Book Therapy Three Forks bookstore

The interior of Book Therapy, a new Three Forks bookstore on Main Street, is shown. The owner said she wants to create “an escape from reality.”

Patrons of Three Forks’ newest business are encouraged to leave their troubles at the door or find help with them inside.

“I want it to be an escape from reality because reality sometimes isn’t that much fun,” says Jodi Moore, owner of Book Therapy and Moore, a new bookshop and located at 120B S. Main St. in Three Forks.

While showing visitors around the cheerful space, Moore points out the numerous details she has painstakingly incorporated to create a sanctuary for the community. They include everything from fresh-cut flowers to a cozy fireplace to inviting tables where customers are encouraged to visit with friends over a snack and a cup of coffee.

She confesses to stocking merchandise not according to the advice she learned in business classes but instead to what she personally enjoys – “things that make you smile,” she explains. The walls are adorned with attractive artwork, T-shirts sporting clever sayings, and jewelry crafted by Montana artists.

And those little touches don’t even include the books, which she has selected with the tastes of her expected clientele in mind, along with a desire to provide resources people may need.

“There’s a lot of therapy in these books and therapy in being together,” Moore says. “It helps me to be able to take care of people.”

It only takes a few minutes of visiting with Moore to discover that taking care of people is what she does best. In the wake of personal tragedy – her husband Mason Moore, a Broadwater County deputy sheriff was killed in the line of duty in 2017 – Moore said she realized her former job analyzing spreadsheets no longer suited her.

“Something was telling me I needed to do something different, so I contemplated starting a business,” she says.

At first she thought of something related to food “because I’m from the South and that’s the first thing we always think of,” says the North Carolina native. But after some more thought, her lifelong love for “quirky bookstores” and for her late husband – with whom she shared a passion for reading – helped her form a new vision.

“A cup of coffee, a visit with a friend, sitting by the fire, finding books you need,” she says when describing the things she intends to offer.

She carries books that offer helpful advice on subjects ranging from business to parenting to self-help, and hopes to foster discussion and sharing inside the new shop’s walls.

Moore opened the doors for business last week, and so far the community has given the shop “an amazing reception,” she says. Already she has sold out of some book selections and has placed special orders for residents who were looking for something she doesn’t have. She said will continually tailor her inventory as she learns more about what her customers want.

Moore hopes people of all ages to come into the shop to connect with others or sit and read or work. On Tuesday afternoon this week, a local author was settled at a table with her laptop immersed in her writing.

Over time, Moore hopes to offer a home for discussion groups or related teen activities.

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 9-6, a schedule Moore hopes will work with her family schedule, though she may occasionally close the doors to answer a call. She is a volunteer EMT with Three Forks Ambulance Service, a vocation she pursued after her husband was killed because it helps her feel as if she is continuing some of his work.

“He lost his life out here protecting these people,” she says when asked why she and her three children have chosen to remain in Three Forks. “I feel like this is where we’re supposed to be.”

That, too, ties in with Moore’s feeling that she was meant to do something different when she was contemplating a career change.

“This is a place to come in and feel loved and feel like it’s a positive space because we all have our sad stuff,” she says.