The Haven Coffee House - Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

May 2014 - Contemporary Issues
by Jean S Wilund

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May 2014 - Contemporary Issues

Alice in Wonderland would love the The Haven Coffee House. If she stepped through the glass door of this little shop on Main Street in Lexington, friendly versions of Tweedledum and Tweedledee—co-owners Kelli Limehouse and Karen Van Heerden—would warmly greet her with smiles as broad as a Cheshire cat’s. Here no one’s mad, but plenty about this coffee house is unconventional. Cheerful volunteers serve platters of mouth-watering pastries and oversized cups of tea and coffee while patrons browse through vintage dresses, artwork, and designer necklaces. And while the shop does a brisk business, its focus is less on making a profit and more on making a difference. Kelli and Karen are more interested in the woman in Lexington who lost her only daughter, in the South African who doesn’t know her value as a woman, and in young girls everywhere enslaved to self-destructive behaviors. One cup at a time, this non-profit wonderland, known by locals simply as The Haven, is making a difference in the lives of women around the world.

The desire to minister to women and girls in a non-church setting began growing in Kelli’s heart years ago. It continued to grow until she could no longer ignore it.The demands of her thriving business, Limehouse Home Interiors, however, made the vision seem unreachable. She needed a partner—one who shared her faith and zeal. She needed Karen. Karen (pronounced CAR-in), is originally from South Africa. She lived and worked in Italy for 22 years, simultaneously running a hotel and two cooking schools with South African passion and Italian flair.The hotel’s first guest saw in Karen the perfect romantic match for her Lexington, South Carolina neighbor, family practitioner Johnny Smith.After exchanging emails for a year, Karen and Johnny finally met in London. The hotel guest’s hunch was right, and five years later, wedding bells chimed. Karen left Italy to join Johnny in Lexington.

Why did Christ die for you?

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