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Bleecker Street Hat Maker Gives Nod to the Past

By Andrea Swalec | October 4, 2011 8:22pm
Goorin Bros. president Ben Goorin is a fourth-generation hatmaker.
Goorin Bros. president Ben Goorin is a fourth-generation hatmaker.
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Goorin Bros.

MANHATTAN — Fourth-generation hatmaker Ben Goorin believes a wistfulness for easier times explains the recent increase in the popularity of hats. 

"Everybody is looking at the past, when things were simpler," Goorin said Tuesday. "People are nostalgic for classic dress. They like to look dapper now." 

Goorin Bros., a hat company founded by Goorin's great-great-grandfather, will open a store on Bleecker Street on Wednesday. The shop was the company's first in Manhattan and 20th nationally, said Goorin, 32, who is described in a statement as "an evangelist for the transformational power of hats."

As a child, Goorin was a model for his family's hat catalogues. He took over the business in 1991 after poring through family archives and also noticing the hats his peers wore. 

"I saw all these kids starting to wear knit hats and truckers and I thought, 'I can do it better'," he said. 

The group, which sells hats for men and women, says West Village residents and shoppers have the swagger that fine headwear demands.

"There are plenty of confident people walking around the West Village," Goorin said. "We pick locations where there are people willing to stand out a bit, and that's definitely true there."

The 420-square-foot space at 337 Bleecker St. was previously home to the newsstand Electra News, according to The Villager

Goorin Bros. will be open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

The shop will throw a grand opening party there in a month or so, a spokeswoman said. 

Though the San Francisco-based company draws inspiration from the past, it's not stuck in historical formality, Goorin said. 

"We're making hats for every day, that you can wear with jeans and a t-shirt," he said.