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After a series of successful pop-up parties over the course of several months, two home improvement enthusiasts are now opening a retail store on the west side of Springfield.

Co-owners Katelyn Klos and Grace Kennedy bring Southern charm to Springfield with their hat burning business, Wildflowers and Barley.

Klos and Kennedy are the first mobile hat bar in central Illinois and have been offering hat burning classes since October of last year. The duo joins other local businesses like Ad Astra Wine Bar or The Wakery that host the hat bar’s ticketed parties, with a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales then going to the hosting business.

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Klos said it was time to open a brick-and-mortar studio to keep the thriving business afloat — and rid her kitchen of wide-brimmed hats.

“We also make our own hats that we sell at retail prices, and we really just need a place to do that,” Klos said. “We’ve always been asked where our store is, and now a really great opportunity for a building site has come up.”

The official opening of the new store is scheduled for Friday in the E Suite at 924 Clocktower Drive. The grand opening will be from 6-9 p.m. and local vendors will ring in the launch of the studio. Store hours are Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the store, you can always stop by the mobile hat bar, which hosts weekly pop-up parties where you can create custom hat designs.

The art of hat burning is a process of outlining a felt or suede hat with a pen or pencil and then tracing it with a professional wood burning tool that generates heat to create darker etched lines. The hat is not burned all the way through, just the outermost layer, so with a gentle hand and a pre-planned pattern, any design can become a reality.

According to Klos, the company hosts public hat burning parties two to three times a week at various businesses around the city, as well as even larger private events.

Since the number of guest places is between 45 and 100, the events are often sold out before the date.

Before the date, clients can choose from a variety of hats such as the classic wide-brimmed cowboy hat, fedoras and baseball caps, and then decorate them at the party using provided stencils or simply freehand. Custom-colored ribbons and small trinkets can then be added to the hats for even more personalization.

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Klos said that virtually all faux suede items can be safely burned without damaging the fabric. She and Kennedy are already planning to expand their business to include more Southern-charming pieces, particularly boots, which will be available for a fee and included in the burn items line.

“The hat burnings will continue and we have lots of other ideas in store,” Klos said. “In a few weeks we’ll have our first boot burning where you can bring your own boots and then burn signs on them. We love anything handmade, so there’s just a huge list of ideas of what we can do.”

Claire Grant writes for The State Journal-Register about business, growth and development and other news topics. She isn’t quite sure if a wide-brimmed hat is from the South or the Midwest. She can be reached at [email protected]; and on X (formerly known as Twitter): @Claire_Granted