Patchouli Joe’s Books & Indulgences in Leander fills shelves with families, diversity in mind

Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences owners Joe and Diane Mayes opened their shop in 2019. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences owners Joe and Diane Mayes opened their shop in 2019. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences owners Joe and Diane Mayes opened their shop in 2019. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences is located at 106 W. Willis St. Unit B., Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences is located at 106 W. Willis St. Unit B., Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Patchouli Joe’s opened in 2019, but its story begins in 1977 in Germany. Shop owners Joe and Diane Mayes first met in Haan, Germany, where they spent just one year at the same high school near an Air Force base and immediately clicked. “The chances of us meeting 5,000 miles away in Germany were pretty slim,” Joe said. But 38 years passed before they spoke again. Diane sent Joe an out-of-the-blue Facebook message on New Years’ Eve in 2016. “Do you remember me?” She asked after coincidentally coming across Joe. Of course, he remembered.

Without much hesitation or time, the couple was engaged and married. They moved to Leander and opened Patchouli Joe’s Books & Indulgences.

Diane dreamed of opening a “smell-good” store. Joe, an avid reader and writer, wanted to open a bookshop. Together, their shop sells books, art, candles, cards, coffee and a motley of “indulgences” as the only independent bookstore in Leander.

When COVID-19 effects hit Texas, the Mayeses were about to embark on new store plans such as author events and reading camps. But as small-business owners, “pivoting” became the new normal. The shop has kept open through the pandemic as an educational material provider but quickly turned to curbside and porch deliveries.

Whenever they think about the “why” of owning a bookstore, especially on tough, emotional days, they remember the joy-filled stories of customers. From hearing of children playing “Patchouli Joe’s” bookstore at home, to helping customers find the seemingly “one book that was written for them”—these are the stories that fuel Patchouli Joe’s every day.


“Those kinds of things have been a godsend,” Joe said. Bookshelves filled with diverse genres and voices is a goal for the Mayeses. They said the bookstore is welcoming, encouraging and tolerant of people regardless of their beliefs. Following calls to address systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement, books on anti-racism were flying off shelves, Diane said. Patchouli Joe’s offered discounts on these books to encourage discussion and exploration of the topic.

“To encourage the dialogue, if people were looking for information, we wanted to make it as accessible as possible,” Joe said.
By Taylor Girtman
After interning with Community Impact Newspaper in 2019, Taylor Girtman became a reporter for the Cedar Park and Leander edition in Feb. 2020. She covers Leander ISD and the Cedar Park and Leander city councils.


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