Sometimes, just sometimes, small town Warren County isn’t so small.
Just ask “Swanny from Draft House.”
Born and raised in Warren County, John Swanson has done his fair share of traveling. He’s met people and made friends all over the United States.
But traveling comes second to “home.”
Warren County.(Photo courtesy John Swanson. Warren Co. hats sit on a counter ready to be sent to those who have purchased them. Warren’s John Swanson came up with the hat idea while visiting Portland, Oregon and thought a few people might want them. To date, he’s sold 180.)
“There’s something to be said for home,” said Swanson, 52.
A bartender, Swanson has made a ton of friends, a ton of connections, who have made their way back to, or through, Warren County. Too many to quantify, just look through his 2,641 Facebook friends, many who have moved away through the years.
He’s found a way for them to take a little piece of Warren Co. with them.
On a ball cap.
And it’s blowing his mind.
Sitting at 10 Barrel Brewing Co. while visiting Portland, Oregon, Swanson caught glimpse of a trucker’s hat with the bar’s logo, and thought, “I like this patch. Why don’t we do a Warren County one?”
He designed his own patch with “Warren Co.” and land, water, and sky landscaping. For the last touch, he asked a friend, Casey Kulka… sunshine or no sunshine?
A sun was added for the final touch; very appropriate in a time of political divisiveness and a global pandemic.
It’s the way Swanson feels about this small town.
“Where is paradise? I love this town,” he said. “The beauty of it… but mostly the people.”
He went forward with making the patch (the first design without a sun) and ordered a few trucker’s caps to sew the patch on.
“And I don’t even have one,” said Swanson. “Those are collector’s items!
“Everyone wanted the hat.”
In typical “Swanny” style, he obliged. He made as many as he could, selling them for only enough to make his money back.
In just a few weeks, he’s sold close to 180 “Warren Co.” caps.
“The only hat that’s left, the patch is crooked so I can’t sell that,” said Swanson.
“I thought I would sell 25,” he said.
“I only have nine patches left, all reserved!”
Everybody has seemed to love the snap-back ball caps.
At last count, he said Warren Countians now from 23 states have purchased the cap.
(Photo courtesy Chad Gage. Chad Gage displays his Warren Co. hat on the back bumper of his truck in Alaska. The hats, brainchild of Warren’s John Swanson, have been sold to Warren Countians in 23 states.)
“It gets Warren’s name out there, for sure,” he said.
What’s not to love?
Jess Brecht, now a police officer in Seattle, Wash., messaged Swanson a selfie of him wearing the cap.
(Photo courtesy John Swanson. John Swanson, Steve Archer and Kurt Scott show off their Warren Co. hats. Swanson, who created the hats, is asking everyone who purchased a hat to send him a photo of them wearing it so he can create a collage.)
A light bulb went off.
Swanson is asking everyone from everywhere who has bought the signature cap to send him a pic wearing the cap. He’s going to create a collage of his design and his favorite thing.
No, not the Warren Co. cap.
The people wearing them.
“It’s what I love most about Warren County,” he said.