‘Shop Hop’ brings 1,000 quilt fans to town

A group of five women from Tulsa, Okla., lit up Kessler’s Kreations Friday with their humor and laughter. The women wore pink T-shirts with a logo that said, ‘We Bee Hoppin’. After leaving Hillsboro, the group headed for Newton.More than 1,000 quilters were in Hillsboro from Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. Participants also visited eight other shops in the area.

According to Marie Kess­ler, owner of Kessler’s Krea­tions, this is the 18th year the Central Kansas Quilt Shop Hop has taken place, but the first year an additional day was added.

“I started in the 15th year,” Kessler said. “I had to be open with fabric for four years.”

The grand prize is to get both passports stamped, each worth $500 per shopping spree.

Participants who don’t get both stamped, do a portion in each store. Then, if they don’t compete a portion, the benefit is to the shop owners, one shopper said.

Each of the nine shops had a block kit for quilters to use for $6 per kit, and they picked one up at each shop. As they traveled on, quilters could decide which quilt, if any, they liked better, and could pick someone else’s, Kessler said.

“Nobody is benefiting from anything special, and we are having to gauge how many are here,” she said. “When the event is completed on Sunday, we will draw at the end and either mail out door prizes, have them come to the store, we will meet them or we will mail it.”

Even though the Shopper Hopper event is for quilters, it’s still an economic boost to Hillsboro, according to Kessler.

“People will ask for a place to eat, and then someone will direct them to a gas station, and on the way to Severy, they will have driving, shopping and fun,” she said.

“Some planned to get home every night, but then hit two shops the next day, the price of gas is not a factor, but a lot of people think it will be a long winter.” she said.

What many quilt shops planned was to make sure new fabrics were in the store and made sure they had enough in stock.

Kessler named one of the original stores of the Central Kansas Quilt Shop Hop as Charlottes Sew Natural in Newton. Depending on the year, people will come from all over Kansas, many neighboring states and even California.

“Connie (Selzer) and I used to take off one day and have a ball,” Kessler said.

Kessler said the closing of Little Pleasures and Nancy’s Fashions had an impact on the event.

“It’s not their fault,” Kessler said. “But people would walk over to Nancy’s, then here, and then to Little Pleasures.”

One group that was excited about Hillsboro showed their enthusiasm on their logo with “We Bee Hoppin’, setting off the logo on a bright pink T-shirt.

As the group was leaving the store arm in arm, they all said, “We love Marie.”

Known as “Almost Squares,” the Tulsa, Okla., group had five guests: Cindy Kenning, Pam George, Kathy Reed, Penny Krout, Rita Penington.

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