Haberdashery News – June 2022

And the 2022 Bill Hunt Memorial Scholarship Goes to…


Caleb Williams, Kioja Johnson, and Kory

I was honored to present the BIll Hunt Memorial Scholarship for its 30th year! I was joined by Caleb Williams, who won the scholarship in 2001.

While I was speaking about Bill’s life, I was also wondering what Bill Hunt would have thought of the year 2022. Curious to think about how he would have reacted to the pandemic, school shootings, the gun reform debate, modern perspectives on mental health, and a multitude of other social and political topics. I do believe he would’ve stood up and raised his voice, and used his mind for the greater good.

Bill passed away at age 27 from mental illness. Attitudes toward mental health treatment were very different in the ’70s, and if Bill had lived in today’s times he could have lived a long life and thrived. It is an honor to carry on his name through this scholarship.

Caleb spoke about his time at Garland High School – GHS.

The G stands for grit, to be able to survive all the years at Garland High School and then flourish on the other side.
The H stands for humility, putting aside ego and pride in order to make the best possible contribution to society.
And the S stands for service, remembering the importance of always giving back to others.

This year’s Bill Hunt Memorial Scholarship recipient is Kioja Johnson, a talented, kind, driven, and amazing individual who will go on to do great things.

Congratulations, Kioja!

The Man, the Myth, the Dad!

Please be on the lookout for our Father’s Day ideas for 2022 – the email will be sent out this Thursday!

Speaking of Dads…

I am blessed to be able to spend time with my dad each week. As my sons are now in college and I have a bit more space in my schedule, I’ve become aware of how the days and weeks seem to be accelerating.

While Ken (Dad) is still funny, kind, and smart, he is also frailer, gentler, and unfiltered. I was very spoiled to be together with him in the shop for all those years, either selling, buying, or creating. I truly miss those days of working side by side (okay, maybe not all of them – if you have ever worked in a family business you know what I mean). Life had its ups and downs as it always does, but we were always each other’s wingman on the sales floor.

Our haberdashery would not be here today without the guidance and vision of Ken Helfman. He had the Midas touch when it came to men’s fashion and predicting the market and business. As I guide the shop into its 30th year at Preston Royal, and 60th year in business overall, I can only continue to praise the man who gave everything so that all of us on the Ken’s team can continue to do what we love to do.

My motto for the shop is to “service our community with relationships through clothing,” and I am forever grateful to Ken for the opportunity to do exactly that.

Time Away

If we do not take some time for ourselves, how can we be there for others? I say this a lot, and it finally caught up to me. I had not taken a vacation or even a break since before the deadly windstorms in June of 2019. Next came the tornado in October of 2019, and then of course Covid. Through all of it I just put my head down and worked to survive. This is what we do. Survive.

Now that there’s starting to be a little more space to breathe and reflect, we’re all hoping to learn and grow from these experiences. Hence the need to take some time away to renew our minds and souls.

So why should I write to you about my time away, when you are all much better travelers and explorers of this great planet? When I travel outside the US, I personally try to visit places where Americans generally do not go. I love to explore culture, history, architecture, art, language, and music off the beaten path.

I aim to do more of this as time goes on. I will share my experiences in the hope of inspiring others to see, explore, and heal from these past few years.

This trip was to the Northern Yucatán peninsula. We began in Cancun, where we rented a car and drove two hours northwest to board a ferry in Chiquilà. The destination: Holbox Island.

We planned to stay in Holbox for two nights, but then extended our stay for a third. The flamingos, clear waters with bioluminescence at night, and slow pace of life were just too beautiful to leave so quickly. Plus the fact that they do not allow cars on the island! Bikes and golf carts only.

After returning on the ferry, it was another two hours west to Progreso. This is where the world’s longest port is located, 4.5 miles out to sea! It is a sight.

As with Holbox, the best part of Progreso is the slow pace of the town. This is a multi-generational family fishing village steeped in tradition. You can pick up fresh fish at 7am on the beach, and then head off to the markets to buy some fresh produce. Best fish and fruit we have ever had!

We stayed at an exceptional boutique hotel called The Mayan Gypsy, owned by two American artists who live there with their son. They enjoy a quiet life creating art every day, with the hotel acting as their muse. There are nine different rooms to stay in, each uniquely themed and decorated with beautiful art.

We also got to visit the nearby city of Mérida, with its magnificent cathedral and incredible colonial and Mayan architecture. My favorite stop was one of the cenotes about two hours south of Mérida. It was a cavern with water-filled tunnels that have remained untouched for thousands of years. They call it “the healing well,” and it lived up to its nickname!

Of course I was wearing my Ken’s garb. What especially impressed me were my Live LIVE t-shirts, Vuori shorts, johnnie-O swim trunks, BRAX linen pants, and my Bailey of Hollywood linen cap.

I am forever grateful for the chance to see and experience such beauty. I cannot thank my team at Ken’s enough for giving me the opportunity to take some time to renew.

Safe travels this summer to all.

– Kory