Tag Archives: Carolyn Reese

A New Generation For Road To California

One of the features that sets Road to California apart is that for the past 22 years, it has been a family owned and operated show. Purchased by Carolyn Reese in 1996, it began with just a few classes and through Carolyn’s vision, has become what it is known for today: a week long premiere quilt show hosting over 39,000 visitors from all over the world who come to see the hundreds of quilts on display, take classes taught by experts in the quilt and fiber art world, and visit over 225 nationally and internationally known vendors.

This past year saw Carolyn retire from Road and the show acquire new Reese leadership. Road’s new owner is Matt Reese, Carolyn’s grandson and someone very familiar with what makes Road to California the special venue that it is.

Through the years, Matt has held many different positions at Road.  He started out doing “go-for-it” work: moving teacher equipment from the storage rooms to the classrooms and back as well as handling other functions during the week of the show. In February 2008, Matt was hired to help with the logistical planning of the show which gave him the opportunity to get his hands in just about everything. After he graduated from California State University- Long Beach, Matt was promoted to show manager and worked full time at Road while attending and graduating from the University of LaVerne Law School.

Why did this young husband and father decide to purchase a quilt show? Explains Matt, “I am a fourth-generation small business owner. It’s in my blood to be in business. I was facing a decision of stability for the future of my family as to whether I was going to continue at Road, or leave to join the legal profession. I knew my grandmother was getting older and whatever uncertainty may occur if something were to happen to her, left me in a position where I would not be able to offer stability to my family. Therefore, my wife and I decided the easiest solution– and the one that I preferred the most — was to purchase Road.”

Of course, continuing to produce a top-quality quilt show is Matt’s highest priority. He is currently working on a couple of new and exciting ideas that will ensure that Road’s attendees continue to have the best possible experience. Additionally, Matt hopes these changes will have a positive influence throughout the quilting industry.

During Road 2018, Matt will be directing his staff, ensuring a smooth operation without micromanaging. Guests will be able to see him at a couple of the larger events like Party Time and the Trunk Show with Jenny Doan. Matt says he will know right away if he’s done a good job planning for this year’s show: the office will be quiet but the floor will be buzzing with activity.

Matt wants to assure Road’s guests that the familiar Reese faces will still be actively helping at the show. A cousin is still coming to be the night manager. His uncle Darrell will still be managing the daunting task of all the equipment and his Dad, Mike, will be up in the office. The Road booth will still be staffed by Matt’s mom and aunt and other cousins still living local will be involved and working the show. Guests will even see Matt’s wife Jen. She handles the contest quilt unpacking and shipping program. The only Reese not with a job currently is four-month-old Braden but Matt is confident they will find one for him as time goes on!!

After being in the business for so many years, Matt says he genuinely “loves all quilts” and feels that “they all have an important place in quilting.” He has quite the collection of Egyptian Tentmaker quilts and is starting to amass a collection of artistic miniatures. Matt has also started to think about collecting some antique quilts as well.

Through the years, he has had some wonderful gifted quilts given to him. One that stands out is from the ladies of Sew Kind of Wonderful. They presented Matt with a small, modern wall hanging last year which has become one of his favorites because “the quilting is fantastic and the color scheme perfectly matches my house.”

While Road 2018 is just a month away, Matt is already looking forward to 2019 and beyond.  As Matt explains, “It takes between 18-24 months to fully plan and prepare for an event. We pride ourselves on covering details that some other shows aren’t able to cover. A lot of our special touch comes from the lessons I learned from Carolyn’s travel as a vendor oh so long ago.”

Join us in welcoming Matt Reese, Road’s new owner, who is bringing a new generation of leadership to the world class event that has become Road to California.

A New Decade Of Adventure For Carolyn Reese

Road to California is a family owned business.

Bought in 1991 by Carolyn Reese, she added the quilt show four years later. New logo

Carolyn’s three sons and their families have helped out with Road from the very beginning. Oldest son Mike is the financial officer. Middle son Dave provides the technical assistance; he is the one who designed the on-line registering system for the conference. Dave and his wife Susan also photograph all of the winning quilts. Youngest son Darrell is charge of equipment logistics, overseeing the set up and take down for the entire show.

