Powell’s Books announced that it will be closing two of its three concourse stores at Portland International Airport this summer when the leases expire.
“The Port of Portland is working on a new vision for retail at PDX, and in spite of our efforts to negotiate a renewal of our leases and review other options for maintaining a concourse presence, we were unable to reach an agreement,” said CEO of Powell’s Books Miriam Sontz in a press release.
The locations in concourses C and D are two of seven vendor leases to expire this year in PDX. Port of Portland spokesperson Steven Johnson says PDX will invite new and existing companies to submit business proposals for those storefront spaces this spring.
There are 23 Powell’s employees between the three stores at PDX who learned of the closure last week. Sontz says the reason why the announcement is coming now is to give employees of the closed stores time to find jobs in other areas of the company. She says there will be no layoffs.
Sontz says these two store fronts had, “a very successful store presence and were enjoyed.”
Although Powell’s is a staple in Portland today, the new and used bookstore brand actually started in Chicago in 1970. According to the Powell’s website, the original storefront was opened by college student Michael Powell. Michael’s father Walter joined him for a summer and brought the idea of Powell’s Books back to his home in Portland. Walter opened his own store in the early 1970s. Powell’s opened at the airport in 1988.
“We’re very sad to be closing,” Sontz says. “We’re sorry to see them go.”
Powell’s along with other vendors have the option to “extend leases through the end of the year and then can submit proposals,” Johnson says.
The third airport storefront outside of security will remain open.