Granite Peak Gardens nurtures Libby roots

by Stacy Bender

James and Alexis Marozzo are blooming with excitement as they prepare to open the doors of Granite Peak Gardens in Libby this coming Saturday, April 24.

After acquiring the business just five months ago, the Marozzos were married at the garden grounds on Christmas Day, 2020, and have since been cultivating their future vision for the garden property located at the base of Whiskey Hill in Libby.

After 23 years, Bill and Penni Riggles will no longer be greeting customers at the gate of their well-known flower garden.  Though after selling their business to the Marozzos this past fall, the couple has been generous in helping with preparations and suggestions on what has worked for them in the past.

“We are so thankful to Bill and Penni, our friends and family who have been helping us, and to
Penni’s granddaughter, Kaylee, who was here at the gardens and helping us graciously with set-up as our new inventory arrived this past weekend,” Alexis shared on Sunday evening.
“We have a greenhouse full of everything Libby area patrons have come to expect over the years from Bill and Penni,” Marozzo added. “And then we have many things also in the works as we find our footing, meet our customers, and further gauge what they are looking for this season.”

“We know that we are going to plan a pumpkin patch experience this fall and will have a Christmas Tree Farm next winter,” Alexis continued. “We’ll be opening a gift shop soon, too. It is all so exciting!”
The gift shop will be carrying a line of handcrafted gifts from Imagine Design – a U.S. company which employs people living with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

The company’s mission is especially close to the heart of Alexis, who has been working as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/L) for the past seven years.

Alexis and James were introduced to one another by a fellow therapist who had worked with Alexis within a traveling circuit of providers across the greater northwest.

After getting married, the couple settled together in James’ hometown – Libby. Alexis currently works by day as Rehab Director and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant for the Libby Care Center of Cascadia, then moonlights in her backyard while working on future plans for Granite Peak Gardens. James is a certified plumber.
“It’s perfect. The backyard is so peaceful and grounding after a day of demanding physical therapy. I can just play in the open space with my dogs and then dig in the dirt and play with the plants, too. My dad would always create colorful planters with beautiful flowers, and my grandmother’s garden was amazing!”
So what to expect if visiting the gardens on opening day this weekend? Hanging baskets, tomato starts, strawberry plants, fruit trees (apple, cherry, apricot, nectarine, plum), bushes (blackberries, raspberries, yellow raspberries), and more.

After getting this weekend’s shipment settled into the greenhouse, another delivery is expected to arrive soon.

Granite Peak Gardens is located at 184 Bowkers Street in Libby.

Those seeking additional information may call 206-235-6325 or visit Granite Peak Gardens on

Doors will officially open for the season at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, April 24.

Granite Peak Gardens
Open 7 days per week,
Monday – Sunday,
from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

by Stacy Bender

“I just wanted to find a way to get these books
into people’s hands,” shared Vince Backen
while visiting just inside the doors of his newest business venture at the
old Kootenai Mercantile Building on California
Avenue in Libby.

“We’ve already had people stopping in while passing through town and happening upon our sign, then leaving with a pile of books!”

With 2,500 square
feet of space available and ready to be filled, used books which Backen has procured over the years have been piling in.

Acquired from various travels, perusing second-hand stores, visiting estate sales, and more, the expansive variety of written
and bound words are now being displayed upon an equally eclectic array of shelving and tables inside the storefront.

“The door will be open daily and my hope is to see many things happening here,” shared Backen. “The walls are open for local artists to display and sell their work, I will be adding records in the near future. As we get settled in, I’d
like to begin hosting some open mic nights for people to share what they’ve written, lecture events for the community, and plan for evening hours to offer an alternative to the bars.”

For the time being, the doors at BOOKS will be open daily thanks to the work of several volunteers.

Patrons are welcome
to find a book nook to
peruse any pages which strike their fancy, inquire about that “one book” they’ve been missing from their collection for years (some have successfully been found), and share conversation with like-minded bookworms who are steadily finding their way to the storied old
corner of  California Ave, and E. 4th St. in Libby.

“Just look for the open door and come on in!”