A staple in local, regional, national, and international communities, Greeley Hat Works provides the best quality and customer service when it comes to hat making. Since 1909, Greeley Hat Works has forged a rich history through its fine hatting and commitment to its customers. A staple in local, regional, national, and international communities, Greeley Hat Works provides not only a service but an outlet of personal expression for anyone interested in wearing a hat.
As history changes, so does Greeley Hat Works. Originally named The Shining Parlor, the hat shop serviced hats. When the business grew to include several locations, The Shining Parlor become Greeley Hat Shop and continued to grow until the 1970s when clientele and interest in fine hats began to change. (Thanks, JFK.) When current owner Trent Johnson took over ownership in the 1990s, the name changed again to Greeley Hat Works and the business took great leaps in growth.
From the day that Trent bought Greeley Hat Works to this day, his work and the name of the shop have only become more prolific and well-known. Over the years that Trent has owned the company, he made it his mission to provide excellent hats for the everyman. In addition to local ranchers, cowboys, and their families, Trent has made hats for people all over the world. In 2002, Trent had the great opportunity and privilege to make a hat for President George W. Bush and presented it to him at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
Some Things Change, and Some Things Don’t
There are very few things that have changed about Greeley Hat Works since 1909, other than owners. The same tools, what Trent calls “retro-tech,” are still used in the shop today, including the most important tool: the conformateur, a head-measuring machine patented in 1843 by a Parisian-based hat maker Allie Maillard. This device is where it all starts at Greeley Hat Works, then and today.
You can find Greeley Hat Works in publications like Esquire, Cowboys and Indians, 360 West, American Cowboy, and many more. You will also be able to spot Greeley Hat Works custom hats on television sets like Yellowstone and in movies like Wind River.
Greeley Hat Works: A Timeline
1909 – Originally called The Shining Parlor, the company was founded by two Greek brothers in Greeley, Colorado.
1920 – George Brown bought the company and moved it to a permanent location on 8th Avenue. Shortly after purchasing, he brought in the Martinez brothers as business partners.
1928 – The shop was remodeled and renamed to Greeley Hat Shop & Shining Parlor. Simultaneously, the company expanded into Fort Collins.
1935 – Brown sold his portion of the company to the Martinez brothers. The company began selling its custom-built hats at local clothing stores in addition to the shop.
1960 – The Martinez family changed its name to Martin. Subsequently, Abel Martin passed away and Ben Martin took sole ownership and shortened the name to Greeley Hat Shop.
1970 – The hat industry started to change as did the company’s clientele. The hat styles went from fashion-inspired to everyday functioning.
1980 – The shop was relocated to 1208 9th Street as downtown Greeley starting to burgeon. Shortly after, Martin sold the shop to Norman Peterson who restructured the company as a hat cleaning and shaping company.
1983 – Jim Walsh purchased the shop from Peterson, moved the shop to 11th Avenue, and started incorporating western clothing.
1985 – Susie Orr purchased the shop from Walsh and learned hatmaking from Ben Martin. She revitalized the original structure of the business and Greeley Hat Shop started creating and designing custom hats once again. She closed the storefront and moved hatmaking to her family ranch.
1993 – Trent Johnson started as an apprentice for Orr. Two years later, Johnson convinced her to reopen a shop in downtown Greeley at 826 9th Street Plaza.
1996 – Johnson purchased the shop from Orr. He renamed it Greeley Hat Works with the intention to uphold the legacy of his predecessors.