2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
His Hobby Is Restoring, Selling Old Stetsons
“It’s all done by hand,” Betar says, explaining he modified a carpet shampoo steamer and mixes up non-chemical solutions to thoroughly clean the hats. He brushes out dirt and stains with baking soda, vinegar and water. Once cleaned, he shapes the hats. Some hats get new feathers or a leather band, but many look as they did when purchased new.
Betar explained that new Stetsons cost anywhere from $100 to $5,000. The quality rating is scored by X’s on the hat’s lining - the more X’s the better.
He keeps some of the hats for himself and friends, and he sells others on eBay - often in the $50 to $75 range.
He also buys hats.
“I can tell by the lining, the band and tag how old it is,” he says. He paid $100 for a hat recently because of its age and quality. Most of the hats he buys come from people in Nevada, Texas and Arizona, but he’s purchased hats from many other states as well, based on photos and information sellers provide. After cleaning and shaping them he sells them to buyers all over the U.S., as well as overseas to countries such as Great Britain.
Betar’s hat-fixing hobby has led to a small side service business. With fewer Mom-and-Pop stores, hat owners have a hard time finding someone to clean and shape their hats. Between shipping and his time, Betar charges about $50 for the service.
But his real passion is bringing old hats back to life for new owners who appreciate them.
“I don’t want to get real fancy,” he explains. “I want to get them back where they were to what a horseman or rodeo rider would wear.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Keith Betar, Temecula, Calif. 92592 (ph 951-775-9362; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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