Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fact & Fiction - Missoula, MT

Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT
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Missoula has a history and heritage of independent bookstores that dates way back before Fact & Fiction was founded 31 years ago.  There are several bookstores in Missoula today but there were even more 31 years ago.  A remarkable thing for a community that numbers approximately 70,000 today.  Obviously, Missoula understands and appreciates the importance of independent bookstores.  It also helps that this region is home to many authors and the University of Montana has a strong MFA program.  Whatever it is in Missoula, this town has some good bookstores and this is one of them.

Barbara T. was the founder and owner of Fact & Fiction for 31 years until last month when Mara P. took over the business.  It was my good fortune to meet BOTH of these fine ladies and it was wonderful to hear the store's past, present, and current perspective from both of them.  They both agree that they can feel a shift to an understanding of the "shop local" movement, not only for bookstores but for other independent businesses as well.  Fact & Fiction is in its second location, moving to its current Higgins Ave store back in the 90s.  This location is outstanding for visibility and foot traffic on the busiest street in town.

The store is a long, narrow one-level that offers all new books and a few sidelines.  Since taking over the business, Mara is considering offering a few more sidelines but the available space will dictate how she will proceed.  Fact & Fiction has an active events schedule and can accommodate up to 150 people in the store.  They are also able to host larger events off-site.  The store has a great partnership with some high schools and libraries allowing them to sell them books.  Every school needs to partner with their local indie!  You'll also find another branch of Fact & Fiction on the university campus.

Not only do I appreciate the opportunity to meet people like Barbara and Mara, but I appreciate it even more when they come in on their day off to do so, like Mara.  Or when they don't have to be in the store at all, like Barbara.  Readers, these are the wonderful experiences that I am blessed to enjoy at independent bookstores.  Is there any doubt these indies are successful with people like this?  Nope, no doubt at all.  Check this one out, you'll love it.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  After The Fall, Noah Hawley.  One of the best I've read this summer.  A private plane crashes into the ocean off of Martha's Vineyard and everyone dies except for a painter and 4-year old boy.  Story goes back and forth between before the crash and after.  Was it an accident or sabotage?  Why did these two survive?  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Peace Like A River, Leif Enger.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Buffalo Jump Blues, Keith McCafferty.   

Another picture of the beautiful store front.  

This is just a part of the window display space.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Display to the right after entering the store.  Apologies for the blur.  

Just a few of the items of local interest.  

Have a seat here near the front of the store and start trying out books.  

Along the left wall of the store you'll see pictures of many authors who have done events here.  

If you're in Montana and worried about the outside world, pick up the NY Times here.  

Lots of books of local interest and by local authors. 

Some great souvenir postcards.  

A few more sidelines including coffee mugs, glasses, and book lights.  

You'll find staff picks throughout the store, notated by the shelf-talkers on the shelves.  

As a person who often loses or breaks reading glasses, I'm always glad to see bookstores who sell these.  

Find out what some of the book clubs are reading.  

This is a slogan I can get behind!

This is a hidden middle room (behind a bookshelf, of course) that you won't see.  Conferences and meetings, a very nice space.  

I haven't seen too many suggestion boxes in bookstores, but I think this is a great idea.  

Fill one of these with coffee and it will go great with your book.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

This picture tells you everything you need to know about bookstore people, they are the best!  

With former owner Barb on the left and current owner Mara on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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