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Joan Ecker, Owner of Fat Hat, Joins the Downtown White River Junction Revival with a “Satellite Store”

Feb 25, 2016 03:30PM ● By Kirsten Gehlbach
Fat Hat, also known as F.H. Clothing Company, goes beyond the hat to include a full line of easy, comfy clothing, and now it offers two retail locations—a rambling barn off Route 4 at 1 Quechee Main Street in Quechee and a satellite store on Gates Street in downtown White River Junction.

Joan Ecker built her company and clothing line by thinking outside the box and keeping her eye on trends while creating her own fashion and flair. The designer and founder of Fat Hat, she owns and manages the business with her two enthusiastic daughters, Jenn and Sara.

“White River Junction is becoming revitalized,” says Joan. “This is an example of what can happen when people work together. It is so much fun to walk around for out-of-the-box shopping. No big-box stores, but a downtown of personally owned businesses.”

Joan wanted to join in the revitalization and creative economy of downtown and decided to open a second store, maybe better referred to as a boutique, on Gates Street across from the new Barrett Center for the Arts.

Hours are expected to be Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm, expanded for special events and demand. Call (802) 296-6646 for information. Joan hopes to draw matinee traffic from the theater and those out for a stroll through town after dining at one of the local restaurants.

What started over 35 years ago from the creation of a warm, fun hat for a friend turned into weekends on the juried craft-show circuit with her two daughters in tow. Her mom had a hand in getting the whole thing started by sending Joan pieces of wool and later adding her writing skills to create funny directions and taglines.

People and the press discovered the shapeable, drapeable “Hats for Whatever Shape Your Head’s In.” The collections expanded with easy, comfy clothing all “Made in the US”—on purpose. Joan opened a unique store in a barn in Quechee and grew the business. Today, Joan and her daughters manage two locations with a regional and a national following.

From First Fridays to openings at Northern Stage to events at the Briggs Opera House, downtown White River Junction has become a destination.

“This is our own creation in White River Junction,” says Joan. This can happen when downtown businesses and customers think outside the box.

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