The Other Powell’s Bookstore

powell's bookstore, condon
written by Peter Murphy photo by Mike Lemmon

Out rural Oregon, at the intersection of state highways 206 and 19, you may be surprised to find a Powell’s Books, of the Powell’s City of Books fame. 

Condon, population 682, conceals a small branch of Powell’s Books inside its Country Flowers store. 

Mike Powell, who started Powell’s with a Chicago bookstore in 1970 and whose father started Portland’s Powell’s shortly thereafter, took an interest in setting up a bookstore in Condon with Country Flowers’ proprietor, Darla Seale. 

The way she tells it, Mike Powell was looking for a vacation home not too far from Condon. One day during a visit Seale suggested Powell set up a small bookstore at her flower shop. Circa 1996, Powell’s Books in Condon was born. The offerings are much the same as you’d find in Portland; used, new and eclectic. Seale does get a lot of calls for more children’s books.

“It was a novelty at first,” Seale said. “But it’s not really surprising since Condon was populated by school teachers and ranchers.”

Still, the most frequently asked question is, “Is this really a Powell’s Bookstore?” The answer is, yes.  Additional testimony comes from  T-shirts that read, “Powell’s Books … Portland … Condon.”

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