Custom Hats for Life: How Greeley Hat Works Came to Be

Some sobering statistics: according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), one in five small businesses (about 20%) fail in the first year. With such grizzly numbers, it’s a mystery why anyone would want to start a small business, let alone take one that’s struggling and turn it from hometown hero into Northern Colorado’s custom hats destination — and keep it running for over 100 years, bucking all trends. This is the story of Greeley Hat Works, makers of fine western hats in Colorado since 1909. Come shop with us today and explore some of Colorado’s heritage.

Over 100 Years in Business

When Greeley Hat Works began, it was a small hat shop located in the cattle town of Greeley, Colorado. That was 1909 — well over 110 years ago. That means that for over 110 years Greeley Hat Works has been churning out custom hats, western hats, lifestyle apparel, and so much more, raising the quality bar for custom hats and western wear with everything we do.

Building Steam (Buying business)

Back in 1996 our owner Trent Johnson of Greeley apprenticed under then-owner Susie Orr, who taught him the ins and outs of custom hats made with real, high-quality materials. After Johnson purchased Greeley Hat Work in 1996, he set out to leave his mark on the custom hats industry, transitioning from a “ghost building” (one that makes hats for other companies) to his own branded line of custom hats and western hats. For a while, business was good, until 1998, when the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) approached him about making 100 all-beaver felt hats for the association’s 100th birthday. Johnson gladly accepted.

From Good Friends to the White House

From that one deal, Johnson built strong business relationships that put Greeley Hat Works on the map, culminating in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a special hat for then-President George W. Bush, who was attending an NCBA meeting in Denver, making president Bush one of our earliest Remuda Ambassadors.

A Tip of the Hat: Life Lessons from Greeley’s Custom Hat Makers

A self-described “overnight success… 30 years in the making,” Greeley’s custom hat makers continue to make some of the best leather and western hats in the world. Our one piece of parting advice, from our owner and head hat-maker Trent Johnson, if you’re looking to shop for custom hats? “The right hat is the one where you feel comfortable and confident in it,” he says.

The story tells itself. We’re Greeley H

The story tells itself. We’re Greeley Hat Works, one of the oldest hat makers in the centennial state. If you’re looking for proven quality custom hats, western hats, or lifestyle apparel, shop with us online, or come visit us at our Greeley location!

Michael Koethe

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