Now for some brighter news, Paul’s Hat Works in San Fransisco is under new management.  From The Chronicle:

She began a long conversation with Michael Harris, the owner, manager and entire staff of Paul’s Hat Works. Harris showed her his vast – and unsold – inventory of Panama hats, felt hats, top hats, antique hat boxes, and a backroom full of ancient machinery for blocking, steaming and molding hats. The place looked like a museum and smelled as musty as a tomb. The business was on its last legs; Harris was looking for a buyer.

Griffin, who radiates a combination of perkiness and steely resolution, immediately determined to buy the old place and turn it into a success. She enlisted three friends – Abbie Dwelle, 23, described as “a building and organizational visionary,” Wendy Hawkins, 25, co-owner of a food cooperative, and Kirsten Hove, 29, a hat designer.

The four spent months negotiating with Harris, weeks more learning some of the hat tricks of the trade, and by the end of summer closed the deal, cleaned up the shop a bit and had a grand reopening party this month.

I hope the new owners do well and I plan on stopping in next time I’m down in the area (I wonder if they would sell me an unblocked panama hat, if they have any).

Photo by Stephen Lam.

Also be sure to check out their blog, where they’ve documented the store’s transformation.  This vintage head measuring device is also noteworthy: