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Bradley Hilltopics

Winter 2007 • Volume 13, Issue 1

Weaving in art

Susan Snyder SumichrastCelebrities like Bob Uecker, former baseball player, now sportscaster, comedian, and actor; people like the Schlitz family of Schlitz Brewing Co. (photo of their estate’s living room shown above); representatives of luxury resorts; and others turn to Susan Snyder Sumichrast ’68 when they want custom floor coverings. The owner of Carol Snyder & Associates in Milwaukee, Sumichrast says, “About 80 percent of our work comes from the residential market in the Wisconsin area and 20 percent is commercial projects. We recently finished flooring for the American Club, the only five-diamond club in the Midwest. They have a beautiful entrance, and we came up with ideas for custom carpet and handmade rugs with rich colors and a tribal feeling. I recently worked in a contemporary house with lots of art. They wanted art on the stairway and foyer. They had floating stairs, so the design had to be created to ‘read’ as you walked up the stairs and also when you were looking up under the stairs.”

Carpet imageAfter graduating from Bradley with a degree in fine art, Sumichrast attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago and began a career in advertising. Her parents died young, and in 1988, she found herself trying to “finish up” the last orders her mother had begun at Carol Snyder & Associates. Sumichrast says, “I simply told people I did not know what I was doing, but would do my best to complete orders.” She soon realized this was her dream job because it weaves together her background in art and her interest in business. “I don’t want to be the artist; I enjoy the “big picture” aspect of working with the customer, the designer, and the carpet mill to create an ideal floor covering.”

Sumichrast works with 50 designers and 12 architectural firms. Her job involves travel to meet with designers, as well as executives at some of the finest carpet mills in the world. Depending on the design, Sumichrast works with mills in Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, China, as well as U.S. mills in Maine, Michigan, and California.

Sumichrast now works Monday through Thursday by appointment only. “We start with designs and ideas, and we talk about pricing. It helps to have the customer in the showroom with the designer so they can negotiate the look for the right price and move forward. Sumichrast says she enjoys the creative outlet most. “I love coming up with ideas for people.”
She concludes, “I have a dream job. I work four days a week, bring my dog to work, and wear whatever I want. The pay is wonderful, and I get to be creative. Each project is new and different, and I love that.”