Everything must go at Zoonie's, including this vintage M&M telephone

Doug Sovern, KCBS Radio

Bittersweet Goodbye For Berkeley Candy Shop

Retro Store Auctions Off Vintage Memorabilia As Fans Say Farewell

Doug Sovern
July 16, 2019 - 4:00 am

A beloved neighborhood candy store in Berkeley has closed its doors, but not before auctioning off the collection of vintage fixtures and memorabilia that helped give the shop its retro charm.

For years, Zoonie’s on College Avenue, which for most of its life was called Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, was a throwback to another time, a store packed from floor to ceiling with sweets and treats and toys and ice cream, where "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" played on an endless loop in front of vintage theater seats in the back of the shop. But now, co-owner Shahrazad Junblat has shut it down, because the lease is up and her family has decided to focus on their other Zoonie’s in Lafayette, which means closing the Berkeley outpost.

"I call it sweet and sour goodbyes," Junblat told KCBS Radio. "I certainly am going to miss the clientele, the adorable kids coming in here."

Those kids will miss running amok in the shop, eating classic candies you couldn’t find anywhere else and parking in front of their favorite Willy Wonka scene. Jeff Iden was among the regulars who turned out to bid Monday as Zoonie’s auctioned off virtually everything in the store, from jelly bean dispensers to vintage Coke signs, to candy ads from decades gone by.

"I think it was a special place for the neighborhood," Iden said, "and it was kind of magical for kids to see, so it's a little unfortunate to see it go away."

Iden walked away from the auction with a vintage Schwinn tricycle and a Bozo the Clown punching bag, along with autographed photos of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. His mother, Sherry, left with a deepening nostalgia for a slice of childhood, lost.

"These things are going away," she said. "Younger kids are not going to know what a candy store, a real candy store, looks like. It's hard to find an old-fashioned candy store. You always want to be a kid in a candy store, right?"

Or tastes like, because Iden's wife says what she will miss most are the Bit-O-Honeys and Clark Bars and Mallomars that other stores just don’t carry anymore. 

"I'll miss everybody too," Junblat said. "Come see us in Lafayette."

In the interest of full disclosure, KCBS Radio reporter Doug Sovern couldn't resist purchasing some items at the Zoonie's liquidation auction, including a vintage console radio for the KCBS Newsroom and a vintage Royal typewriter. Unfortunately, there was no candy for sale.