Although the familiar bright green building at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and the Northwest Expressway looks quaint on the surface, inside 100,000 copies of books line the shelves, creating space for several reading nooks that allow customers to hang out. dive into one of the library’s 60,000 titles.

Full Circle Bookstore, located at 50 Penn Place, celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 5, after surviving ownership changes, the growing popularity of online retailers and e-books, and a pandemic. But store manager Dana Meister said a lot has changed since they reopened in 1980.

“There’s no one walking in the hallway (of 50 Penn Place). And that was the place, you know?” Meister said. “So that’s a major change. We don’t have foot traffic to speak of.”

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Across the street, Penn Square Mall shares 50 Penn Place’s struggles with maintaining a post-pandemic crowd. Many businesses at 50 Penn Place have left, Meister said, but Full Circle – with its street entrance and sophisticated design, remains after decades. Meister credits the store’s success to the intimate and interactive experience the bookstore provides.

“It has to do with the people who work here and the people who come here,” Meister said. “You don’t come here to pick up a book and leave. You come here to sit and talk.”

Meister said the store has many “regulars” and loyal customers because of its service.

“It’s the personal experience you get here. We know our customers,” Meister said. “There is a lady who comes to lunch almost every day.”

A group of writers gather at the Full Circle Bookstore is pictured in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

Employees are also loyal, Meister said. She said they ordered handicap accessible chairs for an older customer and brought her flowers and a cake for her birthday.

“You don’t get that at Barnes and Noble,” she said.

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What started in 1972 as a small, eclectic bookshop called Bread and Roses has grown into a large British-style storefront with an extensive collection of books.

Jim Tolbert purchased the bookstore in 1977 and altered the design to suit his vision, which included “expanding the purpose of stock” and building a classic English-style bookstore. Large sliding ladders and traditional leather seats give the impression of exploring the royal library.

“For a while I had business in London and visited every bookstore I could find,” Tolbert said.

The bookstore has a cafe in the building called Java Joe’s to provide a “home away from home,” Meister said. The café serves breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee, champagne and wine.

What sets Full Circle apart from other bookstores are its unique events. The store hosts author signings, live music and poetry readings. For children, the bookstore offers story-time events in its children’s book section.

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Margo Petsalis, 5k, plays in the kids at Full Circle Bookstore is pictured in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

“Anything you can think of, we do,” Meister said.

A group of writers uses the space to hold meetings about their work. The band members said they’ve been discussing and critiquing each other’s pieces for years, and Full Circle serves their needs.

“We’re so grateful to Full Circle for hosting us. It’s such a wonderful environment for writers to come together, and it’s perfect,” said author Marcia Preston.

With its vast space and different rooms, the bookstore also hosts private events. The store allowed one of their booksellers to have her wedding at Full Circle in October. One of the most memorable events for Meister was a memorial they had for a local poet.

“It was just a really emotional moment because it was one of her favorite places. Her friends got together to celebrate her and read her poetry and I remember it was very special,” he said. she declared.

Full Circle is located at 1900 Northwest Expressway. For more information, visit their website at fullcirclebooks.com.