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Occupation: I've owned my own business for five years. Newtown Curtains is an all-service business that I like to think is unique because I do everything from coming to the customer's home to discuss fabrics and measure, to installing hardware an



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Occupation: I’ve owned my own business for five years. Newtown Curtains is an all-service business that I like to think is unique because I do everything from coming to the customer’s home to discuss fabrics and measure, to installing hardware and delivering the finished product. I am in control of the fabrication process because I employ local seamstresses, and I have been truly blessed to have excellent help. It takes time to establish a business like this because it’s mostly by reputation and word-of-mouth. My background has been in garment tailoring and in bridal shops, and I’m mostly self-taught. I learned a lot about sewing from my grandmother, and as a small child I was always pestering her. She’d tell me, “Go tend to your knitting,” which I guess was her way of saying, “Enough already.”

How Long In Newtown: I grew up in Florida, and I’ve spent time in Virginia. I came to Connecticut 20 years ago and have lived in Newtown for 15 years. It’s lovely up here and I’m getting used to the winters. I just put my head down and get through it.

Ideas For Improvement: I wish there were more sidewalks and more places for the kids to ride bikes. But I realize living in a rural setting is a trade-off, and you can’t have everything. I wish we’d get a Boston Market in this town. We’ve got plenty of Italian deli’s and Chinese take-out places, and Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway are doing great. Now we need a good quality, carry-out chicken and sides restaurant.

Family: My husband, Carl Lenkeit, has helped me a lot with my company website, www.newtowncurtains.com. He has a son and daughter and I have a son and daughter, and they are all in their 12s and 14s. It works very well. They all like to sew, especially my stepson and stepdaughter. We’ve made endless blankets and pillows together.

Hobbies: I love to garden. I used to start everything from seed in the basement with lights and heater cables and vents and so forth because I was going stir crazy with the long winters. But I don’t have time for all that now.

Pets: We have three cats –– two kittens and one older cat.

What About Books And Television: My son is on the travel soccer team and recently we were in Rhode Island. I went into a Barnes and Noble and bought three biographies on three very diverse subjects –– Ben Franklin, Judy Garland, and the Hell’s Angels. As for television, I cut off the cable because it’s mostly so bad, though I do miss Court TV and The Discovery Channel. We signed up for NetFlicks.com. That’ll be a great change.

Organizations: I belong to the Chamber of Commerce of Newtown and an entrepreneurial women’s network. A national organization that I belong to is Home Sewers Association. Lately, I’ve enjoyed working with the Parks and Recreation Department teaching sewing to kids. I’m very excited about it. It’s for ages 10 and up, and we use sewing machines to make beach bags, skirts, etc.

Most Vivid Memory About Newtown: Two things come to mind. I will always remember the Holiday Tree Lighting a couple of years ago when it was so snowy. We had such a difficult time lighting the luminaria because it was so windy. But everything was very lovely –– a real winter scene. And then there is The Pleasance. I know that I will always associate Newtown with The Pleasance.  Each and every time I drive by, I am amazed by, number one, the sheer beauty of it — and secondly, by the generosity of those who provide for its upkeep as well as its inception.  I can’t think of any other town that I have ever been in that has had anything close.

Favorite Vacation Spot: We all go to Orlando, Fla., in February and rent a five-bedroom house and visit my family. It’s a great vacation and very easy because the kids have plenty of space and it’s low maintenance.

Personal Philosophy: I get a lot of joy from helping others, and I find it satisfying when my business succeeds, enabling me to pay good salaries. I am glad that my seamstresses who are also moms can stay home with their children. I believe in making the world a better place. A smile goes a long way.

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