PODCAST: Henry the Hatter owner Paul Wasserman reflects on end of 65 years in same Detroit storefront

Paul Wasserman took over Henry the Hatter from his father, Seymour (Sy), who uprooted the family from New York City to buy the business.

The Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast recently visited Henry the Hatter in downtown Detroit to talk to owner Paul Wasserman about the impending closure of the iconic store.

Henry the Hatter first opened its doors on Gratiot Avenue in 1893 and lays claim to the nation’s oldest hat retailer.

The news — and here’s a bunch of incredible historical photos of the place — has set off a media frenzy and public outcry after the store’s landlord opted to abruptly terminate the lease.

“It’s been unreal,” says Wasserman, who first began working in the store in the early ’70s. “The groundswell of support from people who’ve been patronizing the store literally for generations has been overwhelming and gratifying and it’s really validated what I’ve done for a living for the last 45 years and the way Detroiters feel about the store.”

Wasserman talks about the colorful history of Henry the Hatter, what it’s been like to run it through thick and thin times downtown, and about his search for a new location in the city.

The store, at 1307 Broadway, will close permanently after business hours conclude on Saturday, Aug. 5. The Southfield location, on 10 Mile near Greenfield, will remain open.

Check out the podcast below, or find us on Stitcher, iTunes or the Podcast Detroit network

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