ELLIS — Colette Buchholz described it as “bittersweet.” Her quilting shop, Seams Like Olde Times, will close at the end of January.

The store opened nearly three years ago at 105 W. Ninth. While she will miss it, Buchholz said she is looking forward to retirement — which actually will give her more time to sew and quilt.

“I’m actually looking forward to retiring because I was so busy here with keeping inventory up and all of that, I didn’t have a chance to sew as much as I’d like to sew,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”

Buchholz and another Ellis resident, Vera Haver, will continue offering home-based quilting services using a long arm sewing machine purchased for the store. The services likely will continue under the same name and phone number, (785) 726-2489.

All inventory is being sold half-off through the end of the month, or until supplies run out. An in-house garage sale will be announced in February to sell any remaining inventory and store fixtures.

“We still have a fairly good variety,” she said of remaining merchandise. “It’s amazing, because we’ve just been swamped.”

The small business drew a faithful group of local customers, and Buchholz said they are taking news of the store’s closure hard.

“Everyone’s sad, really sad. They’re heartbroken,” she said. “A lot of people have said it’s like a death.”

That makes it difficult for Buchholz, but she said she still feels it’s the right step to take. She’s eager to work at a slower pace, allowing her to travel and spend more time with her six grandchildren.

The store often drew travelers from nearby Interstate 70, who might eat at local restaurants or visit one of Ellis’ museums during their stop, she said.

The hardest part will be not seeing her customers every day, as many have become friends, Buchholz said.

She said she especially “couldn’t have done it” without the help of two close friends, Haver and Jan North. The store had a spacious work area in the back room, and a group of sewers plans to continue gathering weekly in a different location to work on projects and socialize, she said.

“I will miss it. It’s been a big part of my life,” Buchholz said, noting the store was exactly what she needed to find new purpose following her husband’s death. “It just helped me get through those times. It gave me a purpose and got me out of bed.

“I really thank the community, because they supported me a lot and I really appreciated that.”