Getting Stitched in Smith Center
Along U.S. Highway 36, it is pretty hard not to notice the giant Smith Center billboard advertising for the many businesses in the town. Looking at the sign, one might notice a quilt shop promoted, but not just any quilt shop; this shop is what dreams and heirlooms are made of.
Quilted Four Patch, Inc. was formed less than two years ago by four women, Karen Cole, Mary Ann Schemm, Sue Kirchhoff and Junelle Hills, with a dream and years of experience in the art of quilting between them. Their path to get to this point was as unique as a quilt itself.
“When you gut an old house you always hope you’re going to find diamonds and gold,” said Bobbi Miles, director of economic development in Smith Center Kansas. Yet, although they have never found such gemstones or precious metals while renovating their old Victorian style home in Smith Center, Bobbi and her husband Bruce have arguably found value of another kind.
Bobbi Miles is originally from Springfield, Ohio, and met her now husband Bruce, from Illinois, while they both pursued advanced degrees at the University of Colorado. Interestingly, the couple came to reside in North Central Kansas through their love for flying and a good old fashioned Kansas thunderstorm. Bruce and Bobbi were flying back to Colorado from St. Louis during the summer of 1999, when they encountered a storm front over northwest Kansas and were forced to find a place to land and wait out the storm. That place was Smith Center, Kansas. The couple spent the night in a local bed and breakfast, but soon found themselves taken by the community in which they had found temporary shelter from the storm and decided to purchase a home there for their retirement.