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Owner Emily Powell vows to reopen the iconic Northwest Portland store as soon as it is safe to do so

KOIN 6 NEWS - Powells Books in Northwest Portland,Iconic Portland bookstore Powell's has hired back more than 100 employees following a bump in online orders through powells.com.

The company was forced to lay off most of its workers earlier this month in the wake of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Owner Emily Powell released on open letter on Friday saying the community's support has done wonders for the independent business.

"Your kind words, messages of encouragement, ideas for perseverance, and orders for books have taken our breath away," Powell said in the the letter.

Powell said that orders through the website have allowed the company to provide the rehired workers with full-time hours and benefits.

"We've made an internal commitment to only pay for expenses that keep folks employed, and the lights on, for the time being," Powell said. "We can't do that forever — we love our vendors and business partners and want to support them as well. Right now, however, 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."

Powell added that she will open the doors to the stores as soon as it is safe to do so.

KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their story here.


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