Returning Quilts Safe and Sound

Why do our guests come to our show?

Some come for the vendors. Some come for the classes. Some come to see friends. But everyone comes for the quilts.

Show quilts accepted for our annual contest and for special exhibits begin arriving at our office in December. The quilts are meticulously logged in and stored until the Sunday before the show when they are moved to the Ontario Convention Center for judging and displaying.

When the show closes on Sunday at 3:30 PM, dismantling the many quilt displays begins immediately. Each quilt is removed by white-gloved volunteers and carefully stored until the next day, when the process for packaging and shipping begins.

Other large shows can take up to a month to return their show quilts to the makers. At Road to California, we pride ourselves in developing a process where over 1,000 quilts are readied for pick-up by FedEx by Monday afternoon following the show.

Show Director, Matt Reese, personally oversees the packing and shipping of the quilts. “This is the only part of the show that I am 100% directly responsible for,” commented Matt. “I do not delegate this responsibility to anyone. I have retained full oversight even when I was in law school and even when I was sick.”

Matt has spent the past three years perfecting Road’s packing and shipping method. His goal is to have the job done as quickly as possible without compromise. Matt says using computers, having multiple packing stations, and hand-picked volunteers make the difference.

Because of bad weather, Matt received extra volunteer help this year from Road 2017 Vendor Maria Tamaoka of Pinwheels,  Road 2017 Vendor and Teacher Pat Yamin of Come Quilt With Me 

and Road 2017 teacher Patt Blair

They were a great help.

Each quilt has a return instruction sheet completed by its owner that accompanies it throughout the 5-step Shipping and Packaging Process:

Step 1- Expediting

One person verifies the return instruction sheet along with the quilt’s assigned tracking number and a volunteer matches it to the quilt.

Step 2- Packaging

A volunteer folds the quilt as it was originally received, per the owner’s direction, and puts it in a plastic bag to protect it against any possible insect or water damage in shipping.

The quilt is then placed in a brand-new box that matches the dimensions requested by the owner.

Occasionally, when a quilt is received, the owner asks to have it returned in the box they provided. In those cases, Road holds on to the boxes until final shipment. And sometimes two quilts are returned to the same owner in the same box.

Our shipping boxes are put together on site. This year, all boxes were assembled by volunteer Randy Graves, quilter Stevii Graves’ husband. An engineer by profession, we knew the boxes would be well constructed!!

 

All boxes are then filled with acid-free packing paper to avoid movement in shipping.

Step 4-Weighing

All boxes are weighed on a scale and the weight is recorded on the return instruction sheet.

Step 4-Computer Station

This is the final check point for the quilt. It’s number and box contents are verified and a packing label is printed.

Step 5-Sealing and Mailing

The boxes are sealed and the mailing label is affixed. Also, the number of the quilt is written on the side of the box. All sealed boxes are stacked, ready and waiting for the FedEx truck to arrive. The FedEx driver loads the boxes, verifies the order and takes all the boxes to their main hub at Ontario International Airport for shipping.

This year, the packing and shipping was done in record time. Anxious owners should be receiving their quilts safe and sound by the end of the week.