Hat World Unveils Major Expansion in Central Indiana, Adds 750+ New Jobs

Indy Chamber News Archives

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 10, 2014) - Governor Mike Pence joined executives from Hat World, Inc. (d/b/a LIDS Sports Group), a retailer and manufacturer of hats and sports apparel, today to announce the company's plans to expand its headquarters and distribution operations in central Indiana, creating up to 758 new jobs by 2025.

The homegrown-Hoosier company, which manufactures apparel and operates retail stores primarily under the LIDS brand, will invest $21.8 million to construct and equip a 150,000 square-foot office to house its headquarter operations at the Creekside Corporate Park in Zionsville, as well as lease more than 600,000 square feet of additional warehouse space in Indianapolis. Hat World currently operates out of 225,000 square feet of leased space in Park 100 and another 285,000 square feet of leased space on 76th street on the northwest side of Indianapolis. 

"Today's announcement continues to prove why Indiana is the best state in the nation to start or grow a business," said Governor Mike Pence. "Hat World took hats to new heights here in the Hoosier State when it turned a creative idea into a business that today can be found in malls across the nation. With our pro-growth business environment, we provide a low cost of doing business and talented workforce that help companies like Hat World succeed, making Indiana a state that works."

"Hat World has seen tremendous growth in the past decade and I'm happy to see them continue to grow here in Indy," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "As the company continues to grow, the expansion of their manufacturing and distribution operations in Indy shows a confidence in our workforce and our central location to support their ever-growing production needs."
Hat World, which currently has more than 1,000 associates in Indiana and more than 9,000 retail associates across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, will begin relocating its headquarter operations to Zionsville and filling approximately 300 new administrative, finance, human resource and business development positions in late 2015 or early 2016. Also, the company plans to begin hiring new manufacturing, distribution and warehouse associates in Indianapolis in the third quarter of this year.

"Hat World, Inc. has been an Indiana-based company since we opened our first Hat World store in Lafayette in 1995," said Ken Kocher, president of LIDS Sports Group. "Today, LIDS Sports Group is a leading omni-channel sports licensed retailer that caters to fans and athletes across North America and central Indiana offers the ideal location and business climate for us to operate from."

Founded in 1995, Hat World operates more than 1,000 retail stores under the retail brands of LIDS, Locker Room by LIDS, LIDS Clubhouse and LIDS Team Sports. The company sells officially licensed and branded headwear for collegiate and professional sports teams, along with other specialty fashion products. The company opened its first location in Lafayette, Ind., selling more than 6,000 hats during its first holiday season. In 2004, Hat World was purchased by Nashville, Tenn.-based Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO). 

"As the Crossroads of America, Indy is uniquely positioned for success in the manufacturing and distribution industries," said Brian Gildea, Vice President and Executive Director of Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber. "Hat World's decision to further expand their manufacturing and warehousing operations in Indianapolis takes advantage of this unique position and brings more jobs to our qualified workforce."

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Hat World, Inc. up to $3,400,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $300,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. In addition, the IEDC will provide the community with up to $250,000 in infrastructure assistance from the state's Industrial Development Grant Fund. The town of Zionsville will consider additional tax abatement and incentives. Also, the city of Indianapolis supports the project at the request of Develop Indy. 

"Zionsville could not be happier regarding this announcement. We are very proud that Hat World will call Zionsville its home," said Jeff Papa, president of the Zionsville Town Council.
About LIDS
The LIDS Sports Group, operating within Hat World, Inc., is comprised of the LIDS retail headwear stores, Locker Room by LIDS specialty fan retail chain, the LIDS Clubhouse retail stores, the LIDS Team Sports wholesale team sports business and the Internet businesses www.lids.com,  www.lidslockerroom.com,  www.lidsclubhouse.com,  www.lidsteamsports.com  and www.lids.ca . Operating out of Indianapolis, Indiana, the retail businesses make up more than 1,000 mall-based, airport, street level and factory outlet locations nationwide, and in Canada and Puerto Rico. LIDS retail stores offer officially licensed and branded headwear of collegiate teams, major professional sports teams, as well as other specialty fashion categories in the latest styles and colors. Locker Room by LIDS is a mall-based retailer of sports headwear, apparel, accessories, and novelties which also operates under the Sports Fan-Attic and Sports Avenue retail concepts. Most LIDS and Locker Room by LIDS stores also offer custom embroidery capability. LIDS Clubhouse operates team-specific professional sports and university athletics retail stores and e-commerce sites. LIDS Team Sports is a full-service team uniform and apparel dealer, custom screen printer, embroidery and sporting goods distributor. Hat World, Inc. is a subsidiary of Genesco Inc. 

About Develop Indy
Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber, is Marion County's local economic development organization. Develop Indy is dedicated to attracting new businesses, retaining and expanding existing businesses and serving as a catalyst for capital investment and quality job growth in Indianapolis/Marion County. For more information, visit www.developindy.com

About IEDC 
Created in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence. Victor Smith serves as the Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Eric Doden is the president of the IEDC.  

The IEDC oversees programs enacted by the General Assembly including tax credits, workforce training grants and public infrastructure assistance. All tax credits are performance-based. Therefore, companies must first invest in Indiana through job creation or capital investment before incentives are paid. A company who does not meet its full projections only receives a percentage of the incentives proportional to its actual investment. For more information about IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov

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Media Contacts:  
John DeWall (Hat World) - 317.250.4177 or [email protected]
Ashley Elrod (Indy Chamber) - 317.464.2241 or [email protected]
Katelyn Hancock (IEDC) - 317.234.2294 or [email protected]

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