(l-r) Mike, Darrell, and Dave Reese with their mother, Carolyn Reese

(l-r) Mike, Darrell, and Dave Reese with their mother, Carolyn Reese

Reese family members can also be found in the Road vendor booth, at the registration table, and assisting teachers and lecturers with the evening classes.

Carolyn has a Halloween birthday.  For as long as she can remember, she has spent her birthday at Quilt Market in Houston, first as a quilt shop owner of the Fabric Patch in Upland, CA from 1980 until 2006, then as owner of Road to California. But this year, Carolyn will be celebrating her birthday at home with family and friends.

80th Birthday dinner at Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

80th Birthday dinner at Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Why the change?

Because this year marks Carolyn’s 80th birthday and she has decided to retire from managing Road to California.  Carolyn has “turned the management over to my Grandson, Matt who has been working with me for the past six years and he is doing a great job.”Matt and Carolyn

After managing businesses for over 37 years, what will Carolyn be doing with all her free time?

As a quilt shop owner, Carolyn has taught many people how to piece quilts and other aspects of quilting. She also organized the first mystery quilt class in Southern California. Carolyn has always enjoyed helping people with sewing projects so she decided teaching would get her out of the house and working with people with similar interests. Carolyn

Carolyn’s first class was at The Quilt Loft in Upland, CA teaching the POP-UP container.

She has now taught at Sewn Together in Norco, The Busy Bee in Calimesa and Monica’s Quilt and Bead Creations in Palm Springs.  Other projects have been The Sweet Pea Pods, Fold and Stitch Wreath, Fold and Stitch Leaf Topper, Hexagon Star Table Topper – which Carolyn designed – and an Octagon Tablemat.

Her newest class is Perfect Binding Corners for any shape, squares and rectangles, hexagons, octagons and even an inside corner for each shape.  The binding can be any width up to 1” wide width which is great for placemats, table toppers, etc.

With a background in sewing that has covered many aspects of dressmaking, tailoring, upholstery as well as quilting, Carolyn also has lots of tips to share in her classes for easier methods of construction than what is found in a published pattern.

What other classes will Carolyn be teaching in the future? “Who knows,?” says Carolyn. “What ever strikes my fancy!!”

Of course, as his grandmother, you can be sure Carolyn will be keeping “an eye on Matt and what he is planning for Road to California…he has some great future ideas for Road.” Carolyn is looking forward to be able to “just go to the show – SHOP – and visit with the vendors as well as enjoy the beautiful quilts.”Carolyn on Harley

Thank you Carolyn Reese for your leadership and vision in establishing Road to California as “The Best in the West Quilt Show and Conference.”

 

 

 

Reese Granddaughters Are Making A Difference

Road to California is family owned and operated by the Reese family. Matriarch Carolyn Reese started the conference almost 22 years ago. Her three sons and their families all play an important part in running the show. At one time or another, most of Carolyn’s grandchildren have had responsibilities with the show as they were growing up. Today, grandson Matt Reese, is the Show Director of Road.

This past summer has been a productive summer for three of Carolyn’s granddaughters. All three were born and raised in Southern California and have had their turn at helping with the behind the scenes of Road. All college graduates, this summer has seen interesting changes in the girls’ lives as they have gone out on their own around the country.

Rachel Reese, daughter of Carolyn’s youngest son Darrell, moved to Chicago in 2014 to be the manager for a music store. This summer, she was promoted to District Manager of retail stores in Illinois and Missouri for Music and Arts. She will be supervising six stores and traveling regularly between the two states. Music and Arts is a national band and orchestral retailer servicing over a million lessons a year and fulfilling the instrumental needs of many musicians.

Mary Beth, Rachel, and Erika in Washington, DC

Mary Beth, Rachel, and Erika in Washington, DC

On the Fourth of July, Rachel reconnected with cousins Erika Reese of Virginia and Mary Beth Reese of California, in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the nation’s birthday. It rained throughout the day but it eventually cleared up so they could dance on the Capitol lawn to the PBS, A Capitol Fourth Concert. The out-of-towners stayed with Carie Ruiz, Erika and Mary Beth’s sister, at her home in Virginia.

Carie Ruiz is the middle daughter of Carolyn’s middle son, Dave. She and her husband Kevin and their 3 children have lived in Virginia the past few years. Carie is a stay-at-home parent who still finds time for sewing projects. She has been busy hosting relatives all summer: the cousins for July Fourth, her dad and step-mom for Erika’s graduation, and her mom and Grandma Carolyn for her two boys’ birthday celebrations.

