Although many of the regulars represent the nouvelle materialism, the owners hark back to the university town's radical days. The 20-year-old Cheese Board is owned and operated by a collective of 23 people, among them an opera singer, a carpenter, a former cab driver and one professional baker. All earn $12 an hour and meet monthly to discuss the business. The store grossed $1 million in real dough last year and donated much of the profit to grass-roots organizations.
Indeed Berkeley's counterculture sensitivities live on. Steve Sullivan, owner of the competing Acme Bread Company, finds a yuppie breadline at his door an embarrassment. Refusing to be photographed in his shop, he declared he would rather be serving the masses.
Breadlines are a fact of life these days in Berkeley, Calif. But don't waste your sympathy. These folk are just yuppies lining up for the 10 a.m. Saturday opening of the Cheese Board, a small bakery and cheese shop in Berkeley. The shop offers a variety of goods—about 6,000 loaves are sold weekly—including still-warm sourdough baguettes, loaves of cheese-onion-curry and corn-oat-molasses bread. But these attorneys, technical writers and therapists are not simply buying bread; they're also networking. "I meet new people in line," says Ron Lai, 48, an insurance broker. "This is part of my weekly life cycle."