Friday, January 27, 2023

‘It’s Like Adult Dress-Up’ at Newly Opened Coronado Hat Company

Steve ‘Woody’ Wood and Junie Nguyen

It’s been a dream 10 years in the making, but the Coronado Hat Company is open for business.

After Steve ‘Woody’ Wood moved to the United States more than three decades ago, he got a job at the Hotel del Coronado and knew immediately: this was the place for him.

“It felt like home,” Wood said. “That’s how I knew.”

While his Coronado store is new, Wood and his partner, Junie Nguyen, have been in the hat business for two decades. They started out with a booth at the Fashion Valley mall and later expanded into a store in Las Vegas, which they still operate.

“I’m never without a hat,” Wood said. “It’s like adult dress-up: You put on a hat and it changes your attitude.”

Wood’s penchant for hats came years ago, after his grandmother died, when he was helping to organize her home. He came across his grandfather’s collection of handmade hats from the west end of London, and everything fit. He also found photographs from 1937.

“Everyone was dressed to the nines, wearing these fantastic hats,” Wood said. “That sort of started it out for me.”

As his operations grew, so did his reputation. Jennifer Lopez wore a Panama hat designed by Wood during her performance at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. That hat, along with an abundance of others, is available in the store.

In addition to “every kind of hat you could possibly imagine,” Wood said, his store will soon offer custom hats, a venture he launched in his Las Vegas store five years ago. While he’s not closing that store, he’s ecstatic to be open for business at last here.

“Coronado is that dream of every 1950s small town in America,” the London native said. “The community support has been overwhelming – I’ve just met the most lovely people.”

In fact, while chatting with a customer from India, Wood asked where he could buy a good lamb curry, and instead landed himself a dinner invitation at her home.

“That’s Coronado,” Wood said.

Coronado Hat Company is at 916 Orange Ave. and is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

 

 



Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan's work as a journalist has taken her around the world, from across the United States to Tokyo and Kampala, but her passion lies in community reporting. She believes a quality news publication strengthens a community by informing and connecting its members. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing; an MA degree in creative writing; and her photography has been published internationally. While on a reporting assignment in Uganda, she founded Tuli, a fair trade fashion brand that earned her industry acclaim, most notably by earning her the title Designer to Watch at New York Fashion Week in 2022. Megan's diverse experience in travel and career taught her to approach reporting eager to understand the many experiences and perspectives that make life so interesting. When she's not working, you can find Megan wrangling her two toddlers, hiking with her husband, and binging podcasts.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]
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