House of Light Offers a Beacon to Downtown Shoppers

Berryville entrepreneurs Brian and Heidi McClemens have done it again. After launching what has arguably been the most successful downtown restaurant in years, the couple is now trying its hand with a new venture to boost retail shopping opportunities to Main Street.

On Friday the “House of Light” opened its doors as Berryville’s newest shopping and dining destination offering Christian merchandise, a coffee house replete with sandwiches, desserts and drinks as well as plenty of couch space for adults and children to sit and relax.

House of Light proprietor Heidi McClemmens (l) and assistant Valory Lohmann prepare fruit parfait for the House of Light grand opening ceremony - Photo Edward Leonard

Proprietor Heidi McClemens believes that Berryville desperately needs retail shopping in order to have a viable downtown.

“Everyone out on Route 7 seems to pass Berryville by. But if people see more opportunities to shop here maybe they’ll stop and visit our community” McClemens said. “I think that the House of Light will be a great addition to Berryville.”

The House of Light grew from Brian and Heidi’s love of visiting and shopping at stores offering Christian merchandise. When a friend of the McClemens, Joyce Bonds, decided to close her Christian retail store in Cross Junction, “Word to the Wise”, Brian and Heidi decided to leverage Bonds’s inventory and experience to kick-start the Berryville store.

Bonds said that the House of Light offers a wide variety of Christian brands and merchandise.

“We carry Kerusso tee-shirts and jewelry, Willow Tree collectable figurines and a large selection of Day Spring cards” Bonds said.

Kerusso, located in Berryville, Arizona, is known for producing products with witty phrases and messages based on Christian themes. (Check out Brian McClemens’s shirt the next time you see him; McClemens often sports a Kerusso creation.)  Day Spring cards features Christian messages and scripture. The store also offers bibles and new release Christian fiction books.

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House of Light customers can also purchase a wide selection of music for individual listening or liturgical purposes that can be published to CD-ROM.

“Some church congregations don’t always have musical accompaniment for vocalists” Bond said. “We offer music that can be used in place of live accompaniment.”

In addition to their retail offering, the McClemens’s have fashioned a corner of the House of Light into a traditional coffee and dessert counter offering a variety of sandwiches and other refreshments.

House of Light offers food and Christian merchandise including music, books, clothing - Photo Edward Leonard

Heidi McClemens said that the House of Light menu offers food that is not available next door at the Berryville Grille. “Soups, sandwiches, lots of ala-carte foods. If you don’t have time for a sit-down restaurant experience you can still get a great meal here.”

Traditional Main Street economies, like Berryville’s, have suffered over the past 30 years as so-called “Big Box” stores have siphoned away customers with cheaper products and one-stop shopping models. Business owners like the McClemens and Main Street Berryville, a local merchant’s co-operative, hope to re-kindle enough economic momentum to revitalize retail interest in Berryville’s downtown shopping district.

So far, if the McClemens’s experience is predictive, the revitalization efforts just may be working.

“We came up with the idea for the House of Light after the success of the Berryville Grille” Heidi McClemens said. “The Grille provided the working capital that we needed to open the new store.’

In addition to drawing visitors to Berryville, Heidi McClemens says that downtown retain also offers other benefits to the community including jobs for students.

Coffee bar assistant Valory Lohmann, a 17-year-old senior at Clarke County High School, agrees. Lohmann says that the House of Light will be a great place to work for the summer, and possibly longer if she decides to take a year off from school before entering college.

“I want to be sure that I know what I want to do before deciding about college” Lohmann said. “Having a place right here in town where I can work 15 – 30 hours a week is really nice.”

The House of Light is open seven days a week and is located next to the Berryville Grille. All food is prepared fresh daily.

Comments

  1. Laura Bohall says:

    Congrats on your opening!!

    • Judy Santini says:

      A Christian shop is always a good source to find answers to our daily lives. Whatever the need of the moment, the answer is to be found in Scripture, if we take the time to search for it. Whatever we’re feeling, whatever we’re suffering, whatever we’re hoping–Scripture has something to say to us.

