Mini History of Powell’s Books Home & Garden Hawthorne

Powell’s Books brilliantly demonstrated how rehabbing an existing storefront can be both a savvy business move and a sensitive approach to entering an established neighborhood when they opened their second satellite store: “Powell’s Books For Cooks,” on Hawthorne in October of 1987. This was a marked departure from their prior expansion three years prior at Cascade Plaza, a brand-new strip mall across from Washington Square Mall in Tigard. That location embodied everything wrong with the soulless corporate monoliths then beginning to dominate the retail bookstore ecosystem, Barnes & Noble and Borders. Thankfully someone at Powell’s put the brakes on their own big-box expansion soon after. Since then the company has profited handsomely by doubling down on the idiosyncratic image epitomized by its landmark location on Burnside and invested heavily on the web.

Later renamed “Powell’s Books for Home & Garden,” the 16,000 sq ft store on Hawthorne added 7,000 sq ft in October of 2016 and merged with the “Powell’s Books on Hawthorne” a couple of doors down by absorbing the PastaWorks space which separated them.

While researching its history, I came across these fun ads from the week of “Powell’s Books for Cooks” opening back in 1987 in the Willamette Week and Oregon and couldn’t resist sharing with you!


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