Batsakes Hat Shop owner outfits music festival attendees

CINCINNATI — Organizers say the Cincinnati Music Festival brings in more than $100 million to the region. It’s a boom for small businesses, especially for a hat shop owner who has been benefitting from the event since the very beginning in 1962.

Gus Miller is the proprietor of Batsakes Hat Shop in downtown Cincinnati. The Batsake brothers founded the shop in 1907. Miller started working at the shop 72 years ago and he took over the operation in 1973. The 90-year-old works six days a week.


What You Need To Know

  • Gus Miller is the proprietor of Batsake’s Hat Shop in downtown Cincinnati
  • Miller has jazzing up the wardrobe of festival goers since the very first year
  • Festival goers have been relying on Miller’s shop all these years because of his large selection of hats
  • Miller says during the music festival, it feels like busier times, filled with loyal customers

Miller’s been jazzing up the wardrobe of festival goers since the very first year. He’s come to love and rely on the event.

“For me it’s like Christmas,” Miller said.

He has sold hats to some of the most famous musicians of all time, including Luciano Pavarotti and Tony Bennett. Miller even made some custom cowboy hats for President George H. W. Bush. While Miller still occasionally makes a hat, he now mostly sells hats crafted by other companies from around the world.

“I’ve got the biggest selection in the country,” he said. “If you don’t find it here, go home. You won’t find it in a department store.”

That’s why festival goers have been relying on Miller’s shop all these years.

“I found a hat that perfectly matches the outfit I’m wearing to the festival,” said Troy Robinson, a customer from Columbus.

“I bought my first hat here probably about three years ago. Excellent hat, excellent quality, customer service is good,” he said.

That’s what draws Dennis Ross. He travels every year from Indianapolis for the festival. He’s been visiting Batsakes for nearly half his life, 29 years.

“The first thing I think about is this hat store,” Ross said. “And I make it a point every year I come I stop at this store, whether I’m going to buy a hat or not.”

Miller said during the music festival, it feels like busier times, filled with loyal customers.

He has no plans to retire and said working in the store is like a concert.

“When the music plays – this is like music, you hear the people – you’re dancing,” he explained. “When the music stops, you stop. It’s over.”

Miller is going to continue dancing with his two employees, Anna, who’s been here 43 years, and Effie, who has worked there for 35 years.

“You can’t find people today to work that long. And I treated them pretty nice”, Miller says.

And he adds, he’s anything but a tough boss.

“I’m as tough as the mushroom,” he said.