Iconic Central Texas Hat Store Is Closing After More Than A Century

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WACO (December 17, 2012)--After more than a century of creating, shaping, repairing and selling hats, Standard Hat Works at 1826 Circle Road in Waco is closing its doors.

Founder William Gross opened the store in 1909 at 622 Washington Ave.

He was a Hungarian immigrant who walked the streets of New York City selling the hats off his head before moving to Texas.

The store moved in 1968 to a location on Waco Drive because of a fire threat and then was forced to move again after a devastating fire in October 1993.

Standard Hat Works has served a wide array of celebrity customers, creating custom hats for George Strait, Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Neal McCoy, David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey and others.

Despite spending years collecting much of the needed machinery to create standard-setting hats, Lenny Lawson, who's owned the business since 2006, has decided to close the store.

While Lawson's passion for hat making continues, he says he is no longer making custom hats.

Now, customers are greeted with a phone recording that "personal problems" have prompted the closure.

The store is currently open Saturdays only.

Customers who have hats at the shop now are advised to pick them up in the next few weeks because the business is not expected to remain open for long.