Hat Stores-a list

Discussion in 'Hats' started by handlebar bart, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. MattJH

    MattJH One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,388
    My very first hat ever was the Jaxon "Rocky." It was labeled a 7 5/8 but fit more like a 7 3/8 so I had to return it, but I distinctly remember conducting all of this over the phone with a really nice woman from Village Hat Shop. I wonder if she is one and the same.
     
  2. Colby Jack

    Colby Jack Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,218
    Location:
    North Florida
    What about Aaron's?...or the Fedora Store?...or Peters Brothers...or Millers....or even David Morgan? So many were overlooked....
     
  3. spiridon

    spiridon A-List Customer

    Messages:
    396
    Location:
    Gulf Coast (AL)
    I can vouch for "Meyer the Hatter" in New Orleans. Several of my first "quality" lids came from their store....a very nice hat shop IMO.
     
  4. RedPop4

    RedPop4 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,353
    Location:
    Metropolitan New Orleans
    I've only been in Meyer the Hatter once or twice.
    But I've called in the last couple years. They sell all manner of hats, but they don't have a hatter. They told me every time I called that he'd retired before Katrina.
     
  5. Hollywood Hatters

    ********
    I was there with MD and it was an interesting experience. We came in and (Sal?) was assisting a young man dressed in white long sleeve dress shirt and dark dress pants and a yarmuke, one of the local guys from the large Jewish neighborhood that is in the area. They were looking at a large fedora style hat in black that is the type that certain of orthodox guys wear, I am guessing a Borsalino, maybe. Sal did shape it with the steamer and the young man tried it on, looked pretty good to but Sal gave it the look over with the measured eye and said: "you do have a bit of a long oval shape so let me adjust it for you." Now Sal I guess is a real hands on guy, takes the hat and grabs the inside of the front at the sweat and with the other hand the inside sweat at the back and gives it a slow and mighty PULLLLLLL! Then he stopped reshaped the hat and had the customer try it on again. I was kind of astounded not expecting this type of adjustment and actually was expecting to hear the stitching pop on the sweat. Whoah Nelly that was kinda wild! I was figuring he was gonna use a professional version of a hat jack. Not hardly!


    I chatted with the sales girl and i asked if they carried any hat jacks, she did not know wat they were so I held up one of the professional hatters ones that was next to the counter and she said no that she did not think that any of their distributors carried any so they probably wouldn't be able to get one either. She asked what are they for and I said well sometimes a hat may shrink a little when it is not worn and she declared that hats do not shrink but they get bigger on your head when warm. I thanked her for that insight and proceeded to walk around the small shop. I was looking at the jumble of stuff. Tons of woolies, stingy brims and a wide variety of caps but, the place needed a bit of dusting and cleaning coming out of the recent Holiday Season. It was a bit cramped for space as it's not a big shop at all and could have used some better lighting and displays.

    Later we made it over to the Hats Mart in Pasadena and it was a better experience as to clean organised better display and better lighting so see the wider variety of product. The shop is bigger too. The owner is Chinese and sometimes a little hard to understand but usually you can speak with him and get a better understanding if you ask questions.
     
  6. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    It was a very eye opening trip John... I had fun, and thanks for driving.

    I think the odd part was when the shop keep at the Hollywood Hatters reached into the hat gripping the sweatband front to back with both hands, and in front of his customer, proceeded to do, what looked like, trying to rip the hat apart 'to make it a long oval'.

    Also as you said, the gal in the shop telling you hats don't shrink... I don't know what to say.

    I've been to the Village Hatshop in Long Beach. Much more variety, much bigger shop, much more organized and much more knowledge to the staff. I'd love to have one in Hollywood, maybe I'd buy more modern hats if I had a shop I could stop by once in a while just to check out what's on the market from the current off the rack companies. As for Hollywood Hatters... it's a trendy shop with a few fur felts in the back for the religious community. As I said above, It belongs not on a top 10 hatshop list.

    I did like the cleansing of the palette when we went to Hat's Mart in Pasadena. The owner is the same guy that's been there since the first time I went 13 years ago. High end and low end hats, a great selection from Hatco's brands and more, fedoras homburgs a few cowboy hats and caps. Much more accessible if you are looking to spend time and shop around. The owner has a heavy accent, though if you just talk to him he has all the time in the world to help you look at the hats. No special chambers or cases to prevent you from touching the hats, just look at the hats and take your time. I got to check out the Stetson Pinnacle up close again and some of their modern roll up models... The all beaver Stetson is a nice smooth felt, I'm thinking about getting one just to put it through the paces to see what it can take. Smooth felts don't mean durable hats and I'm curious to see how well their best felt holds up nowadays.

    I find Hats Mart and The Village Hatshop as much more convenient and fun when compared to Baron hats or Hollywood Hatters.
     
  7. On Baron's

    Baron Hats has a really different vibe to it, and I think it is like going to the shoemakers at the shoe repair shop. A good shoe repair place tends to be a little shabby in front because the real work is in back and that's where their concentration is focused. Baron's has that same feel. The front is cleaned rarely and the only change is to display the new movie hat they are doing.

