Family owned and operated since 1917, Paris Hatters is world famous for their expertise in providing quality custom-fitted and custom-shaped hats. The tremendous variety, along with their cleaning and blocking services, keeps Paris Hatters high on the list of any hat connoisseur.
The décor at Paris Hatters hasn’t changed much through all the years. The cash register, used in the 1930’s, requires hand cranking to open and is used faithfully each day. The old wooden hat blocks are antiques, and the steaming equipment chugs huge clouds of steam over the backshop and the old buffalo and bison heads hanging on the walls. But, if you look closer, there is good reason why Paris Hatters was chosen by the Travel Channel to be featured in a segment about San Antonio.
Presidents, ranchers, celebrities, and tourists alike all leave happy with the custom shaped and fitted hat of their choice. From $20 to $7,000, the choices simultaneously baffle and delight customers. The client picks the quality, color and style, and the fit will be made perfect before they walk out of the door. Hats are fitted to match the customer’s height, shoulder width, weight and overall stature. The result is that the client looks like they’ve been wearing the hat for years. A specialty of Paris Hatters is the hand sculptured shape that they give to the hat, making it unique for each client’s taste. It is truly an art to crease and style a felt hat and bring out the personality of each one. Paris Hatters also offers a cleaning and blocking (shaping) restoration service for old felt hats, and does sweatband and ribbon replacement. They bring thousands of old hats to life each year, and mail hats throughout the world. Paris Hatters has had the unique honor of sending a hat to every country on Earth (except Cuba!)
Behind the endless rows of cowboy hats, fedoras, derbys and caps, are photographs that tell the real story of Paris Hatters' success. Clippings from Southern Living, Texas Highways, the New York Times, and other publications grace the walls. They are a favorite spot of Frommers, the international travel book. In one photo, Dwight Yoakam is getting fitted for his trademark “bullrider” shaped hat. In another Pope John Paul II is opening a wooden box with his new hand-fitted Stetson hat from Paris Hatters. There are also shots of various celebrities wearing Paris-styled hats such as singer Sammy Davis Jr., and actor Tommy Lee Jones, who wore one particular style for the tele-series "Lonesome Dove." Matt Damon’s hat for "All The Pretty Horses" was also a special assignment from Paris Hatters. Other celebs favor non-western hats, such as fedoras purchased by Luciano Pavarotti, Eric Clapton, Kid Rock and Phil Jackson, to name a few.
Located right around the corner from the Alamo, Paris Hatters is at Broadway and Houston streets, and is the oldest surviving retail business in downtown San Antonio, selling more than 9,000 hats per year. “Abe the Hatter,” as he is known, and his wife Myrna, are third-generation owners of Paris Hatters. They believe in being hands-on at the store, personally operating it seven days a week. Says Abe, “I think people like to deal with the owners. If they’re willing to pay for a good hat, they want the best service. What tops our list of compliments is when someone says they want the Paris Hatters name inside the hat, just like their granddaddy’s had.” Besides, Abe doesn’t want to miss out on meeting anyone famous. Many years ago, a young man walked into the store and dropped his name, but Abe didn’t recognize him. After being fitted and as he walked out of the store, he said, “Garth Brooks, remember that name.”
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