Lancaster is actually a really big county. A lot of our articles talk about Lancaster city and all it has to offer, but I moved closer to my work which is in Denver, PA (Still part of Lancaster County). If you continue on 272 you will pass Stoudt’s Brewery (another article to come) and you will pass into the small town of Adamstown. Adamstown is home to one of the most prolific hat makers of all time. I never realized it but I moved to the hat making capitol of our region! The history behind the shops is amazing and I knew once I found out where it was that I had to go there for myself and snag the perfect summer hat. Enter Bollman Hat Company.
Don’t let looks fool you!
At first sight the Bollman Hat Company Factory Store looks a little dated. The store is in an all concrete building, but inside is an absolute gem. To the left of the store is the original building that was used to prepare the straw that helped make Bollman Hats. Once you enter the store there are 5-6 sections of hats to look through, which can be a daunting task to the less experienced hat enthusiast. While you may think it would be a good idea to know your hat size going into a place like this, quite honestly the hat sizes varied greatly between the different brands within the store which is what made my trip so awesome. I usually hate trying things on, but when you go to the store it forces you to REALLY look around and once you find a style you like, you have to try several on. The store had great natural lighting to show you what you get when you go outside! They had a plethora of mirrors in the store.
Founded in 1868 in Adamstown, PA George Bollman started what would become the most recognized hat company in our region.
Directly from the Bollman website:
Founded in 1868, Bollman Hat Company is America’s oldest hat maker. We are a world leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of men’s, women’s, and children’s headwear and accessories. Today, Bollman has 260 employees located on four continents and distributes products in seventy seven countries. This long and proud heritage carries on today as a testimony to the vision, perseverance, and hard work of generations who dedicated themselves to our organization.
The Bollman Group provides the world with the headwear industry’s top brands that include Bailey®, Betmar®, Country Gentleman®, Eddy Bros.®, Helen Kaminski®, Jacaru®, KANGOL®, and PANTROPIC® headwear. We also provide private label products to leading retailers and apparel brands globally.
Our employee-owners manufacture wool felt, fur felt, straw, and knit hats and caps from US and globally sourced materials in our factory in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, USA. We also source the finest hats and accessories from leading factories throughout the world. With world headquarters also in Adamstown, Bollman today maintains sales and design offices and showrooms in: Denver, Colorado; New York City; London, England; and Sydney, Australia. In San Angelo, Texas, we scour wool for the world’s finest woolen mills.
Bollman products can be found worldwide in specialty stores, department stores, major and regional chain stores, and prominent catalog and e-commerce retailers. In addition, we are a primary supplier of private label headwear to the world’s leading brands and retailers covering fashion, outdoor apparel, and uniform, formal wear, and sports markets. We have proudly provided headwear to the United States Olympic team for six Olympic games.
The history of Bollman Hat Company is long and distinguished. Our people are proud to cover the world with unparalleled products that provide protection, comfort and style to millions throughout the world. We continue to support many fine local and international causes including youth programs, world hunger, and skin cancer prevention.
Pride in ownership
There was only one person on staff when I went and she was super friendly and understanding that I was just starting my journey with hats. She and I talked about the history of the company and she helped me make sure that the hat I purchased was my correct size. While I was there at least 5 or 6 other people came into the store and she was able to help everyone out. If you are normally not comfortable with the retail experience, that won’t be an issue here.
The selection of hats available at the factory store was immense. It was truly enjoyable getting to look at all the styles. The had fedoras, felt caps, large brim hats, panama straw hats, just too many to name here. Most hats that they carried came in several colors and like I stated before you really had to check the sizes and while there were a few exceptions, most hats I found they had in all sizes.
If you want a piece of Lancaster history it will cost you. The good news is that because it is a factory store – the prices were usually half off or better. Prices range from $30 to well over $150 depending on the brand and style of the hat. I did over hear one of the other patrons ask if there was a sale going on, to which the store manager responded that prices at that time were as marked so there is a possibility they may run sales sometimes. They did have a clearance section right at the front of the store but the selection was highly limited.
That’s all from me today, if you are in need of a hat for this summer I highly recommend taking a trip over to Adamstown and looking at the Bollman Factory Store! Where have you seen Bollman hats for sale in Lancaster? What is your favorite style? Share in the comments below!