Thanks to a swell of community support in a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $100,000, Feral mountain gear owner Jimmy Funkhouser will unveil the store’s new location Saturday morning with a grand re-opening that will include free pancakes.
“I don’t really know exactly how I’m going to feel, but I know it’s going to be emotional, particularly because this shop was built directly by support from the people who will be here Saturday,” Funkhouser said.
Funkhouser opened Feral in a Tennyson Street bungalow in 2016 but was forced out this year when his landlord decided to redevelop the property in the rapidly gentrifying Berkeley neighborhood. Landlord John Horvat bought the building for Feral’s new location — a former movie theater and music store that was built in 1908 – but Funkhouser had to come up with $95,000 to renovate the building’s interior. The crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo exceeded the goal.
The move not only allowed Funkhouser to remain in business, but it was also a major expansion that will allow him to carry a lot more inventory than in the past. The old store was 700 square feet, and the new one is 4,400. The old store had seven employees; now Funkhouser employs 10 with expectations of 12-15 next summer.
The new store is located at 3936 Tennyson St. At first the inventory will include tents, sleeping bags, apparel, accessories and maps. Funkhouser said he plans to add climbing gear and footwear next summer and intends to add backcountry ski gear next winter.
Saturday’s grand re-opening will begin at 10 a.m.
“The cliché is always, ‘We couldn’t have done it without you,’ ” Funkhouser said. “In our case, that is literally true. The shop was literally built by the community.”