1998 South Bend Tribune article
"A Sweeping Romance"


Steve and Kathy Smitha 1998

Steve and Kathy Smitha, who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last year, are celebrating their 20th anniversary together in the chimney sweep business next month. The couple, who married soon after they graduated from Penn High School in Mishawaka, started Top Hat Chimney Sweeps when they read a Mother Earth News article on the art after Steve had finished his four years of military service. They moved to Plymouth about 18 years ago and have one son, Zebediah, who is a junior in high school.

After two decades in business--Steve does the sweeping, Kathy does the office work--they're puzzled when people consider their partnership odd. "A marriage and a business are basically the same," he explains. "You've got to work for both of them. If anything, the business helps us keep together because it's a common interest and we have common goals for the business to succeed."

Although Steve's military training was in medical technology and the couple had not planned to start their own business, they say the move seemed natural. "We were awfully young at that time, and we didn't have any clear-cut goals for the future except for being together," he says. "We got married young and grew up together," Kathy says.