Kriss Helped Save Our Telegraph Ave. Business!

Marcy Simon and Iraj Misaghi, Owners, Ashby Flowers on Telegraph Avenue(Reader Commentary)
Monday November 01, 2010 - 09:42:00 AM

We’re writing to let you know that District 7 Councilmember Kriss Worthington is our hero! Early last year, he helped us save our family business, Ashby Flowers, on the corner of Telegraph and Ashby, which has been serving the Berkeley area for over fifty years (we’ve owned it since 1995). 

Our landlord, the corporate offices of Whole Foods Market, had informed us that they weren’t going to be renewing our lease when it expired. After months of negotiations, and support from many of our neighbors, including the Halcyon Neighborhood Association, the regional offices of Whole Foods still wouldn’t budge. 

That’s when Kriss lent a hand. With his community organizing experience and political savvy, he helped us come up with a winning strategy to save our store. Halcyon neighborhood leaders wrote a commentary that appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet. Neighbors from all over signed our petition. We organized a rally to be held at the regional headquarters in Emeryville attended by many of our friends and supporters. 

Once Kriss got involved, he both gave us excellent advice and we started getting real media attention. Kriss was interviewed by Phil Matier of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier & Ross and KCBS News and shown carrying a sign hand-decorated with flowers, which he’d made himself. Other papers picked up on the story. When Whole Foods Market started getting bad press and realized we had political support, they did an about-face and agreed to renew our lease! We’re happy to still be here serving the community, and we look forward to many more good years to come. We remain eternally grateful to Kriss for the time, heart, hard work, and good sense he shared with us. 

Although we’ve owned a Telegraph Avenue business for years, and have many friends and relatives who also own small businesses on Telegraph — many of whom have needed to call on Kriss for help over the years, which he always provides with full dedication and creative problem-solving — we live in Albany, not Berkeley, so we can’t vote for him ourselves! We hope Berkeley voters will keep our story in mind when casting your ballots. You’re so lucky to have someone of Kriss’s caliber working for you and fighting so hard for the small businesses that make Berkeley so special. Please vote Kriss #1! He’ll always be #1 in our hearts.