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.]]>
Tags: Carolyn Reese, Eqyptian Tentmakers, Matt Reese, Quilt Show, Reese Family, Sew Kind of Wonderful
Posted in behind the scenes, Reese Family, Road to California, Road to California 2018 | 5 Comments »
Road to California is a family owned business.Bought in 1991 by Carolyn Reese, she added the quilt show four years later. 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. [caption id="attachment_4433" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] (l-r) Mike, Darrell, and Dave Reese with their mother, Carolyn Reese[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_4434" align="aligncenter" width="480"] 80th Birthday dinner at Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar[/caption]
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.” 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’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.” Thank you Carolyn Reese for your leadership and vision in establishing Road to California as “The Best in the West Quilt Show and Conference.” ]]>
Tags: 80th birthday, Carolyn Reese, Monica's Quilt and Bead Creations, Retirement, Road to California, Sewn Together, The Busy Bee, The Quilt Loft
Posted in Reese Family, Road to California | 5 Comments »
Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center located at Pomona Valley Hospital by purchasing a table for their annual fund raising fashion show and luncheon at the Sheraton Fairplex. Because cancer has struck the Reese family in the past, both Matt and Carolyn Reese feel that it is an important cause to support. In addition, Matt’s mom and Carolyn’s daughter-in-law, Shellee Reese, has worked as the Administrative Director for the cancer center for the past 15 years. Carolyn’s guests included members of her extended family [caption id="attachment_4380" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Back row (l-r) Jen Reese, Matt Reese, Shellee Reese. Front row (l-r) Lee Ann Akers, Debby Bennett[/caption] As well as two friends who are both cancer survivors. Elainne Edwards is a 15 year thyroid cancer survivor who enjoys making charity quilts. Lavella Fitzgerald, also a quilter, is a 15 year breast cancer survivor. [caption id="attachment_4378" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Elainne, LaVella, and Carolyn[/caption] Being at the luncheon brought back emotions for Lavella. ” It is wonderful to be with so many survivors today and to know that everyone is working for a cure.” The day included a delicious Asian theme luncheon followed by a fashion show where the models were each cancer survivors in their own right. Men and women modeled three outfits: casual, business, and formal. They were joined on the runway during the business section with the health professionals who they credited with helping them overcome their cancer. Then, for the last segment, each model chose a family member who was especially supportive during their cancer journey to walk with them down the runway. Each model’s story of courage in their trials was very inspiring for all in attendance. At the end of the event, Elainne remarked, “It encourages me to see the support of this community and know that you are not alone.” Road’s support for this important community center will continue at Road to California 2017 when they will hold their first Roadies Give Back evening of service on Saturday, January 21st beginning at 7:00 p.m. The goal for the evening is to make and quilt as many charity quilts as possible to donate to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Center. Sewing machines will be set up in several rooms and guests can choose to participate by helping to put together quilt tops, quilting the quilts, or finishing the quilts. The Roadies Give Back quilt block design was specially created by Road 2017 faculty member, Anita Grossman Solomon. In order to speed things along that evening, Road is asking for the quilt blocks to be made ahead of the show and delivered to their office starting December 5th. Whether or not you plan on attending Road 17, anyone can participate by making as many quilt blocks as they would like, following the approved design. Road to California is honored to give back to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center, where there is found “A passion for healing. A love of giving.” For more information regarding Roadies Give Back, please visit our website. ]]>
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. [caption id="attachment_4225" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Mary Beth, Rachel, and Erika in Washington, DC[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_4227" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Carolyn with Great Granddaughter Laura[/caption] 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). [caption id="attachment_4226" align="aligncenter" width="720"] L to R, Kimberly Levy (fellow SBB student), Karen Byrne (DTM/SBB Education Coordinator), and Erika[/caption] 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!!]]>
Tags: Blood Bank Technology Program., Carolyn Reese, DC, Family Reunion, Granddaughters, Music and Arts, National Institutes of Health Specialist, PBS A Capitol Fourth Concert, Summer of 2016, Washington
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Carolyn Reese, the matriarch and founder of Road to California since 1995, has worked closely with her grandson, Matt Reese, the show’s manager. In 2013, while Matt has been overseeing Road to California, he was also enrolled in law school at the University of La Verne. Matt’s studies came to an end last summer when after graduation, he shifted gears and began studying for the California State Bar Exam, administered on July 28, 29 and 30th at of all places, the Ontario Convention Center – home to Road to California. In order to focus on the bar exam, Matt took a leave of absence from his Road to California duties for 10 weeks, May through July. What was it like for Matt to prepare for the bar exam? “I studied on average 10-12 hours a day (some days more, some days less) and studied for 70 days straight. I did not take a day off. When Road’s registration started, I did pause, but studied again in the afternoon. I at least outlined every bar exam essay question the state of California released since 2001, practiced over 2,000 multiple choice questions and did over 20 performance tests. Even over the Fourth of July I was studying prior to going to my in-laws house for a BBQ. I figured a short summer sacrifice was better than doing this again.” As a newlywed, Matt’s wife Jennifer, also made some sacrifices (well, sort of) while Matt dedicated the 10 weeks to his studying. Matt recalled, “I actually think my wife had a blast while I was studying. She spent a lot