By Michael Kinney
When customers first walk through the double doors into his shop, Chris Khrais is fairly hard to find. Sitting behind a large counter filled with cologne, belts, and bowties, the owner of the establishment is almost impossible to see.
But as soon as the door chimes to announce entry into the haberdashery, a booming “Hello, how can I help you?” comes from behind the counter, and Khrais appears.
That has been the way Khrais, who first started selling clothes out of the trunk of his car in 1984, has welcomed customers into his shop since he first opened the doors to Pinpoint Resource Fine Wear in 1999 at North Penn Plaza.
In 2009, Khrais moved his shop to 50 Penn Place, located across the street from Penn Square Mall. The old shopping center is used by only a few businesses these days, but it serves as the perfect environment for a clothing store that’s looking to bring back a style of a bygone age.
When Khrais first opened Pinpoint, he sold mostly shirts and slacks. They then began to add suits and accessories such as shoes and belts. But around the same time that he made the move to 50 Penn Place, he began to hear from his customers that they wanted something more from him.
“My customers, they always ask me for hats, so I start carrying hats,” Khrais said. “I started with a little bit and then I found some results on it, and then I went a little bit extra. I start getting more and more, getting into it, too, and as you can see by my display, I tried to be more creative.”
According to Khrais, on a regular day during the year, they will stock a selection of as many as 100 hats.
Customers will not find any baseball caps, visors, snapbacks or anything like that. Even though that seems to be the style the majority of men prefer to walk around in, Khrais caters to the gentlemen who want to look sharp and turn heads when they step outside.
Pinpoint Resource’s inventory includes such styles as fedoras, the trilby, the Panama, bowlers, the flat cap and the pork pie.
Khrais says he gets his cues on what to fill his shelves with from the people who count the most in any successful business.
“I’m learning from my customers, believe it or not,” Khrais said. “My customers are teaching me about hats, especially those older guys who have been wearing hats for a long, long time. They tell me what’s right, what’s in. “
Khrais has watched as the trend in hats has slowly started the move away from the casual to the undefining ball caps of today. He sees men looking to be more distinctive and wanting to stand out from the crowd.
Because of that, Pinpoint Resource will start a service that allows customers to make their hats even more of a personal statement.
“Now we’re working on a new hat. It’s going to be like every person has his own hat. Like your hat, we’ll take it, we’ll work some kind of design on it,” Khrais said. “It will be your hat only, it will be something different. Something that not everybody has. It’s going to be an artwork. It’s going to be one of a kind. It’s made for you.”
What a person chooses to wear is telling a story to the outside world. From the shirt down to shoes and socks, they are informing the world who they are and what they are about. And, according to Khrais, the right hat completes that story.
Photo & Story by Michael Kinney