Taunton resident gears up for season
By Terence J. Downing, Enterprise staff writer

TAUNTON — While the New England Patriots prepare for another football season, Keith Crochiere of Taunton is also gearing up for the season.

Crochiere is creator of Patri Hat, a souvenir football hat that has grown in popularity since it was introduced last year.

Crochiere sells the hats at Fielder's Choice, a local sporting goods store on South Walker Street; at a booth on game days outside Outlaw BBQ on Route 1; and soon on his Web site, Patrihat.com, which is set to launch in a week.

“We've been gearing up and making a lot of hats ahead of time,” said Crochiere.

Sales of the hats at last week's Patriots preseason home game went well and are a good sign of things to come, he said.

The hat is a Colonial-style, tri-corner with a small football on top.

Crochiere purchases the baseball caps wholesale from a manufacturer, and he and his family add the footballs and other amenities to create the Patri Hat.

The name has been trademarked and the image copyrighted with the assistance of local attorney William A. Manganiello, who specializes in intellectual properties.

Crochiere said his 24-year-old son, Evan, and his son's fiancee, Stephanie Serode, 23, improved on his original design to make the hat better and more durable.

“It's all handmade,” said Crochiere.

He said they have been working hard in the off-season making hats and taking orders while holding down other jobs.

“We stay up late and get up early,” said Crochiere.

He has shipped the $39.95 hats to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine and Cape Cod.

Crochiere never intended to start a business with the hats.

A 16-year season ticket holder, he made a hat one day at home to wear to games to cheer on the team.

But when state troopers and fans at Gillette Stadium began telling Crochiere they liked his homemade Patriots hat, Crochiere figured he might have something and began making some for friends and tailgating crew.

From there it spread.

When he's not rooting for the Patriots, 46-year-old Crochiere is chief executive officer of Employee Assistance Network, a Taunton-based company that provides services to over 100 firms and municipal governments, helping workers deal with emotional, financial, legal and health issues. Crochiere is a psychologist and his wife Eileen is president of the company.