of time with her mother crafting and so on. She even made a cuddle quilt for my cousin’s newborn son! She was extremely supportive, and was a great help in keeping me focused and on track.” During the three days of the exam, Matt would arrive at 7 AM at the Ontario convention Center and did not leave until 5 or 5:30 PM most days. What was the bar exam like? “Overall, the written portion of the bar was pretty straight forward. The multiple choice was difficult – but everyone else thought so too. I would not want to take it again, but it was oddly fun. After we worked so hard to prepare for the test, it felt like normal routine to sit and write the test – and also realize that we wouldn’t have to do this again for a long time!” said Matt. Matt started back to work at Road to California on August 5th, while most of his classmates and friends took the month of August off. Even though he fell back in to his Road duties, it actually took him about a month to recover from all that studying. “My brain was so saturated with information it was hard to focus on anything.” November 21, 2015 was the day the bar results were published. Multiple news reports were released throughout September, October and November telling how across the nation the bar results were at an all time low. This caused some anxiety for Matt. Also, right before the announcement, on November 19th, Matt’s grandfather passed away. That coupled with the recent death of Carolyn’s sister Glenda, also added to the stress Matt was feeling anticipating the news. Matt, Jen, and his parents put the online results up on the TV so that they could all see the news at the same time. And the news was very good: Matt Reese passed the California Bar Exam on his first try!!! What does the immediate future hold for Matt? He will be transitioning in to a new position: Road’s Show Director. And he will be starting a law practice in estate planning, available to work with clients starting in May. Currently, Road’s office space is being transformed into a dual location — home for the show and also the home for a new law practice – to accommodate Matt’s new responsibilities. Please join the Road family in congratulating Matt Reese, Estate Planning Lawyer and Show Director for Road to California. ]]>
You know the Reese family holiday season is in full swing when Carolyn Reese makes her famous treats:
She makes lots of Double Almond Crunch
And lots of homemade peanut brittle.
You might think that managing a premiere quilt show that hosts over 39,000 attendees from around the world and features over 500 vendors is a challenge, try adding to that law school student!! That’s exactly what Road’s show manager, Matt Reese, has been doing the past four years.
Why did Matt want to pursue a law degree in addition to his Road duties? His undergraduate degree was in music performance. Knowing that one day he wanted to have a family, he knew that he needed a career. Gigging was fun, but it wouldn’t pay the bills and allow Matt to start his life the way he had imagined. Because he had always liked winning arguments, (so much that his family had joked that he would make a good lawyer), Matt decided to go for law school. It didn’t take long for Matt to discover that he really enjoyed the study of law.
Matt started law school at the University of La Verne, in the fall of 2011, going part-time in the evening. He chose that school because it was close to home and offered him a great scholarship. His favorite classes have involved property and business organizations. Biz Orgs was taught by a professor who specialized in fortune 500 mergers and acquisitions. Matt learned all about the inside world of large corporations and how to take a corporation public.
He did not like Constitutional law. Matt thought it was too dry and based on the decisions of nine people who may or may not see the law as black and white or grey or blue or who knows what. (For those who disagree and enjoy con law, Matt recommends they read Wickard v. Filburn and then explain to him why a farmer can’t grow a little extra wheat on his farm to feed his family).
During Road 2015, while Matt was finishing up his law school courses, he was leading a double life. He would work at Road from 6 am to 6 pm and then go to class from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Thanks to his family and especially wife, he was able to balance both of these demanding responsibilities.
He is currently undertaking a ten week, seven days a week, twelve hours a day comprehensive test prep program at La Verne. It covers the thirteen subjects that will be tested on the California Bar Exam over three days at the end of July. Matt’s wife Jennifer points put that Matt is totally consumed right now with his test preparation and is devoting his full attention to this endeavor.
But Roadies need not fear: Matt assures us that he worked very hard before he began studying for the bar to make sure Road would run smoothly this summer. Currently, the Road office staff is finalizing the Road 2016 class schedule so that registration can open the beginning of July.
We wish Matt the best of luck on the bar exam and look forward to his return to his Road duties in August.]]>
Christmas time with Carolyn Reese is very predictable.
She spends hours carefully setting up her extensive Byers Choice Carolers
She makes lots of Double Almond Crunch
And lots of homemade peanut brittle.
And best of all, she spends lots of time with her family
Merry Christmas 2014 to Roadies near and far
With Love from Carolyn and the entire Road to California Family]]>
Road to California is a family affair. Carolyn Reese, her three sons, and their families all contribute to the success of the show. Her grandson Matt Reese, is the show’s manager. As of November 1, 2014, the Reese family added another member to their dynamic Road family team.
Darrell is Carolyn’s youngest son. He married Jill Anderson in a small, intimate setting surrounded by family—exactly how they wanted. It had rained the night before in Southern California and Saturday morning had scattered showers and clouds. The rain stopped about an hour and a half before the ceremony providing a beautiful, sunny backdrop to their backyard wedding. It stayed that way for another hour and a half before the clouds began to gather again. Said proud mother of the groom, Carolyn, “It was a quiet, sweet affair.”
Darrell and Jill have been dating the past 2-1/2 years but they actually first knew each other in high school. Jill lived next door to the Reese family where she and Darrell had a “friendly” neighborly relationship but nothing more. It took several decades and Facebook for the two to meet up again.
You can meet Jill at Road to California 2015-20th Anniversary Show in the Road booth.
Congratulations Darrell and Jill.]]>