In a surprise for many, a prominent downtown Owatonna businesswoman has announced they will be shuttering their doors for good come July.

Tanya Henson, the Hat Chic

After 10 years in business, Owatonna’s own “Hat Chic” is going out of business. Tanya Henson, owner of downtown’s Hat Chic Clothing Company, made the announcement via Facebook Thursday afternoon, stating she was reading to spend more time with her family. (Annie Harman/southernminn.com)

Tanya Henson, owner and founder of the Hat Chic Clothing Company, took to Facebook Thursday afternoon to announce that, following a lot of discussion with her family, she will be closing shop after a decade in business.

“This has not been an easy decision — this has not been a quick decision,” Henson said. “We are having one of our best years on record, but we need to get some priorities straight, and that requires me stepping away from the business and putting my family first.”

Henson is the mother of two boys who are both prominent football players. Her oldest, Sam, plays college football at Concordia in St. Paul, and her youngest, Drew, will be a senior at Owatonna High School with plans to play college football. Henson said she is excited to be able to attend each of their games without worrying about who would run the store and get orders fulfilled.

“I want to be there, and I want to be attentive,” she said.

The Hat Chic business came to be when the Henson boys were in elementary school, and she was looking for gear to wear to their games. Not finding what she was looking for, Henson made her own hat that was decked out in glitter and a Husky paw print. After being asked by other moms where she purchased her hat, Henson realized she had stumbled her way into a thriving business.

After operating out of her home and vehicle for a number of years, Henson eventually moved into a downtown storefront owned by Greg Schultz on the 100 block of North Cedar Avenue. When United Way of Steele County moved out of the much larger space next to Henson’s shop in 2018, her business organically expanded into it.

Over the years, the Hat Chic grew to include apparel for men or women, youth or adults, that sport school spirit for Owatonna, Medford, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, Waseca and more. The store also provides non-school-related clothing and all things necessary for cheering on your favorite team, such as blankets and bleacher seats.

Brad Meier, president of the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, said it is hard to see a prominent business in the downtown district close up, but that Henson has been a great model of a “true entrepreneurial spirit.”

“Tanya truly started her business from the ground up, starting with just making items for people she knew, then going to the Farmers Market, then a temporary store to where she is now,” Meier said. “She kept taking new risks, and that’s what it takes. It’s a hard path, but it can be done — you have to have a passion for it, and she did.”

Plans for closing up the shop will include a “going out of business” sale beginning June 6. Henson said if people have not already placed orders, they will no longer be accepting new ones, but her team will be fulfilling everything that had already been placed before Thursday’s announcement.

The storefront itself will remain open until July 1, and then Henson said they will be focusing on filling the last of some bigger orders before she shuts down her printing and embroidery machines for good.

Though Henson said it has been a long process to come to this decision, the emotions hadn’t fully set in following her social media announcement. While she is sure there will be tears later, she said she is confident this decision is what is best for her and her family.

“There’s never a good time to do it, and there’s never a fun time to do it, but we have reached a decision. It took a lot of time to get here, but it’s the right thing to do,” Henson said. “Thanks you for supporting us and allowing us to do what we love, but this is where we’re going to take our bow.”

Reach Associate Editor Annie Harman at 507-444-2378 or follow her on Twitter @NewspaperAnnie. ©Copyright 2022 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.

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