For both Carole Leroux and Greg Alexander, Hat Doctor is a natural fit!
Carole Leroux is a true “Western” girl – odd as that may sound for a French-speaking Canadian from Chelmsford, Ontario, northeast of Toronto – not exactly what one thinks of as a hub of cowboy lifestyle. Her family has a 75-acre hobby farm; and Carole grew up riding horses and caring for the other livestock. Her father Marcel, pictured at left with Carole and brother Guy, still wears his classic black hat daily.
Carole remembers hearing about the Calgary Stampede in school and from that time, she was determined to experience it for herself. As a young adult, she was finally able to visit the city and never looked back. In 2000, her childhood dream came true and she became a Calgary Stampede volunteer on the Western Showcase committee, helping organize the gala art show preview and fashion show. In the corporate world, she joined Scholastic Book Fairs, leaving her position as Southern Alberta Manager in 2014.
In 2002, Carole started her own hobby farm on the southeastern edge of the city, with son Jake and daughter Anne. In 2005, she wanted to get even more involved in agriculture and the Stampede, so moved to the Sheep Committee to help with the World Stock Dog Championship and North American Sheep Shearing Challenge.
And that’s when her love of the Western life brought her to .. Greg Alexander, wellknown Stampede volunteer, horseman and rancher. Greg has farmed and ranched in the Calgary area all his life and operates Just Passing Horse Transport and Bereavement Services. Wearing his hat comes naturally for Greg, too, as his picture at left shows, with younger brothers Jack and Bruce.
Carole and Greg were married in 2014 and that event is what led them to the Hat Doctor. Their wedding was to be a true western affair in their yard. Greg and daughter Laura would arrive first on horseback. Then his son Cody, daughter-in-law Kathy, and three grandkids would blow bubbles down the aisle. Carole would be escorted by Jake and Anne. After the nuptuals, the happy couple would ride away before gathering everyone together again for a barn dance.
Carole found a dress that was close to perfect. She took it to good friend Rochelle Ouellette to add beaded fringe and mentioned she was looking for just the right chapeau to wear with the dress. Rochelle’s eyes grew misty as she brought out her departed husband Ray’s hat – an off-white Stockman’s block. It would fit Carole and the occasion to a tee – but it needed a little TLC.
One look at the hat and Greg knew just the place to take it for restoration, suitable for his bride – to the legendary Hat Doctor! They were eager to see what Marc could do with the well-worn hat. As they watched him work, they were captivated by the care he took and then they learned that the Hat Doctor business was for sale!
Driving the short five miles home, they talked about this historic opportunity. Two hours later, they left a message that they wanted to learn more - about the Hat Doctor business. Two days later - in the middle of planning their wedding - they met with Marc and Lynsey to discuss how they could carry on the tradition of the Hat Doctor under his guidance!
His response was enthusiastic because he’d been thinking the same thing – Carole and Greg would be the perfect fit for the Hat Doctor legacy. And in true Hat Doctor fashion, they decided the first hat they would build together would be Greg's custom Cattleman's in grey beaver pelt .... and they'd help Marc renovate Carole's vintage hat just in time for the big occasion too!
1902 – 2015 …. The Hat Doctor Tradition Lives on with Carole Leroux and Greg Alexander. Yup, some hats just find the right heads.
LATEST UPDATE: In April, 2015, Greg and Carole moved Hat Doctor to its CURRENT LOCATION - their farm on the south east edge of Calgary- 284016 Township Road 223A, in Rocky View County.