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The Health Food Store passes to next generation

(L-R) Jude and Mondo Leon are passing the baton at The Health Food Store to daughter Libby and her husband, Rodney Peck.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
(L-R) Jude and Mondo Leon are passing the baton at The Health Food Store to daughter Libby and her husband, Rodney Peck.



— After more than 22 years as owners of The Health Food Store in Grangeville, Mondo and Jude Leon are stepping aside. Their daughter Libby, and her husband, Rodney Peck, took over the store Jan. 1.

“We are so excited to do this, to continue this family business,” Libby said.

The Leons moved to Grangeville in 1990.

“I had spent time in Sandpoint and Montana, so I knew the area. Then we lived in Las Vegas for five years and were ready to leave the city,” Mondo said. That readiness gave the family cause to look for a place to relocate. Grangeville was the small community they were looking for.

They moved here when Libby was 1, and eight years later added another daughter, Veda, to their family.

“It’s been a wonderful place to raise a family,” Mondo said.

“We aren’t going anywhere – this is where we want to stay,” Jude added. She also has a son, Ian, who lives in Grangevillle and works for Gortsema Motors.

Upon moving to Grangeville, Mondo worked trails for the Forest Service and Jude baked for the senior center and also worked at the local health food store at the time, It’s Only Natural. The Leons eventually purchased the business and together researched and gained industry knowledge together.

“Our main focus has been helping people,” Mondo said.

photo

Contributed photo Mondo and Jude Leon in days past when The Health Food Store was located behind Syringa Hospital.

“And that’s what we want to continue to do,” Libby said, adding they specialize in a selection of well-known and top-brand supplements. “We’re always here to help answer any questions from simple to complicated – we share what we know and will research what we don’t.”

After graduating from Grangeville High School, Libby was anxious to live away from the area for a while. She spent nine years in Moscow and worked in the child care industry. She met her husband, Rodney, in Moscow where he was employed in construction as a roofer. About four years ago, when her parents mentioned their desire to wind down a bit and perhaps sell the business, Libby said she knew what she wanted to do.

“I was raised in this business and I knew this community and suddenly had a strong urge to be back in it,” she said. “I did not want to let the family business go because I believe it’s an important resource for the community and is also important to our family.”

The Pecks moved to Grangeville and said they have not looked back.

“We really love it here,” Rodney said. Although he spent 24 years in construction, he said he settled right into the health food store and enjoys the interactions with customers and the entire business.

The two are expecting their first child in March and are outdoor enthusiasts.

“Anything on the river, camping, hiking and being in nature,” Libby said. “It’s a great place to be and I really appreciate it and where we are.”

Although daughter Veda doesn’t have a hands-on part in the family business currently, her family still sees her nearly every day.

“She delivers our mail,” they laughed. Veda is employed by the United States Postal Service.

Throughout the years, the Leons built a customer base that reaches beyond Grangeville and into the outlying communities and beyond. Their store has expanded and grown with the times and needs and desires of the community. One example of that is their wide selection of gluten and soy-free products as well as specialty Code Red and keto items. They have a selection of additional allergen-free foods also including dairy, sugar, egg, MSG, yeast and meat-free products and also offer allergy-free beauty, body, laundry and cleaning items. Customers can also find a large grocery selection of refrigerated, frozen and dry goods including bulk nuts, flours, spices, baking items, seeds, dried fruits, xylitol, organic cane sugar, nutritional yeast and sea salt. Also available are items such as kitchen supplies, essential oils, gifts, books, India arts, jewelry, incense, natural hair dyes, henna and toiletries.

The Health Food Store is located at 221 W. Main Street, Suite 2. Call 208-983-1276; see The Health Food Store on Facebook.



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