Texas Hatters and Cabela's

An alert BrandingBlog reader told me about a feature on NPR affiliate KUT last week. The Austin station interviewed the owners of Texas Hatters, a famous custom-hat company located just across the interstate from Cabela’s future Buda site. While the story rambled on for a couple of minutes about the history of the little hat-maker and the famous heads their product adorns, it eventually turned into a whine-fest about roads getting widened and how they’ll have to build a new store at the back of their lot to make room for all the Cabela’s traffic. (and at their own expense!)

HELLO?! How is this an insurmountable problem? You will soon have destination traffic beyond your wildest dreams and you’re complaining to NPR?

Of course, the reporter took the first shot by calling Cabela’s a "symbol of mass production". That’s a new one.

Listen for yourself if you want.

KUT: Texas Hatters (2004-08-23)

7 thoughts on “Texas Hatters and Cabela's

  1. Joella Gammage Torres

    If you had ever owned a small, very small, business that had been threatened in any way by progress, you would not accuse me of whining about Cabelas. No one asked me, because I am not in Buda’s city limits, yet, though I now know they plan to as soon as the revenues for this area go up. You would also recognize what a feat it was to stay in business as the third generation in the first place. Ten years after the passing of my father, the Manny Gammage of our business’ incorporated name, we are managing to hold on. It has not been easy, especially considering that I am a female leading a business that is dominated by males. Oh, and we aren’t just some famous hat shop, we custom make by hand and we are one of only a handfull of hatters that still make them the way that my grandfather learned back in the 1920’s. The thing that has made us famous is our quality workmanship and the long list of satisfied clientel, some of whom are much more famous than us. We have lost a great deal of money during the demolition and reconstruction of the 220 overpass, but we are still here, even after silt and three inches of rainwater filled our front room fron the piles of dirt on our front lawn left by TxDot. We cannot build a new building because we have no funds saved after the losses suffered since September of 2004 when all of this started. It has been so bad at times that we have even considered selling the land that my family’s business has occupied for the last 25 years. If it had not been for my father bringing Texas Hatters to Buda, and Tim Dorsett’s Truck Stop at about the same time, no one would have ever heard of Buda. The population at the time was around 500 and dropping with every graduation. Just ask the owners of Capitol City Container and the original owner of Jardine’s Foods, Dan Jardine. They came because of Manny. There are many others too numerous to mention. That didn’t make any difference to the carpet baggers that have moved into the city offices and turned Buda into a Westlake-wanna-be. If I could vote in Buda, and I hadn’t done anything about who was voted in, then I would have no right to gripe, but I live outside the city limits and have no vote in the cities politics, but I do believe I am allowed to speak my opinion. You can call it whining if you like. That’s you’re right, but please don’t insult me for execising mine. Thank You.

  2. Dave Young

    Joella, thanks for dropping by. I meant no insult to you. I simply was calling it as I heard it on the NPR report.
    I’m glad you’re holding on. I hope the wait will be worth it. Meanwhile, put up the biggest “Texas Hatters” sign you can afford. I’d even throw in the words “Famous” and “Original” on the sign.
    The folks who have heard of you, but are coming to see Cabela’s will go out of their way to stop in.
    Best to you,

  3. Joella Gammage Torres

    Mr. Young,

    Thank you for the advise. We already have a billboard, another of my father’s doings. A giant hat with a hugh business card underneath it, would you believe?
    We are all praying that Cabela’s, whom I did state in my interview I have no personal hard feelings for, will bring us enough business to do more than hold on. The access road has been brought uncomfortably close to our front door. So, we really would like to be able to build further away from the roadside. Not only to prevent further flooding of our front room, when finally rains again, but also for the comfort and safety of our customers.
    Sorry I got so testy and ranted. My typing teacher would have a fit over those misspellings. This has been a very hard time for my family and I, but hopefully it will be getting better after they open the new overpass Monday. Then, of course, Cabelas big grand opening is sometime next month. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Thank You,

  4. Joella Gammage Torres

    Oh my, I just listened to the interview for the first time! He did make it sound like I was whining with no real cause. I swear, I had no idea he changed his half of the dialog and left out so much of what I said. He even put words in my mouth. I never said Texas Hatters made a hat for Harry Truman! I said he wore a hat similar to the one my grandfather made for LBJ. I’m embarrassed to say, I don’t even know what years he served as our president. If it was before my grandfather started his own shop in the mid to late 1920’s then I know he couldn’t have done. I should have gone to the station for the interview.
    Thank you. If it had not been for your comments on that interview and the link to listen, I would never have heard how it ended up after his editing. I should have listened first and then written to you.
    I owe you an apology. You were right, it does sound like a whinefest.

  5. Dave Young

    No problem Joella! You aren’t the first person to be used by NPR to enforce a conclusion that was reached prior to your interview. You certainly won’t be the last.
    Let’s go get some Salt Lick BBQ next time I’m in Buda.

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  7. Joella Gammage Torres

    Just wanted to let you know that Texas Hatters did end up moving away from the flood of chain stores in Buda. Now located in Lockhart, Texas and awaiting the completion of renovations to the building and parking, just off of Hwy 183.

    Thanks for your time.


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