    From conversations and posts here it seems that their work can range from quite good to acceptable with a few this is not what I ordered incidents now and again. For me they did a really fine job on my dad's Borsalino but it took a couple of trips in because it took them a bit longer than initially stated. I had some work done on another hat to be used as a gift and that was more frustrating because the guy that wrote up the instruction as to what I wanted did not put them with the hat and then left the business. So they did not know what they heck I asked for. When I came in to pick it up, waiting an extra week to give them more time, I find they cut the brim as requested but did not replace the ribbon, so i was almost back to square one. I straightened them out and they did what I wanted but it was again at least one extra trip to get it right.

    So for me there always seems to be a hitch in the plans with Baron but the work has been good. Others have not been so fortunate, and there is a feel that sometimes they don't do it the way they should but take what could be termed as "Costumers Shortcuts." I just have a feeling they are capable of better work and really need a manager to keep them organized with better systems and watching the quality of the work to keep up the standards.

    So that is the frustration when the local place could be so much better then it is with just a few changes to the system, the consistancy of the work and organization.

    Best wishes to them to get to that better situation.
     
  8. portolan

    portolan A-List Customer

    Messages:
    401
    Location:
    South Florida and Chihuahua
    Village Hat Shop and Bencraft

    I have stopped in at the Village Hat Shop in Hillcrest (San Diego) three times. Had very negative experiences all three times. They were very busy on the computers with what appeared to be internet sales. No interest in helping me with hats that were behind the counter or out of sight. I stay five minutes from there three weeks a month, doubt if I will go back.

    Also, is Bencraft closed for some kind of holiday? I have emailed three times to the email on their website since Christmas asking specific questions regarding the Como II and have never had a reply. Seems strange. I guess I just need to pick up the phone and call.

    A good friend of mine lives right across the street from a hat shop in San Leandro, CA. He says the owner is a character and opens and closes whenever he wants....no set hours. I look forward to stopping by there some time. Maybe my buddy can walk across the street to make sure it is open.
     
  9. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,921
    Location:
    Corsicana, TX
    Good luck, I have left questions on the Bencraft website and never received a reply on more than one occasion. I have called them and been told to call back as the person in the know is not there. I have left a pm and received no reply.
    They may be a fine and successful company but they do not need my patronage.
     
  10. Lefty

    Lefty I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,640
    Location:
    O-HI-O
    I haven't dealt with Bencraft, but all of this seems very surprising to me.
     
  11. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,921
    Location:
    Corsicana, TX
    [huh] It was surprising to me as well. Nevertheless, it's true.
     
  12. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,907
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Gee, now I don't feel so odd that Besdor hasn't responded to a PM that I sent him about 10 days ago!
     
  13. He is a character as long as you like nurse ratchet. :eusa_doh: They follow you around like you are going to steal something and make you wear a plastic thingy on your head when you try on a hat---if they let you try on a hat. Its a pretty strange environment. They definitely do not need my business. If you come out here and need a more relaxed environment, go out to Hat Guys in Oakland. They'll talk to you and let you try on anything in the store. :D
     
  14. jac

    jac Familiar Face

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Pluto
    John Helmer

    Portland, Oregon.
    Great hats, silk scarves, all manner of accessories.
     
  15. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Messages:
    13,719
    Location:
    USA
    No hat for you!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Bad things happen.

    ***************
    That's striking because it seems like a lot of people have had a positive encounters, and yet they have managed to do the opposite on three different occasions! You must have had some really bad timing.

    I have had bad luck just trying to visit the clothing store "My Baby Jo" on National in LA. With LA driving it can border on an ordeal to get from Covina to their place. THe first time I checked their website and got the times they were open, drove out there only to find they were closed with the staff at some show in Vegas I think. No mention of it on the website. The second time I checked and called, then the next day took my cousins from Denmark there as part of a shopping LA tour. We get there a few minutes before they open. the staff person shows up late and then it turns out he forgot the keys and could not open the store. The owner was some 30 to 40 minutes away and we just weren't willing to wait that long. So two strikes so far, and i 'm a little gun shy at making it 3.
     
  17. Make that guy about 50 years older and you have the owner of Tophatters:eusa_doh: :rolleyes:
     
  18. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    up north
    Hi Carter,
    I apologize that you could not get through. The last two months were crazy for us with mail order and internet sales. Sometimes I am the only one who can answer questions because everyone else is taking orders or helping customers who come into the store. We arent just mail order. We have two brick and mortor stores for 60 years. Sometime I get calls from customers who can keep me on the phone for 30 minutes. They end up buying a cap!
    If anyone has a question on the lounge , please PM me or email me at sales@bencrafthats.com .



    Steven
    Bencraft Hats:eek:
     
  19. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,921
    Location:
    Corsicana, TX
    Steven, Email sent. Thanks, Carter
     
  20. Joedahat

    Joedahat New in Town

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Waterford, MI
    Best Hat Store?

    I'm sure that each retailer that sees this thread would like to see their name on this list.
    Each has a distinct customer base and would easily consider their store to be the best.
    For our stores, with only the 3rd owner in 116 years, consistincy in Customer Service is key to survival.
    Employees who are knowledgable and attentive to the needs of the customer are vital.
    We are not trying to sell the customer a hat, but are trying to make friends,
    who give us money for our opinion of what hat style looks good on them.

    Joe Renkiewicz
    Henry The Hatter
    Detroit
     

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