Full Circle Bookstore was originally founded by Mark McGee at NW 25th and Military in Oklahoma City in 1970 as a successor to a store he had opened in Norman called, Bread and Roses. As suggested by the names, both stores were primarily stocked for a counter-culture audience. In 1973, McGee relocated the store to the historic Veazey Drug Store at NW 42nd and Western. Then, in 1977, Jim Tolbert bought the store and began an effort to broaden the focus of the stock.
His plans were momentarily derailed, when in August 1978, a cook at the neighboring restaurant, VZDs, let a small grease fire get out of control, gutting both the restaurant and Full Circle. Much of the stock was destroyed, except for about 10,000 volumes. Those were salvaged and sold in a two-day fire sale that fall.
Rather than rebuild, Tolbert chose a space on the third floor of the 50 Penn Place retail mall for the store's grand re-opening the day after Thanksgiving in 1980. Expansions in 1985 and 1992 more than tripled the size of Full Circle, added the fireplaces and included the creation of Java Joe's Coffee Bar.
In 1995, Full Circle felt the arrival of Barnes and Noble and Borders booksellers into the northwest Oklahoma City area. The store's survival was an uphill battle. But, in the spring of 2001, Tolbert moved and expanded once again to allow easier access for the store's customers.
The bookstore moved from the third floor, 40 feet below to ground level at 50 Penn Place. The street entrance allowed Full Circle to also expand its hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
And this is where we remain today.