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As a Goorin employee, one of my very favorite parts of the day happens at the very end.

Although it’s long past the time I should be working, this is just one of those things that doesn’t feel like work. Instead, it’s something I look forward to, something I love. No matter where I am, it’s a comfort and a touchstone.

Every night before closing, the employees from each Goorin shop email each other to share the highlights (and the low points) of the day they shared. We call these emails the “Dailies.” It’s dinner table conversation, really, and it feels like family.

Some of the stories in these emails are cute and funny and sweet: impromptu salsa dancing in the store, expectant parents buying hats for their babies-to-be, surprises and gifts and celebrations.

Some of the stories follow the thread of daily life:

One of the head-shake moments of the day was when we had a customer come in whose dog had chewed off his hat’s band. 

Many of the stories are testaments to the power of a good hat:

Had a wonderful conversation at a bar last night with a cat in a Guido Delgado… 

And some of the stories…well. They’re big:

We met a man that was a hat maker all his life. During WWII, he was sent to a concentration camp and found a needle and thread which he used to repair the officers’ hats. He traded his services for extra rations of bread. Hats saved his life. 

While I can’t say that hats have saved my life, I can say that they’ve made it better. Happier. Good things happen when you wear a hat.

Recently, we got a special email from Ryan, our shopkeeper in Savannah:

The best gift every holiday season is family. The word “family” can include so many people, blood related or not. This year I’m thankful to have grown my family as I made the move to Savannah.

My family also became a little bit smaller, as I lost my grandfather to cancer back in August. Last Thanksgiving, as my family sat around the dinner table sharing what we were most thankful for, I remember my grandfather saying he was thankful for his family and hoped to be in that same seat next year. It’s hard to imagine sitting at that table without him, but this year I can say that I am most thankful for knowing a man as unassuming, thoughtful, giving, and happy as my grandfather.

Growing up, he was my role model. He always knew what to say whether it was cracking a joke (generally playfully mocking my grandmother, which we all knew she secretly loved), telling a story about one of his many trips around the world (no joke, I think he traveled to every country in Europe and Asia), or simply smiling. Even for a man that’s seen the world, his favorite place of all was his hardware store, Dickson Bros.

Smack in the middle of Harvard Square, my grandfather loved his job because to him it wasn’t a job. It was a chance to meet strangers and make them feel like family when they walked through his doors.

I never thought that I would end up working in retail, but I’m thankful I have. Because for me, just like it was for my grandfather, this isn’t just a job. It’s an opportunity to grow my family and help others. It’s a chance to take the ordinary shopper and help them in the smallest way – which may ultimately make their day, even change their life. Goorin is a wonderful thing that we’re all a part of, and I’m happy to call you all my family.

So I read the Dailies each night – although sometimes it’s past my bedtime. I sit in on those conversations – although I’m hundreds of miles away. And I share in the joy and the hope and yes, sometimes the sorrow or the loss – and I feel just a little more alive.

Ryan, we love you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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