      A Christian shop is meant to use as a handy reference when you need the guidance on a particular problem or if you simply want to enhance your knowledge. But if you’re feeling especially lonely or afraid, or if you’re wondering what God has to say about salvation, faith, pride, or parenting, some of the Bible’s wisdom and comfort is available to you.

      A Christian shop is God’s road map for life and can help you find light for your path.

      Congratulations, and may God Bless “House of Light”. A good source and a good cause.

      • Travis Goodwin says:

        The Bible is the road map and provides the guidance and reference for the answers. The shop just sells the map and reference material. Let’s not forget that part.

      • “And the Heavens opened, and God looked down and shouted to the earth, OPEN A CHRISTIAN SHOP!”

    • Brian McClemens says:

      Thanks Laura !! Have a Blessed Day !!

  2. A great place to stop and shop. I liked the selection of products, there is something for everybody, from the food to tee-shirts to music. Great gift ideas through out the store. I will frequent the House of Light!!!

  3. Patsy McFillen says:

    Great to see a new business in Berryville, Congrats to you and the Berryville Grille also. Growing up in Berryville where there were many businesses I do think that it can happen again. With more business owners like you it can happen. Berryville needs more businesses to bring the people to Downtown Berryville. Congrats to The House of Light and The Berryville Grille. We’ll see you soon!!!!

  4. Out of business in 1 year

    • Travis Goodwin says:

      A Christian business is open on Sundays? Wow…tell that to Chic-Fil-A and Living Branches.

      • Brian McClemens says:

        I am sorry you see it that way.. Have a Blessed Day..

        • Travis Goodwin says:

          I wasn’t trying to be flippant, but I can see how it could be read like that. I am impressed that you are open on Sundays, when other such businesses are closed (a la Chic-Fil-A). If I’m near Berryville for church, it’s nice to have that option now to grab a quick bite and all.

          Best of luck, Brian.

    • lol… Always has to be one loser !!! Why dont you tell us who you really are John !!! So easy to hide !!! Slamming a Christian store ??? God will JUDGE YOU !!!!

      • Taking advantage of people’s beliefs, and cashing in on them is wrong. Am I the one who will be judged? Wake up folks.
        Cid, God will judge me? Have you met her?
        Loser? Have you looked in the mirror lately? Are you wearing your jesus shirt now?
        If you believe in something, believe in it. If you are so weak and insecure that you have to wear it and waste money on books about it then Zeus, Vishnu or Allah help you!

        • I think what ever Brian does is between Him and God. Why cant you be happy to see someone trying to help build up the town of Berryville. Thanks to him the streets dont roll up at 3PM any more..Maybe you wanted to see Berryville never Grow !! Just because you hate Life dont slam HIm..Between his two stores he pays lots of taxes to the town and county. And he now has over 35 employees that now have a job in these Tough times !! My understanding is he has already spent over $150,000 in payroll this year.. John, do you ever even leave your house? Do you not have a LIFE or any Friends ?? I think you spend all your time trying to bring people down..If you had half a brain you would be glad he opened the stores.. So that your taxes dont go up !! I think the negative comments come from other buisness that are affraid he might take all their business !!! I am not wearing a jesus shirt ..YET.. Now I think I will go buy some today from The House Of light !! Get me a coffee and something good to eat !! I am done playing with you !! Peace Out !!

          • Settle down Cid. You don’t know me from Adam. [redacted] Obviously you feel Brian is a friend of yours, so sorry for hurting your feelings.

            $150,000 in payroll, divided by 35 = $4285.71 per person Wow!

            [redacted]

            John (not wearing Jesus on my sleeve, or my T-Shirt)

          • Brian McClemens says:

            I dont know syd or where he is getting the numbers. All I am doing is trying to build up the Town of Berryville and Clarke. That is my motive !! Lets all be Nice, Please !! Have a Blessed Day..

