The place to go when you want to put a lid on it
By Elizabeth Czapski | Staff Writer
Published September 4, 2018
Wherever there are sports teams, there is passion—and for the passionate, there are
hats. For New Eastside sports fans, Lids, 175 N. Michigan Ave., is the place to go.
Based in Indianapolis, Lids sells hats in more than 1,000 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The clientele at this Lids location is diverse, said assistant manager Justin Gordon. “We get a lot of international shoppers, and then we have a lot of residents from the South Side and West Side of Chicago,” Gordon said. He added it’s also a favorite of locals.
Gordon said there’s often a morning rush, with a line outside a half hour before the store opens. He said the most popular items are fitted Cubs and Sox hats. “People love those. Those always are flying off the racks, and we always have to replenish them,” he said. With fall just around the corner, Gordon said customers have been looking for bucket hats and beanies.
When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, demand for Cubs gear soared sky-high.
“This store got really good numbers off the Cubs,” Gordon said. “Any place that was selling Cubs anything was packed. It was crazy.”
Lids also offers custom embroidery with anything from Chicago stars to a favorite player’s name and number, Gordon said.
Lids can also add kingpins to the hats, with numerous design options available.
A White Sox and Bears fan himself, Gordon said he has about 300 hats from Lids. Ryan Kaul, from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, was visiting Chicago with his family and bought a Durham Bulls hat to add to his collection. His younger brother J.T. bought a Brewers hat.
“I collect hats, and it’s an easy, good way to bring something back to Wisconsin from Chicago not Cubs-related,” Kaul said.
Yvonne Fernandes, who is from Australia and lives in the U.K., was in Chicago because her husband was attending a conference.
“I was sent by my children to go look for hats, for Cubs hats, apparently,” she said as she searched through the Lids displays for the perfect hat to take home.
When asked if the Cubs are popular in the U.K., Fernandes said, “I have no idea. I just do as I’m told.”