The Berkeley Bubbles laundromat located on University Avenue in the heart of downtown permanently closed its doors on Aug. 30. The business was owned for five years by Mary and Ted Welch who said they closed up shop for two reasons: firstly because the rent was put up by 10% each year, reaching $8,000 per month by 2019. They said they tried to negotiate with their landlord but could not reach an agreement. Secondly, they cited continual conflicts with the nearby homeless community which, they said, drove business away and created an untenable situation for the couple. https://www.berkeleyside.com/2019/09/22/shop-talk-compast-darling-electric-salon-mr-mopps-berkeley-bubbles
Online posting from customers seems to verify that customers were driven away.
From Yelp Reviews:
"the owners should really sue the city all the vagrants here, walked through today and it literally smelled like shit"
"Update: this place is not safe. Homeless folks come through here and most of the time they are harmless but after multiple experiences of them attempting to engage me in conversation where they were high... somewhat aggressive (and possibly unaware they were being aggressive), inviting me to come out back with them, I just didn't feel safe to wash my stuff here anymore. Do yourself a favor and drive further down on university to a number of other laundromats, they are still grungy and have lots of equally broken machines but you'll feel a lot safer. Trust me."
"Upon returning to put the clothes to dry, in the back of the laundromat were a lot of stragglers which weren't there to do laundry. A homeless guy was sleeping on the floor in the back. The people in the back appeared to be selling clothes? They left the back door open & proceeded to smoke cigarettes & weed at the stairs. They played loud music & were overall unpleasant. One guy came up to me asking if I had a spare black sock...I didn't feel comfortable. I didn't feel safe. "