The oldest hat retailer in the United States, Henry the Hatter "has lost its lease and must close" its downtown Detroit location, a news release announced Friday.

The last day of business for the store founded in 1893, with hats worn by such high-profile people as U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and musician George Clinton, is Aug. 5. The other location in Southfield will remain open.

"It's not a good day for independents like me," said Paul Wasserman, 70, owner of Henry the Hatter. His lease on the building at 1307 Broadway is ending, and he said his landlord of 22 years is using an escape clause. "They had the legal right to do what they did. It's their building to do what they see fit." READ MORE

Louie the Hatter (Elias Dellopoulos)

Louie the Hatter was aka Elias Dellopoulos. His son's generation changed the name to Dellas. His son's name was Steven Dellas, but his birth name was ESTATHIOS/STEVEN DELLOPOULOS. Steven Dellopoulos is on his discharge papers from the army... during WWII.

Louie's hats were tagged with the hat maker's logo. For instance, Dobb's was the biggest name. He didn't choose to sew his store logo into the hats...too expensive.

There was quite a rivalry between Louie and Louis. They were not friendly competitors for certain...

 Henry the Hatter

Established in 1893 by Detroit native Henry Komrofsky, Henry the Hatter first opened on Gratiot Ave. Komrofsky had worked for a number of years as a hatter at the John C. Hartz store before opening his own shop. As a businessman, Komrofsky was interested in many aspects of city life.

Henry The Hatter has survived because it has embraced its customers and has adapted to their needs. The highly trained salespeople use their fashion sense to assist customers with selections that flatter not only the customers wardrobe, but they also take into account the style of each hat or cap, to accentuate the customers face and other features.

I am the great-grandson of Louis "The Hatter" Bradlin, and great nephew of Bill Bradlin. I have spent my whole life in Los Angeles, but really like your site. I thought I would pass along the sad news that Bill Bradlin passed away in September of '07. My grandmother, Louis the Hatter's daughter and Bill's sister, also passed away in September. She raised me on stories of the store and Detroit in general.

Keep up the good work, and in this day of gentrification, sites like yours are important.

Alexis Steppling

 This  Louis the Hatter bowler was purchased in the 1950s. Just recently sold on Ebay.. It is marked "Louis the Hatter," and is in excellent condition. It is a  7 3/4 long oval. Sweatband, liner, ribbon, binding and felt are all in perfect shape. 

Mr. Bill Bradlin, a army veteran, was a graduate of Cass Tech.  He then started in business with Speedy Laundry, then Bradlin Cleaners and finally Louis the Hatter which evolved into three different locations including the Fisher Building and then 8 Mile and Greenfield.  He then became a rep with his wife as his partner for several companies. Bill was a friend of mine and an exhibitor in many of the Super Sales back in the 1980's

you are the bomb and don't let anyone tell you that bloggers do not do their homework. KIM is spot on and so are your comments. Here is a photo of my Dad, Steve Dellopoulos(Dellas) owner/operator of Louie the Hatter. Everything posted on this thread is exactly correct. Thank you for keeping an important part of the history of Detroit alive. Yep, after arson and armed robbery, Dad sold inventory, padlocked the useless real estate, and opened a Roy Rogers in the suburbs. Shame.


Anonymous said...

Where did you get that photo of Elias Dellopoulos? He was my grandfather and I've never seen a picture of him. Ever.

Unknown said...

Louie the Hatter should not be confused with LOUIS THE HATTER whose hats are shown in the above article. It was Louis the Hatter that had the stores on Cadillac Square (where I worked as a kid) as well as on Livernois (where I worked during high school and after). The Greenfield store was opened much later. I know this because I am Louis Bradlin's granddaughter, and auntie to the poster above, Alexis Steppling. I remember running to the 3rd floor to get the Motown guys their fly-ware from the tailor shop. I sold a hat to Joe Jackson once (Michael's father) and remember him as being one of the grumpiest people I ever waited on. I remember the famous radio ads too.

The hat making started because when my Dad, Michael Cooper, married my mom, Harriett Bradlin they were very young. Dad went to work for Grandpa. At that time, Bradlin Cleaners was one of the only places that had a hat cleaning machine. My dad suggested to Grandpa that they put the hat cleaning machine in the front window. People would love to stop and watch. That expanded the hat cleaning, and then the hat making and the rest is history.

Another little story: I lived about 5 blocks from the Livernois store. It was located between 7 and 8 mile road. During the 1967 race riots WITH OUT BEING ASKED, the employees of both stores kept looters and rioters from damaging the shop. Grandpa was a good boss, paid fairly and treated his employees well. This was evident by the unbroken windows of our store amidst all the damaged retailers. I remember being 12 and watching the national guard trucks go by and not understanding.

I never saw Grandpa without a hat himself. He preferred a Homburg to a Fedora, and wore the flyist suits ever. Since he shopped in his own store and the store catered a great deal to the Black Community, my Grandfather was always dressed up. He sometimes looked a little Superfly!

Unknown said...

Found this while searching for Louis The Hatter info. I was married to Bill Bradlin's daughter Kimberly (Mickie). Sean is my son. (Bill's grandson). Always nice to see info on the stores & family.

Retro Kimmer said...

So nice to hear from you Pete! We all loved Bill...

Anonymous said...

Documentary filmmaker looking for a photo of the Livernois Louis the Hatter store on the Avenue of Fashion. Please contact Larry at pryceless7@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I lived next door to Louis the Hatter Bradlin for 10 years (1973-83). A very proud man. He was a good neighbor and loved to share stories. He dressed to the nines each and every day — even on Sunday to pick up from the bakery or wherever life took him. When I paid him a compliment on his appearance he stood even taller than he was, like a peacock, to graciously accept the high marks for his wardrobe. He brought his sister over from Russia in the mid 70's and wanted so much to give her a good life. I met Bill and his family who were over visiting a lot. Good family.

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