Our store was founded over 90 years ago by my grandfather and, just as he did, we strive to offer personalized service and a store filled with many unique, hard-to-find items. We feature one of the largest selections of hats and caps in the Pacific Northwest in addition to an impressive collection of traditional clothing with an updated flair.
You may not recognize the name John Helmer, but you may be familiar with names like Hickey Freeman, Southwick, Corbin, Haspel, Robert Talbott, Pendleton, Byford, Gitman, Alan Paine, Bills Khakis, Scott Barber, Shedrain, Alden Shoes, Stetson, Dobbs, Borsalino, Biltmore, Henschel, Kangol, Bailey and Tilley among many others. We offer domestically made custom suits and shirts and host several trunk shows a year.
Although this web site is geared towards our mail order hat and cap customers, we hope that if and when you're in Portland, you will have a chance to visit us.
Please contact us with any special requests you may have concerning headwear or other elusive mens' accessories. We also have many great gift ideas. We'll do our best to locate what you're looking for.
We appreciate your business!
John Helmer III
John III has an early history in the store beginning as an infant placed in the display window, in a cardboard box during the remodel of 1956, the year his dad bought the store from his dad, John Sr. Before the days of child labor laws, grade school aged John III could be found working in the basement, breaking up boxes, filling in the shopping bags on the selling floor, or running an errand in the downtown area. At the end of his work day he would be placed on the bus with a note pinned to his coat instructing the driver where to let him off at home. During high school he worked on the floor learning the trade from the professionals around him, occasionally meeting with the hat salesmen as they plied their products and assisting with modifying some of the various designs of headwear. Returning to Portland in the early 1980's after circling the globe, he resumed working in the store and found that it still brought him satisfaction at the end of the work day. John III purchased the business in 1982 and thanks to his dad, it was a seamless transaction and transparent to most of our customers. They added a small mail order catalog in 1988 and went on line in 1996 and their business has been steadily growing.
John III has a wonderful wife, Jennifer and three great kids Madeleine, John Julian, and Lily, one or more of whom will hopefully be interested in coming on board some day. In his spare time John III likes to play competitive tennis, swims, runs and bikes, in addition to taking vacations with his family.