What started as a childhood dream for Charity Ramsey has officially become a reality—she has her very own bookstore. Growing up in Monticello, KY, Charity embarked on a different adventure with every page she turned. Her love for books stayed with her as she grew up, married her husband Rhett, became a nurse, and had her son Truett.

Now, she is giving the Monticello community a chance to explore their love for reading through Main Street Books, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary in July.

“I think it’s every little girl’s dream to own a bookstore one day with a Belle (Beauty & the Beast) ladder,” Charity said with a smile. “You ride right along the ladder and read your books. That’s always been a dream of mine.”


Main Street Books started as a side project for the couple, who have two other occupations. Charity is a nurse, and Rhett is an attorney. The opportunity to start the bookstore came two years ago after a fire damaged several buildings.

“There was a fire downtown, and this building became available,” Rhett said. “The owners reached out. They knew that we wanted to one day open a bookstore.”

There were challenges in the beginning due to the fire damage. The two buildings next to their future bookstore were damaged beyond repair, but luckily, their location only suffered cosmetic damage.

“When you walked into the front door, it smelled like a campfire,” Rhett recalled. “I mean, it was terrible. Our first hurdle was getting things cleaned up to where we could even begin to build.”

They completely gutted the upstairs, where most of the damage was. Rhett said the process took several months because they both had other jobs and a two-year-old at home.

Everything started to come together once they cleaned up the damage and began the build. They found book wholesalers and hired someone to build custom bookshelves. They even had someone use parts of the old building to build a custom tree for the children’s section.

After months of renovating, they opened their doors in July 2023.


Another great aspect of being a business owner is watching their child grow up in the store.

“(Truett) loves the bookstore,” Charity said. “He loves to come. Having a little one helps us target kids for more children’s activities here. We see their eyes light up whenever they come in. I think of this bookstore as our little boy’s legacy one day. He calls it Truett’s Bookstore. So, he really enjoys it here.”

It was the same for Rhett, who also grew up in a family business.

“It was really neat being around and seeing my family operate with the public,” he said. “I felt like that really helped me to be able to interact with people and just to learn how to deal with the public. I am hoping those same things will happen with Truett.”


Charity and Rhett both have a strong sense of community. They care deeply about the City of Monticello and its people. Charity has supported the local chamber of commerce and served on its board of directors. The bookstore even won the Rising Star award at this year’s chamber banquet.

“I think the main reason we opened this bookstore is that, as kids, there wasn’t a lot to do in town,” Charity explained. “So, we opened the bookstore as a kind of community place where people can come and read and enjoy storytime. Books are knowledge and power and magic. We wanted to bring that into the community.”

One of their favorite parts of the store is the back room, which is dedicated to children’s books. On weekends, they hold storytime sessions where community members come by and read to local kids.

The community of Monticello has grown a lot since Charity and Rhett were growing up. Many businesses from their childhood had closed, and nothing came in to replace them. Over the last few years, however, community members in Monticello have opened more businesses and created more opportunities for local youth.

“Not just us, but the whole community has really rallied over the last few years to build things back up,” Rhett said. “I think it’s really good for our young kids to grow up seeing that, ‘Hey, you can do things here … there are businesses and opportunities for you here in your hometown.’ You don’t have to leave to be able to do something.”

They also prioritize banking locally, choosing First Southern National Bank, which is nearby.

“I got a call one day from Jason Tucker from the Monticello branch,” Rhett said. “He said, ‘I know we know each other, but we’ve never really done business together. I hear that you guys are purchasing this building. Would you mind sitting down with me and seeing what we can do for you?’”

Rhett and Charity were able to close the deal quickly.

“It’s great,” Charity said. “Every time I walk in, they’re like, ‘Hey, how’s the bookstore?’ Everyone knows our name. We know everybody there at the branch. They are just literally down the street. It’s fast, efficient service.”

Charity and Rhett are thankful for the community’s support and are excited about the bookstore’s future. To keep up with Main Street Books, you can follow them on social media. They will celebrate their one-year anniversary on Saturday, July 6th, from 9 am to 3 pm. They will have giveaways, 15% off all books, and a special animal storytime from Kaidy Sullivan of Twin Lakes Veterinarian Services.

For more information on First Southern National Bank, visit fsnb.net.