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Former Teachers Enjoy Running Their Business

They found a new calling after they started Lightways, a metaphysical shop in Brockport

By Christine Green

Lightways carries a wide selection of dried herbs, crystals, gifts, incense and other related products.
Lightways carries a wide selection of dried herbs, crystals, gifts, incense and other related products.

When a customer walks into Lightways metaphysical shop in Brockport, they should be prepared to stay a while. In addition to the wide selection of dried herbs, crystals, gifts and incense, owners Judith Andrew and Karen Benson of Brockport have a wealth of knowledge that they enjoy sharing with their customers.

“A lot of what we do is talk to people,” said Andrew. “Someone might just spend $1 or $2 but maybe stay one or two hours.”

At almost any given time one can find Andrew or Benson chatting with customers and consulting with them about everything from the spiritual qualities of various stones to the benefits of different healing modalities such as reiki or integrated energy therapy.

It’s clear that they enjoy their job and helping the people who come into their shop for products, classes or guidance. “I like to connect with people on a personal level. I’m here and always willing to help,” said Benson. Andrew added with a wide smile, “It is just love when you come in here!”

A Unique Westside Shop

Andrew and Benson met 35 years ago when they both worked for the Rochester City School District as vocational special education teachers at Edison Career and Technology High School. After they retired from education and before they opened Lightways three years ago they would regularly gather with friends and acquaintances to discuss spiritual growth and development, practice meditation and do spiritual energy work. After several years they realized that opening a brick and mortar shop and offering structured classes and workshops in downtown Brockport would bring their knowledge and expertise to more people, especially those on the westside of Rochester.

Lightways offers a large inventory of products, including books, tarot cards, crystals, candles and meditation tools. Benson is in charge of procuring items for the store and spends quite a lot of time at gem shows and working with different wholesalers to bring top quality yet reasonably priced products to their customers. Benson has extensive knowledge about the different scientific and spiritual qualities of the stones and crystals they carry.

They also offer a variety of classes including meditation, mindful recovery and radical forgiveness, among many others. Andrew has trained in a variety of spiritual healing techniques and offers sessions in reiki, chakra balancing, and earth energy balancing in her upstairs healing room. But all of this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of her expertise and what she offers to clients. She also does angel card readings and integrated energy therapy.

Andrew and Benson also bring in instructors from around the area to teach classes and offer services. Tarot readers, psychic mediums, and astrologers are just a few of the many teachers and healers in their circle who come to Lightways. They also host an overnight spiritual retreat on the shores of Lake Ontario every June.

A Peaceful Community

Chris Collier of Brockport is a retired teacher who also works at the shop part time. She always looks forward to coming to work as she finds it, “very peaceful.” She said, “I love coming here. It’s a joy to come in. We laugh a lot. It’s happy and calm.”

happy frogThis joyful and serene environment attracts people from all areas. Loyal customers regularly travel from Rochester, Victor, Oswego, Rush, Albion and Elba. The clientele is diverse but most are women in their retirement years. Benson believes that after many years of looking after families and children while also working hard at their careers, women over 50 are ready to start caring for themselves and their spiritual health.

“The wisdom you grow through your lifetime comes to a peak in your 50s and 60s and you realize that there is more to life than making money or shuffling kids. Now they are moving toward something more spiritual and looking into the future and what the next life might be.”

A strong community has indeed blossomed at the shop, and business is doing well. But when asked if Lightways might expand their services or store in the future, Andrew pointed out that being bigger than they currently are isn’t necessarily the direction they want to go in. Running Lightways as an intimate shop with a carefully curated selection of classes and events allows Andrew and Benson to experience not only a fulfilling and fun second career but to enjoy the benefits of semi-retirement like travel and personal development.

“I want to walk the beach in the morning, and I want to walk in the woods,” said Andrew.

Benson added that life in their 60s is about “what do I want to see or experience’ not ‘what do I have.’”

Building owner Katherine Weston told 55 Plus Magazine that the duo brings, “a positive energy to the space that makes it a happy and productive place to be.”

To learn more about Judith Andrew and Karen Benson visit the Lightways website at www.lightwaysjourney.com or call 585-281-8670.