Best of 2020: Corvallis bookstores

A bear stands guard over the children’s section in The Book Bin, voted one of the best bookstores in Corvallis by community members.

William Ross, News Contributor

First place: OSU Beaver Store

The OSU Beaver Store, located across from the Gill Coliseum on the Oregon State University campus, was voted as the best bookstore in Corvallis.

The Beaver Store’s General Merchandise Manager, Erik Anderson said he believes the bookstore is the most popular with students because of the broad and diverse selection of products and attributes much of the stores’ success to the discount they offer to students which is currently worth a million dollars in savings according to Anderson.  

“We are proud of our 11% discount on such things as course materials. It’s one of the best in the country and the saved dollars always stay on campus,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, his favorite part about working at the Beaver store is when he develops strong-working relationships with student employees and helping them learn how to live and work within a real-world atmosphere. 

“We strive to be flexible with student staff because I feel this type of work really helps them to become problem solvers,” said Anderson.

Foster Evenson, a first-year forestry engineering major says, “the location is in a convenient spot for students and a really good location for people waiting at Reeser for games.” 

Evenson, who spends one to two hours a week within the Beaver Store, says he also has an appreciation for the variety of products along with the reasonable prices that are offered. 

“It’s pretty amazing when you come in and you see all the great products they offer. Also, their prices are pretty nice considering all the expensive brands,” says Evenson. 

According to Evenson, the service at the Beaver Store is excellent and the staff is always very honest when selling costumer’s you exactly what they need. 

“Because I’m an engineering student, I need a specific type of computer and they were very helpful and totally honest with me when I was looking for the right one,” Evenson said. 

According to second-year apparel design major, Hannah Hughes, some things do tend to be slightly overpriced, but she said that she is always able to find everything she needs for classes and things tend to balance out in the end, since the supplies are decently priced. 

When describing what she appreciates most about the Beaver Store, Hughes explained that she “really liked the variety of store supplies, and particularly likes the apparel collection and how it varies from Beaver clothes to everyday wear.” 

However, Hughes attributes the store’s excellent ratings, not only to product quality and pricing, but to the considerate nature of the Beaver Store staff. 

“I had accidentally purchased the wrong product for one of my classes and even though it was against their policy because the situation was so complicated, they allowed me to return it and replace it for the right supplies,” Hughes said. 

In the end, Hughes expressed how much it tends to lift her spirits when she walks into the store and sees all the Beaver products.

“I really love all the Beaver gear mainly because I’m a proud Beaver. It can really get you into the Beaver spirit,” Hughes said.

Second place: The Book Bin

Located on 215 SW 4th St. in the downtown Corvallis area, The Book Bin was voted one of the top bookstores in the community.

Hayden Fulfer, an associate of The Book Bin, who has worked at the store since 2018, attributes the store’s popularity to their cheap prices and convenient location. 

“Our prices are very cheap compared to most new and used bookstores and there is a movie theater both upstairs and across the street, which helps business because students are always hanging around. We also allow non-service animals in the store and I think that draws in a large crowd as well,” Fulfer said. 

According to Fulfer, The Book Bin gets student customers pretty much every day and they often take their time to look around. 

Fulfer attributes the constant traffic of students to the convenient location of the store, as well as the late hours in which they are open.

“Most places close around six in Corvallis but we are open until nine. I think students really appreciate how late we are open and I think it helps our business a lot,” Fulfer said.

Fulfer said there’s a calming atmosphere within the store and he feels it as an employee, and can tell customers feel it as well.

Fulfer, who graduated with a Bachelor’s in English literature, said The Book Bin is an excellent place for anyone who loves discussing the art of stories. 

“As someone who studied literature, being able to discuss with others something I am passionate about really pushes me to help customers in the best way possible,” Fulfer said. 

So, what does Fulfer love most about working at The Book Bin? 

“I love being around books and in an atmosphere where others also love books. Working with the public to help them find the book that really speaks to them is one of my favorite parts of the job,” Fulfer said.

Third place: Browsers’ Books

Browsers’ Books, a thrift bookstore located on 121 NW Fourth St. in downtown Corvallis, Ore., was voted one of the top best bookstores in Corvallis. 

“There are hidden gems all over the place,” according to Anna Smith, a frequent visitor of Browsers’ Books.

Smith, who grew up in Corvallis and now lives in Salem, Ore., often visited Browser’s as a teenager and continues to shop at the bookstore despite the commute. 

“I’ve been in over 20 times. This is a place where you take your time to look and you can always find some amazing steals,” Smith said.  

Smith explains that she is fascinated by the historical quality that she often sees when browsing at Browser’s.  

“A lot of people donate their old books and you can tell they were well-loved. When you come in, you need to just let the books speak to you,” Smith said. 

Jackson Brenner-Smith, an associate at Browser’s and 2017 OSU graduate, attributes the store’s popularity to the calming atmosphere and quality of service Browser’s often provides.  

“The majority of people like the store’s atmosphere when they come in to browse. I think they like that our prices can be pretty good and we are willing to order certain books for them as well,” said Brenner-Smith.

Brenner-Smith said that even though Browser’s is a great place for humanity majors to find and order books, the store doesn’t get a lot of science and math textbooks.  

However, Brenner-Smith said the lack of such textbooks hasn’t slowed down the store’s business with students.

“We sometimes get large groups of students coming in looking for the same book, but when they browse, they are often able to find something that sparks their interest outside of their required texts,” Brenner-Smith said.

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