NEW BRITAIN - A Bristol resident will open his popular online sports apparel business Saturday in downtown New Britain.
House of Fitteds, located at 248 Main St., sells fitted hats, pins, snapbacks and streetwear apparel. Owner Michael Guzman, 21, will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at its grand opening Saturday at 11 a.m. to officially launch the brick and mortar business.
Guzman attended Bristol Central High School and later played college football and wrestling. He started to collect fitteds as a hobby, in search of hard to find hats with exclusive All-Star and World Series patches in larger cities like New York. Guzman realized there was a demand for these hats in Connecticut and decided to launch a website to sell the finds in October of last year.
“I started in my basement because I had a few hat shelves in my basement. Then I basically do a lot of meetups in New Britain,” Guzman said. “People all across the state would come to the Bristol, New Britain area to pick up hats from me because they are that exclusive; you just can’t get your hands on these just anywhere.”
Guzman said when the items in his online store began to sell out quickly he decided to make the business his main focus. In January, he acquired the L.L.C. trademark and Guzman has been able to promote his business through Instagram, where the account has more than 54,000 followers. Because of the success of the business online, Guzman realized it was time to open a physical store.
“On the website it went so crazy that I didn't have time to do local meet ups anymore. Everyday involved tagging orders, dropping new hats online. So I decided that the local people need somewhere to shop as well,” Guzman said.
Customers for the business come from cities like Waterbury, Hartford, Bristol and New Britain. Because the items from the online store sold out, Guzman said he wanted to give local residents the opportunity to see and purchase items in a physical store. New Britain stood out for Guzman because it was in the middle point between all the cities and there are multiple businesses in the downtown area.
“I think being [downtown] will even attract more people to the area. I think it will be very good for the city of New Britain to have us right in the downtown area,” Guzman said. “It just turned out big. Now I’m getting into sneakers, yeezys, jerseys, dunks and urban streetwear that people really like, especially with younger audiences.”
Guzman said he has sold to famous NFL, NBA and MLB players. He said through networking with people in various sports communities and area barbershops, he has been able to sell to big names.
“I’ve had a lot of big time people reach out to me about the hats. I’ve been able to build a lot of connections,” Guzman said. “Brian Burns – he’s the starting linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. I have Cesar Ruiz, tackle for the (New Orleans) Saints; Lil Baby, the rapper.”
Guzman said if his business grows in New Britain, he hopes to open more locations in different parts of the state. He wants to continue to promote his business online through his Instagram account and the YouTube channel he has started. For now, Guzman said hopes to inspire others.
“I’m happy. I’ve achieved a lot within the past year. I hope I have an influence on other young entrepreneurs,” Guzman said. “Because I am only 21 years old and I’ve done all this, I’d like to help out people who have the same mindset who want to start their own businesses.”
House of Fitteds will be open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be closed Sundays. Guzman said the New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu will attend the grand opening Saturday.
Visit houseoffitteds.com for more information.