The Lion’s Lair was originally the heart child of Laura Marggraf Unger who first opened the shop in October of 2005. Laura had led a nomadic life, living throughout the United States and traveling throughout Europe. Eventually something began drawing her family to Berkeley Springs. Before she knew it her sister, Tamme, was established here as an acupuncturist, her parents opened a spiritually based shop called Portals and Laura met and married a local man named Derek Unger.
When her thoughts turned to opening a business her journey from travel to home inspired her. She envisioned her life as “The Dream”, a Henri Ruseay painting portraying a woman resting, seemingly at peace with nature, the wildlife and her surroundings – including the placid lions. Hence, the Lion’s Lair was born. Laura had found her lair, her home, her roots.
Her goal was to bring “the outside world inside” by featuring nature based art, spiritual themes and joyous creations. Iron trees that seemed to blow in the wind, bisque wall tiles in the shape of leaves with spirits peeping from them, natural candles with outdoor scents. The Lion’s Lair became a favorite shop in Berkeley Springs.
Afters years of growing the store she transitioned into growing her son. She stuggled with the two loves of her life and the child at home won the battle. In 2012 Laura decided to sell the shop, raise her son and work on her own art. She is now a successful fused glass jewelry artist working from her homes based studio called “Scene in Glass”.
An unusual phone call started the transition of ownership for the Lion’s Lair. One day Angela Matthews answered the phone and it was a call from Laura asking if she might consider purchasing the Lion’s Lair. Laura was considering selling the shop, thought Angela would be a good fit for keeping the Lion’s Lair alive.
After much consideration, Angela decided her arts background and business experience could make it work. On March 1, 2012 the Lion’s Lair passed hands. Angela still talks to Laura about the business, respects Laura’s original intent and has worked diligently to make the Lion’s Lair a success.
The Lion’s Lair adopted Anne Lappe’s quote as a buying policy. “Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” To make this a reality the Lion’s Lair has added more Fair Trade and charitable products that focus on sustainable employment and support of women’s and children’s health and education throughout the world. American Handcraft is chosen with an eye on young artists, ecologically sound production practices, recycled materials and natural designs. Our cards, gift wrap and packaging materials are made of at least 90% post consumer recycled materials.
We believe that when the owner and employees are comfortable in their surroundings and proud of their contributions to the world at large that customers are comfortable and happy too!