Photo: 181205-biz-curtainshop Curtain closes on downtown landmark

The Curtain Shop on Water Street in Exeter closed last week after 89 years in operation.

EXETER — The curtain has closed on a fixture that’s been part of the downtown business community for 89 years.

The Curtain Shop shut its doors last week after owner Marcia Markie retired and put the building on the market.

Markie’s history with the business began in 1978, when she was hired for a seamstress job at the shop at 39 Water St.

“I started at the bottom of the ladder and worked my way up,” she said.

She bought the business in 1994 and the building in 1999.

After 40 years in the business, Markie said she woke up one morning this fall and decided it was time to retire. The decision came at a time when business at the shop was still booming, she said.

“I’m walking away from everything,” said Markie, who had one full-time employee and a part-timer.

The building is now under contract, but Markie said she’s not sure what the future may hold. The Curtain Shop will not be returning under a new owner as the business has been liquidated, she said.

The shop specialized in window treatments. It offered custom-made curtains, which were designed and installed, stock curtains, and sold gifts and home decor.

“We would have curtains for any budget,” Markie said. “We did everything pretty much old school. We had accounts all over New England.”

The shop had just three owners during its time downtown. It was started by Curtis Field, whose daughter, Mary Houston, eventually took over before Markie took ownership.

“Mary Houston took me under her wings and taught me everything I know,” Markie said.

Markie posted a fond farewell to her customers under a permanent closed sign on the shop’s door last week.

“A lot of people are very sad we’re leaving. I didn’t realize we were such a staple in Exeter. It’s a wonderful, wonderful business, and I’ll miss the people, the creativity,” she said.