Carolyn with great granddaughter

Carolyn with Great Granddaughter Laura

Erika Reese, Dave’s oldest daughter, graduated this summer from the National Institutes of Health Specialist in Blood Bank Technology Program.  It was an intensive 12-month training program offered by the Department of Transfusion Medicine in the NIH Clinical Center.  During the past year, Erika has juggled working 32 hours per week as a Medical Technologist in the Transfusion Service Laboratory; 8 hours per week of didactic lectures and exams in advanced immunohematology topics; outside rotations at participating facilities; and completion of a research project. After graduation, Erika was eligible to sit for the national exam offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology and on July 18, 2016, she passed her exam and is now certified as a Specialist in Blood Bank (SBB).

L to R, Kimberly Levy (fellow SBB student), Karen Byrne (DTM/SBB Education Coordinator), and Erika

L to R, Kimberly Levy (fellow SBB student), Karen Byrne (DTM/SBB Education Coordinator), and Erika

Erika recently moved out on her own to an “adorable” rowhouse rental in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore.  Erika has accepted a job as the Quality Assurance Specialist for the Blood Bank at the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore.  This job is off the bench and involves reviewing systems from the blood bank to maintain and enhance the quality and safety of transfusion and tissue transplantation. She is also working with her mentors to get her research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Erika really enjoys doing research and looks forward to opportunities for future projects within UMMC and collaborating with professionals at other institutions.

Road to California is proud of these three Reese granddaughters. What a summer indeed!!

Happy Haunted Birthday Carolyn Reese

Our favorite Road to California ghoul is celebrating another Halloween birthday!!Carolyn

Carolyn Reese was born on her grandparents’ homestead in Oklahoma on Halloween.  Her family settled in California in 1953. She worked in the yardage department of the May Company store in Lakewood while going to college. In the 1970’s, Carolyn and her mother opened a fabric store, The Fabric Patch, which quickly became a trend-setting quilt store in Southern California. Carolyn purchased the Road to California brand when it was just a few classes, nothing more. Her vision has turned it in to a premier quilt show with classes and vendors. 2015 will mark the 20th Anniversary Show and promises to be a very special event with many surprises throughout the five days. 

What makes Road to California so special for Carolyn is that her family gathers each year to help support her with the show._i4c4160pg

Carolyn’s favorite Halloween memories revolved around her children trick or treating when they were growing up. These days, her Halloween birthday usually finds her at trade shows. Carolyn is reminded daily of her Halloween birthday every time her cell phone rings with its haunted house melody. 

Join us in wishing Carolyn Reese a very Happy Halloween Birthday!!

A Birthday Wish

Road to California is all about family. It is a family run business under the direction of owner Carolyn Reese, managed by grandson Matt Reese, a business dedicated to promoting a feeling of  family for all who attends.   And while you’ll see various members of the Reese family participating in putting on the show, there is one member of their family who can’t join in but who is always close in thought. 

Glenda Kaye White is Carolyn’s sister.  Born November 23, 1944, Glenda suffered a birth injury which left her with the mental capacity of a seven year old. When Glenda was younger, Carolyn’s mother took care of all of her needs and made sure that Glenda was provided opportunities to experience the world around her. Today, Glenda is happy and doesn’t have a care in the world. She lives in a special facility in Upland, California. Glenda’s favorites include country music, “I Love Lucy” re-runs, the color red, and the song, “You are my Sunshine.” But more than anything else, Glenda LOVES GETTING MAIL.  Birthday cards, postcards, holiday cards, short notes — anything that the postman delivers just for her brings true joy and excitement in to Glenda’s life. She collects each and every letter and safe keeps them in her special RED purse to read over and over again.

So, in honor of Glenda’s birthday and the holiday season that is fast approaching, the Reese family would like to ask a favor of you, our Road extended family….Would you mind sending a card to Glenda? A belated birthday wish, a holiday message — any kind of card would do. Our hope is that Glenda will receive lots and lots of mail, beginning today, through Thanksgiving, and on to the entire month of December. Can you imagine what a thrill it would be for her? Here is her address: 

 

Glenda Kaye White

1289 North 3rd

Upland, California 91786

 

You can be sure that this small act of kindness will make a world of difference to one woman’s life.  A real birthday wish come true!!!