Judith Andrew and Karen Benson have held on to the ancient belief that stones and crystals hold healing powers. The couple has spent more than a decade trying to help others understand what many dismiss as pseudoscience. Andrew and Benson use the business they opened in downtown Brockport to share their passion and even in turn covert non-believers.
“There are people that come in where the minute they step over the threshold they feel something. It’s not easy to explain, but there is an energy that these rocks possess,” Benson said.
Benson and Andrew retired from teaching and opened Lightways Metaphysical Store back in 2008 on their sprawling property, renovating their barn to house their small business.
“We both taught high school for over 30 years and retired earlier than we thought we were going to, so we were like, ‘Okay, now what?’ and we started dabbling in the stones and crystals,” Andrew said.
In 2014, they moved the business to downtown Brockport. Opening their store to a larger audience, they wanted to offer more than just the crystals.
“We spent several years networking the whole Rochester area on psychic readings and mediumship and counseling and house cleansings, candles, incense, reiki, energy therapy and we were like, ‘We really like this’,” Andrew said.
Andrew, who described her younger self as a “hippie” says her passion for alternative forms of healing started when she was a teenager.
Now she wants to help people who are like her understand what these crystals and other practices can do for them.
“I could see how all this was making a difference for high school kids even 12, 15 years ago.
It always seemed to calm them. They would come into my classroom if they were having a rough day and just run their hands through my bowl of stones on my desk. I wouldn’t say anything and after a few minutes they’d say ‘Okay, I feel better’ and leave,” Andrew said.
As times have changed, the effect of these stones hasn’t. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, their business grew. It provided an outlet for anyone to become interested in something new and put their time and effort into something healthy.
“During covid when everyone was so isolated, I think kids included said ‘There has to be more out there to feel better’, ‘There has to be more ways besides drinking, drugs, shopping or eating to feel better’. So, then you get one little group of five girls that come in and say, ‘Oh my god I love this, I really connect with it,’ then they go and tell their friends, and their friends,” Benson said.
That is how their business has grown. Word of mouth is their best advertisement and they haven’t slowed down.
Sometimes people come in for specific stones or with a purpose, or others come in because they felt they just needed to check it out.
“I just felt really drawn to this place, it’s got a really cool vibe. I was looking around for something to help me on my sacral chakra,” customer Kierra Ranger said.
Judith Andrew and Karen Benson are always around to help their customers, new or returning. Their strong beliefs, although rooted in ancient times, have rubbed off on their customers. Even if they walked in as skeptics, many have left as believers.