WOLFVILLE - Chris MacQuarrie is where she is today as a result of several lightbulb moments.
MacQuarrie, owner of Atlantic Lighting Studio in Wolfville, discovered the passion that led her to open her own business 16 years ago by happenstance. She approached a potential employer in hopes of finding work as a bookkeeper in the early 1990s, and was offered a part-time job in a lighting showroom.
The position turned into a full-time opportunity within three months and, more importantly, helped MacQuarrie discover a love of lighting that would change the course of her life.
“I just fell in love with lighting. It’s a fascinating field with the things that you can do with light, so I just embraced it,” she said.
She specialized in lighting for eight years before opening her own store.
“Lighting is changing constantly and I’m constantly learning new things, which is part of the excitement of being in this industry,” she said.
Originally from Kentville, MacQuarrie opted to based her lighting studio in nearby Wolfville.
“Wolfville has a lot to offer people, so there’s people coming from all over Nova Scotia to bring their children to Landmark East or Acadia University, or they come for the theatre,” she said.
“There’s a lot of traffic that goes through Wolfville.”
But her days in her beloved Atlantic Lighting Studio showroom are numbered.
The store that has become a fixture within downtown Wolfville is closing May 19, with a farewell inventory sale running until the last day of business.
“I’ve gone through a lot of different emotional stages in the past few months. I’m really sad to be closing the store because I’ve really enjoyed working here and meeting so many wonderful people. I’ve loved the profession that I chose,” said the mother of two, grandmother of four.
“Part of me is really sad to be leaving that but part of me is feeling relief, and looking forward to the next chapter of my life. Running a business can be very stressful and you don’t have a lot of free time.”
She plans to spend more time with family when the store closes, but continue to offer her services as a professional lighting consultant.
“One of the niche markets that our business had over other lighting stores is that we offered consulting and lighting expertise that is hard to get,” she said.
MacQuarrie will start the next chapter of her life with the confidence and contacts gained from her time at the helm of Atlantic Lighting Studio.
“Some customers you spend a lot of time with and you really get to know them, and I’ve become friends with a lot of them,” she said.
“Everyone has been so welcoming right from when I opened the store.”
The store has three employees, and MacQuarrie said she’s been lucky to have helpful and creative staff coming up with eye-fetching window displays customers have repeatedly said they’ll miss since word of the closure started to get out.
“I think we will be missed and it’s very heartwarming to hear how much people appreciated us being here,” she said, stressing that customers choosing to shop local played a big role in the store’s success.
“I would love to just thank all of the customers that have used our services over the last 16 years because I’ve had tremendous support and I really, really appreciate that loyalty.”