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Mon Mar 30, 2020, 05:13 PM

Indie bookstore Powell's Books rehires more than 100 employees as online orders soar

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Indie bookstore Powell’s Books rehires more than 100 employees as online orders soar

By SONAIYA KELLEY STAFF WRITER
MARCH 29, 2020 11:12 AM

After laying off more than 300 staff members, Portland’s cherished indie bookstore Powell’s Books has rehired more than 100 of its workers on the strength of online orders, the company’s CEO announced on Facebook Sunday.

“Your kind words, messages of encouragement, ideas for perseverance and orders for books have taken our breath away,” said CEO Emily Powell in a Facebook post. She also announced that the rehired staff were all full time and receiving benefits.

“We’ve made an internal commitment to only pay for expenses that keep folks employed, and the lights on, for the time being,” she wrote. “Right now … our focus is on keeping Powell’s moving, keeping our community healthy, taking care of our wonderful customers and having as many folks working with health insurance as our sales can support.”

Earlier this month, the bookstore laid off most of its employees and temporarily closed five of its locations as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Major indie bookstores across the nation have followed suit, collectively laying off more than 600 employees as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Publishers Weekly.

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Reply Indie bookstore Powell's Books rehires more than 100 employees as online orders soar (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Mar 2020 OP
jls4561 Mar 2020 #1
Jirel Mar 2020 #2
sinkingfeeling Mar 2020 #3
marlakay Mar 2020 #4
Haggis for Breakfast Mar 2020 #5

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 05:30 PM

1. Happy Happy Joy Joy!

When my local bookstore shut down, I ordered from Powell's. There was a notice telling me to expect delays. OK, keep your workers safe - I understand. My books will arrive when they arrive. I can always re-read. However, I am glad for the workers who get to keep their jobs and benefits.

But what I don't understand is this - why is it necessary to keep gun stores open (I'm assuming law enforcement is able to get the supplies that are needed) but bookstores are not considered an "essential service"? They are to me.



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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 05:36 PM

2. I am delighted for the workers and Powell's.

Every time I am in Oregon, I go there. It's amazing. It's run by great staff. I'm so happy they're getting business right now.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 06:19 PM

3. They're one impressive book store.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 07:13 PM

4. So happy I had heard they were headed

To close permanently and I have been looking at what to order online, thinking of a canvas shopping bag for when this is over. My store is handing out free bags now because of virus spread don’t want used bags in store.

I shop at organic store and meat market in Medford Cartwrights because they are cleaning anally and wipe down register area in between every customer. I go at senior time when they open at 9am and only every 2 weeks now, trying to stay home.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:34 PM

5. Powell's is a treasure.

You can get lost in their stacks. At one time (They still might.), they had five buildings to house all their books. They had an entire unit for medical textbooks alone. One for legal books.

Not just books, but stationary stuff, gifts and trinkets and souvenirs galore.

And you could sell them books. Especially older, out of print books.

When I used to live near PDX, I would mark out an entire day to visit Powell's.

I hope they never need to close. It would be tragic.

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