        • Brian McClemens says:

          How am I taking advantge of anyone?? I am not worried about being Judge by Jesus !! Also, I am not out here trying to hide who I am or MY REAL NAME !!! I am Brian McClemens of the House of Light and I LOVE JESUS !!!

  5. Doug Landry says:

    I do hope this business does well. As far as I can tell, it’s the first of its kind in Clarke County/Berryville. The real test will be 6 months from now, after the luster of grand opening and Christmas have faded. Still, they seem to have a solid plan.

    • Brian McClemens says:

      Thanks Doug !! And it is true, I have a solid plan !!!

      • I think it’s great to try new ventures in a town that has a sore need of economic activity. Good Luck in this business venture!

        Pay no attention to those who walk in darkness for they cannot see what they stumble over.

  6. Brian McClemens says:

    Thanks to all for the love and support.. Just so we are clear.. I didnt open this place to make money for me. I did it so people of Berryville and Clarke county had a place to Kick back and relax and have items to pratice their faith in Jesus!! Any profits that I make will go to support local Churchs and FISH of Clarke County that helps local people have food , shelter and clothes !! I hope that helps to stop the slamming of me. Have a Blessed Day !!!!!

    • Right Winger says:

      Brian,

      Ignore this place like the plague. It means absolutely nothing. It’s sole purpose is to provide information on the doings in Clarke County. Every site has its haters and pompous jerks who think it’s their right to tell people how to act or what to say or what you get to read. Screw em. Live life and enjoy it. That’s the best revenge.

      • It’s a miracle! I agree with Right Winger!

        Don’t let them get you down Brian, give it your best shot.

  7. Tony Parrott says:

    Brian,
    From one Christian to another, Good Luck and GOD Bless!
    Hope to stop by and check out the place soon.

  8. Heidi MCCLEMENS says:

    Thank you for all your feed-back (positive and not so positive)… Brian’s and My purpose for opening The House of Light was for two reasons…To bring more retail to Main Street Berryville AND to have a local Christian store that would meet the needs of faith-based people in our community. We have a deep love for Berryville and want to see it grow and prosper. I know not everyone will agree with us but that’s okay…We’re only trying to do a good thing. Thanks again for your support.
    Heidi

    • why not be multi-denominational? That would be a good thing

      • I visited and did not notice any denominational affiliation. Perhaps you believe Christianity is a denomination. It is not. A denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.

        • denomination [dɪˌnÉ’mɪˈneɪʃən]
          n
          1. a group having a distinctive interpretation of a religious faith and usually its own organization

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            You both gave the same definition. There are many denominations within the “Christian” tradition – Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, AME, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, non-denominational/evangelical, etc. Even within some of those denominations, there are divisions (the different Lutheran or Baptist groups, for ex.). I believe that this shop offers material that caters to those who align themselves with the “Christian” tradition, but it’s not necessarily an “evangelical” or “Catholic” or “Protestant” Christian shop.

            If you meant that the shop ought to include materials related to other religions (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, etc.), then that probably won’t happen as they are not “Christian.”

  9. Perhaps you are wrong. I don’t believe christianity is a denomination. You know what I was saying. [redacted] get your dictionary out again

  10. Patsy McFillen says:

    Please People What is wrong with you. Give the new business a chance!! If you do not agree with what is selling in the store go in and have a cup of coffee, A sandwich or just go in and enjoy visiting with your other neighbors of Berryville. I dont think you can ever please everyone, I truly think that the McClemens are giving Berryville what it needs to bring you businesses on main street. So please go and enjoy your new businesses and stop trying to find a wrong in this!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I wanted to say thanks to Brian for the Free Coffee and Great Breakfast. Glad to see you are Now Open @ 6:30 AM Mon-Fri … Good Luck and the gift Store is Awesome !! I cant believe you are going to give FREE COFFEE thru the rest of this year !! Peace my long hair Brother ..