Owner of Ruby Peak Naturals
Leslie Lamb, daughter of Cheri and Terry Lamb of Enterprise, is a Wallowa County boomerang kid. Those are the ones that fly out of here as fast as they can as young adults and then return.
Leslie graduated from Enterprise High in 1996 and couldn’t wait to leave with her boyfriend Chris Hilde. It was off to Portland and “the most liberal school I could find,” she said.
She went to PCC and PSU and received two degrees, a bachelor of arts in social science and a bachelor of science in sociology. She knew a lot about groups of people and how they operate, but after all that study, she still didn’t know what she wanted to do.
She worked as a waitress and bartender while deciding how to use those degrees and “made a lot of money and had a lot of fun and got my eyes opened about a lot of things.”
It was life, she was learning, it was fun, but it was also chaotic and not all the choices she made were the best, she said.
Lamb came back to Wallowa County for Thanksgiving when she was 26-year-old and never left.
Back in Wallowa County, she worked at the Range Rider and Joseph Bronze and was a single mom with two small children, whom she calls the loves of her life.
Her two children, Kaylee Eaves, 9, and Nathan Eaves, 11, have found their place. They are close to family, and feel welcomed and a part of Wallowa County, she said.
And then, the penny dropped for Leslie. She heard that Jane Harshman was selling Wallowa County’s Health Food Store, “Ruby Peak Naturals.” The business drew in people from all walks of life. They all thought differently and Leslie found the difference and broadness she had gone looking for in Portland.
She bought the business seven years ago.
Q. Why do you stay in Wallowa County?
A. Beyond that it’s a great place to raise kids, I get traveling people who come in here with tattoos and piercings and spikes, and they Google and my store comes up as health food store or alternative store. People from Imnaha who “never leave Imnaha” come in here. I get everything from babies to grandmas and liberals to Republicans. People come and meet each other and tell stories and learn about life and health together. I use my sociology background from open to close in my store.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. It’s really taught me how a community can come together despite everybody’s difference. Because I really feel supported here. I never would have believed it when I was 17. Now, coming back here as a more experienced person, it was welcoming. Coming back here I thought either Wallowa County has changed or I’ve changed. Owning Ruby Peak has taught me that no matter how different people are, I have to respect their decision even if I don’t agree with it because I expect them to respect my (to them, completely whacky) idea.
Q. What was the first book you ever checked out of the library and can you recommend a book you’ve read recently?
A. I can’t tell you the title of the first book, but I know it was a Berenstain Bears book. I was about five, and I got it out of the Enterprise Library. A book I’ve read recently that I can recommend is “Rise Above, Free Your Mind One Brushstroke at a Time” by Whitney Freya of Wallowa. She teaches people how to be more balanced by staying in their right brain more and getting out of the left brain –– connect with your soul more through painting and the arts. You can find it online or at the Bookloft in Enterprise.