to a hattery!
BY Katherine Wyrick
Photography brian chilson
When you think Gangster Museum, you might not think hattery, but Robert Raines, director of The Gangster Museum in Hot Springs, is out to change all that. Now settled into its new location at 510 Central Ave., the museum and its gift shop, which Raines also refers to as The Hattery, boasts an impressive selection of hats. And they're selling like gangbusters. "We sold 15 on Friday," he enthuses. Raines attributes this selling streak, in part, to shows like "Boardwalk Empire," the HBO drama set in 1920s Atlantic City. He stresses that these are "not tourist hats," meaning baseball caps and the like, but high-quality chapeaux.
Their offerings are for both guys and dolls and include the ever-popular fedora, wide-brimmed hats, Ivys, Sinatras and Panamas. The Ivy, the brimless, snap-billed variety that Brad Pitt favors, and the Sinatra, which is worn kicked back on the head, Rat Pack style, are favorites.
Before they started selling hats, Raines says that the closest hattery was Meyer the Hatter in New Orleans. Before placing their first order, Raines consulted Meyer. "He knew what the trends were and the vendors to contact, like Bailey's of Hollywood. We were leaning towards a gangster style anyway ... and it was just a right place, right time kind of thing," says Raines. Asked if he's a hat-wearer himself, Raines exclaims, "I got one of everything!"