art deco glass and hand painted furniture. The soundtrack to this whole excursion was some amazing noise band called Lightning Bolt that echoed aggressively from a stereo in a far corner.

Also, there are cats. Lots of them. They jumped from behind headboards and milled around used sinks in the parking lot.

I’m not recommending you voyage to Urban Ore because you’re looking for that perfect sofa on the cheap. That’s what craigslist does so very well. But for sheer adventure’s sake, you could probably spend an entire afternoon poking through the corners, and emerge, if not with the new perfect sofa, perhaps a coffee table from 1920, a boyscout uniform and 3 armloads of vinyl. Don’t have a a record player since you broke your old one in 1987? No worries. They’ve got you covered there, too.

2 Comments so far

  1. (unregistered) on September 25th, 2004 @ 11:30 am

    I love Urban Ore. In addition to all the great stuff mentioned above, I think they’re also the best alternative to IKEA if you are looking for inexpensive storage for closets, garages, back porches, etc. Every time I’ve been there they seem to have a half dozen or more full sets of cabinets and shelving, frequently with vintage hardware, and at rock bottom prices. The other Berkeley salvage place I like is Ohmega Salvage (2400 San Pablo Ave, see — it’s more pricey than Urban Ore, but a good place to go if you’re in search of a vintage pedestal sink or claw foot tub or other architectural element in great condition.

  2. ed (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

    my wife is a big fan of the san francisco bombers from her childhood….does anyone know where i could get a bombers jersey to surprise her with…a size large would be great..thanx

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