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Meet the Reps: Jon, Cheryl, and Brian

Meet the Reps: Jon, Cheryl, and Brian

Written by: 
Linzee McCray

Today you’ll meet three long-time reps and hear their stories about teaching the next generation to sew, bicycling with canines, and a career inspired by a beloved Scottie dog quilt. Read on!

First up is Cheryl Cantoya. Below you can see her in action, showing the latest fabrics to Deb Roberts at Quilt Market.

Cheryl lives in eastern Nebraska and has been a Moda rep for 13 years. Because she’s on the road so often, she’s grateful to live in a home with year-round maintenance—no cutting grass in the summer or snowing in the winter for Cheryl! And no need to own a lawn mower! Her customers are spread across large distances in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Misouri and she typically visits two shops per day. A native Texan, Cheryl says her travels have taught her a lot about her adopted state and that she has been to more places in Nebraska than most people who were born and raised there. Read on to learn more about Cheryl.

How do you pass your drive time?

Cheryl:When driving for long stretches I usually listen to talk radio. If I need a change, I reach for one of my George Strait CDs and then I am good to go for a long while. Growing up in Texas, George’s music brings me back to my happy place. 

What do you do for fun when you’re not on the road?

Cheryl: I love spending time with my sons and their families. (Below is proud mama Cheryl with her eldest son in San Antonio.)

I have three beautiful grandkids that I love spending time with. My youngest son and his family live only a few blocks away so I see them often. (That's them, below.)

Every Sunday, we have lunch together and then my two granddaughters come to my house to spend the afternoon with me. We have lots of fun playing games and doing all sorts of crafts. Last year I started teaching my 12-year-old granddaughter how to sew and quilt. In less than a year she has completed four quilts! She also traveled with me for a week on the road during the summer. One day we were visiting one of my customers and the owner asked me if we had dressed alike on purpose.

We looked at each other and laughed because we both had black-and-white striped tops that looked almost identical. We had fun traveling that week and she was ready to take over my job!

Another thing I enjoy is cheering on my favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.

I learned at a young age all about football, cheering every Sunday with my dad. When I started traveling for work with Moda, my dad and I would spend hours on the phone as I drove, discussing the most recent game. I try and see the Cowboys play in AT&T stadium as often as I can. Go Cowboys!

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Cheryl: Working for Moda is an honor and a blessing. I really feel like we are a family. Each time we get together as a team for Quilt Market, it’s like a family reunion. (That's Cheryl dressed for a Moda party, below.) I look forward to seeing everyone and catching up with them all.

We work very hard to put out the best product we can for customers. Moda has always been a strong leader in the industry providing education, innovation, and the best quality fabrics. I am so grateful to be a part of that. I also love working with all my shop owners, getting to know them and seeing how hard they work to spreadk the joy of quilting to their customers. It is so much fun to work with them and help them in any way I can. It is a blessing to travel and see all the friends I have made, each and every day. 

Next, meet Jon Taylor.

Jon has been with Moda for more than 14 years, and in the quilting industry since 1986. His territory includes parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. 

What do you enjoy about being a rep for Moda? 

Jon: Moda is a true family business and every market sales meeting is like a family reunion, in a way. My customers also are like family—a sales call becomes a good interactive visit.

Tell us about an especially memorable event that happened to you on the road. 

Jon: Recently there was a lot of flooding in my territory and one morning, when I was working outside of Tulsa, it started raining during my sales call. When I finished, the shop parking area was under water all the way to the shop porch. I had to take off my shoes and socks, roll up my pants and wade with my samples to my car.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of a Moda rep. 

Jon: I average 50,000 miles a year working my accounts. It is always a good time. It’s so nice to see countryside between calls, and not having to go to the same place every day is a plus, for sure. I stay at the same hotels when I can and always bring my own pillow and some kind of air freshener. I listen to podcasts, Audible books, and sing-along music. I have family in Oklahoma City and I try to stay overnight with them. 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do? 

Jon: The customers I work with are so creative and want to share their love of quilting and sewing. Most Moda fabrics end up in a gift or heirloom that lives on through families or people—like memories in cloth, which I think is awesome. My customers have become YouTube and Facebook celebrities, sharing and teaching far beyond their town and adding new makers to the industry all over.

What do you do for fun when you're not on the road? 

Jon: My wife, our two dogs, and I like to camp in comfort by using our travel trailer. Right now, the trailer is decorated in Santa Fe Wovens. We love camping in Colorado to escape the heat. We both have recumbent folding trikes that we ride with the dogs. It is quite the small convoy on the bike trail.

Finally, meet Brian Wheeler.

A Moda rep for 13 years, Brian visits shops in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri. Over the last 12 months he’s logged 98 nights on the road and driven more than 50,000 miles (50,365 to be exact).  

What do you enjoy about being a Moda rep?

Brian: What I like about being a Moda rep, is the great customers that I see daily. They are great people, it is a pleasure to work with them. Moda has some of the best designers and collections in the industry. Moda has some of the best and nicest  people I have met and I feel blessed to be a part of the Moda organization. Mark Dunn is a fantastic leader and makes me feel appreciated. The Moda reps and office people are like family.

It feels like a family reunion when we go to Quilt Market...sooo much fun! 

Tell us about a memorable day on the road.

Brian: I was going to an appointment in Iowa, driving through a rural area, when I came to a bridge under construction and a truck pulling a trailer wrecked on the bridge. The driver was unhurt but the bridge was impassable and was going to be so for some time. I was going to be late for my next appointment, so I turned around and found a country road to go around. However, there was a sign that said "Not maintained by the county" and "Enter at your own risk". The road was terrible, with deep ruts, but my Toyota Highlander made it through and I was able to make it to my appointment. 

Tell us about a typical day.

Brian: A typical day consist of hitting the road about 8 a.m, sometimes earlier. Crossing two time zones in my territory can be challenging. I try to eat a good breakfast, but usually I skip lunch. In the evenings, I eat dinner, then go back to the hotel to catch up. If is not too late,  I sometimes try to call my kids and grandkids. 

How do you pass the time on the road?

Brian: While I am driving I like to listen to music and books on CD. Some of my favorites are books about history or the military.  George Washington and General Patton are a couple of my favorite subjects. 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do? 

Brian: I have experience and knowledge in visual merchandising, marketing, purchasing, and operations. I operated a store and was a buyer for Cloth World fabrics during my 17 years with Cloth World. I was Purchasing Director for Herr's Pacific Distributor for 10 years. Having this experience has been very helpful in helping stores. The most enjoyable moments are when a customer benefits from some advice or knowledge that I have shared. It is a great feeling to see stores be successful. 

What do you do for fun when you’re not on the road?

Brian: I like to spend time with family and friends.

Since I have moved to Indiana, I meet with my classmates for dinner once a month. It has been fun and great to catch up. 

I did a mystery dinner once with friends and it was a blast. 

I like to go to car shows. I have a classmate that organizes car shows in Indiana. I like to drive my 2008 Mustang. 

I like go to outdoor concerts in the summer. 

You could probably sell a lot of things—why have you chosen fabric?

Brian: My grandmother made me a Scottie dog quilt when I was a young boy and I still have that quilt today.

I have appreciated quilts since I was a very young boy. I worked with Cloth World, a fabric retail chain and was a buyer of crafts and quilting fabrics. I have always loved quilts and quilting fabrics. 

Isn't it just great learning about Moda's reps? Everyone's got such an interesting story! If you missed the earlier posts, you can find them here, here, and here. And there will be more in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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