C & E Hat Center has been selling men’s and women’s hats out of its store front in Waverly for the past six years. The shop, which specializes in Stetson, Dobbs, and Biltmore hats, provides hat cleaning services as well as custom hat boxes for any irregularly-sized items in a customer’s collection.
Owner Clyde Davis-El, a former steel worker at the Sparrows Point Steel Mill, started out in the hat business in 2002.
“I took a cruise and I came back with some panama hats,” said Davis-El, “and everybody wanted to know where I got them so I bought the store out—their inventory of hats—and I was selling them to some friends. And then more people started wanting them so I figured, ‘well, I think I better expand.’ It came to the point I had so many hats in the house my wife told me I had to get them out of there.”
Davis-El bought the first half of his current location at 3019-21 Greenmount Ave. in 2006, and the other half in 2007. Originally a single address, the building had been split into two during a tax sale process, and was in desperate need of repairs.
“You could see through the roof, through the ceiling when I first came in here,” said Davis-El. “Right on up to the sky.”
With a little help from his friends, Davis-El put up some new walls, flooring, installed windows, and patched the unintentional skylight. In 2009, Davis-El opened C & E’s doors, doing business as Main Street Hats.
Currently on display at C & E are straw hats for the warm weather, with felt hats set to make their return around September. The store is open on Tues. and Wed. from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Fri. and Sat. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. C & E offers a 20 percent discount to members of the military and to first responders.