We would like to congratulate Heather Chamberlain and Theresa’s Gingerbread House, LLC and Childcare Centers for being voted as West Liberty Business Association’s April 2023 Business of the Month. Theresa’s Gingerbread House is a state licensed facility that has 2 locations; one in West Liberty and one in Urbana.
Heather’s mother, Theresa Ball Cox, started Theresa’s Gingerbread House in the back of their home when they moved to Urbana in 1989 to care for Heather’s Papaw who had Alzheimer’s disease after her Mamaw passed away suddenly at the young age of 57. Theresa was one of the first Type A Centers to be licensed in the State of Ohio on April 10, 1990. They are celebrating 33 years in business this year.
Heather started working with her mom as a teacher aide in 1998 when she graduated high school. Then in 1999 while she was in college, Heather started training under her mom as an assistant Administrator. Heather became a co-owner of the business in 2005. Theresa retired in 2015 after 25 years in business and Heather has continued on as a second generation woman in business which is something she is very proud of. This is Heather’s 25th year in the business! Heather has 36 total employees between the 2 centers. They hire 3-4 additional staff in the summer to bring their total number of employees up to 40.
They opened their West Liberty location in 2008. They saw the building for sale and decided it would be a great location for a childcare center. They purchased it from Humble Construction and then spent the next 6 months on the renovations to bring it up to code for the State of Ohio building regulations, and they opened June 12, 2008.
Theresa’s Gingerbread House, LLC Childcare Centers offers the residents of West Liberty a quality childcare center where your child can be cared for in a safe, loving environment while being prepared for kindergarten. Heather says, “We believe children learn through play but also need structured activities so while they are with us. They receive both throughout their day. They receive all their meals and snacks, and an accredited state approved curriculum.”
Theresa’s Gingerbread House is a Christian Childcare Center built on Christian principles and values and the Christian flags can be found hanging throughout both centers. The children sing a song of prayer before they eat as well as say the Pledge of Allegiance every day before breakfast. The children are taught kindness and inclusion. The centers accept Title 20 childcare assistance to any family who is approved, and they do not put a cap on the number of children they enroll with assistance.
When asked how involved with the West Liberty Community she is, Heather responded, “We give to many organizations within our community, and we are always willing to help any child in need. We adopt several of our children each Christmas and collect Christmas presents for them to present their family with. My mom was 1 of 12 children growing up in the hollers of West Virginia, and a missionary ventured up that holler one day and told her she could change her life, and she never forgot that moment. She worked hard, put herself through college one year at a time while working one year at a time, and she realized the American dream through perseverance, hard work, dedication, and a calling on her life. I work every day to honor her work and the many children’s lives we are blessed to touch. In the past, I have served as the PeeWee Cheer Coach, the WL-S Middle School Cheer Coach, (Go Tigers!) and I currently volunteer for small things at WL-S any time I can, although my children are nearly grown and my time with that is sadly drawing to a close. I now serve as the President of the West Liberty Business Association.”
What customers say they love most about these centers is that they are a warm, loving, family environment for children and parents alike. Both locations welcome families with open arms, without judgement, and they love the children like their own. Heather and her employees want them to succeed not only now but in the future.
What keeps Heather busy when she is not at work in one of her centers? “I am always busy running my youngest daughter Ava around to the many, many things she is doing, (and I LOVE IT), spending time with my husband Lee, going to see our son, Jake, and our daughter Kaitlyn, and I personally also love to read, walk, play with my dog, Murphy, camp, laugh, have dinner with friends, and just simply enjoy every moment God has given me.”
When asked what her favorite thing about owning a business in West Liberty is, Heather said “West Liberty is such an incredible place to live, to work, and especially to have a childcare center. The opportunities we have to walk our children on safe streets, the beautiful stores, and the amazing people that make this a great place to be is what makes this the very best place! I love West Liberty and the opportunity to do business with other small businesses. I think that is one of the most important things we can do is support each other.”
But her favorite thing about West Liberty itself? “I love that every summer we get to walk our school age children around town and let them experience the library, Thoman’s, The Ice Cream Parlor, the Mayor’s office, the Fire Department and the Police Station, The Liberty Gathering Place and Marie’s Candies, Lion’s Park and Dodge Park, and they get to experience all of these things first hand in a safe small town. They LOVE their summers with us and with all of you!"
Heather concludes with what she would like her customers to know, “We are so blessed and thankful for each and every one of you who are a part of our gingerbread family, and to our entire community, thank you for being a part of our lives.”
The hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 5 A.M – 6 P.M. We are located at:
501 W. Baird St. West Liberty, OH
1202 N. Main St. Urbana, OH
Article written by Brenda Snyder, WLBA Secretary
WL Business of the Month
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Past Winners (By Month)