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  • Address: 605 N 3rd St | McCall, ID 83638
  • Mailing Address: PO Box 350 | McCall, ID 83638
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Handmade Hats and a Legacy of Love 

In an unassuming building on an unassuming corner in Donnelly, Idaho, sits a treasure trove of history. 

The narrow wooden structure was originally built in nearby Roseberry in 1907 but was relocated to Donnelly in 1917 when the railroad first stretched through the valley, surreptitiously bypassing the most well-established town of that era. 

credit Jensen Nemec, Come Alive Visuals

The whitewashed building with a western façade reading “First State Bank” is like the cover of a first-edition classic. Its hard-earned patina is interesting in its own right, but the chapters that unfold on the inside hold stories of love and loss, survival and redemption. 

The signs that read “Hats” and “Silver Tip Hat Co” hint at the most obvious chapter of the story. Thanks to a series of happy coincidences, the art of hat making has been kept alive between these walls, even after the 2021 passing of hatting legend, Randy Priest. 

Lynley Rosa relocated to McCall in 2020 and was instantly fascinated by the stories of the hat shop and the charming artisan inside. A couple years earlier, Priest had posted a call for an apprentice on Facebook, “Does anyone want to be cool like me and learn this craft?” When Lynley went to meet Randy for the first time, her answer was a resounding “Yes!”

The pair instantly clicked in that way that once-in-a-lifetime friendships sometimes do. “He started telling me all the stories of his life and I shared my story,” Rosa says as the corners of her mouth turn up and her eyes start to sparkle. “Randy was so special to me. I just knew him a short amount of time but he changed my life. “

credit Jensen Nemec, Come Alive Visuals

Lynley had always loved fashion and grew up around horses, so she was eager to learn everything Randy knew. Her first task was sewing in sweatbands by hand, patiently lining up each stitch. Randy showed her how to measure a head, and steam and stretch the beaver felt “blanks” over a carefully-selected wood block. From there, she learned to tie off the brim break and meticulously hand-sand the felt. 

Randy’s methods and tools were anything but modern, but his creations were legendary. The crown iron used in the shop dates back to the 1890s. It was one of the first pieces of equipment that Lynley purchased from Randy as their partnership – and friendship – blossomed. 

“I’m super sentimental. Everything has a story and a meaning to me. That’s just how it’s been in my life. Randy always told me “I learned from trial and error, that’s your best teacher.” I just wish we would have gotten more time together,” says Rosa. 

At the time, neither of them knew that 79-year-old Priest was developing ALS, he just knew that his hands were sore and unsteady. He was excited to have an eager apprentice to help with the most painstaking processes. Every single step of making these timeless creations is done by hand. 

“I like the old stuff,” says Lynley. “I’m learning so much still, I don’t know that you can ever learn it all, I’m trying to stick with the classics and put a personal touch on them.”

It takes Lynley about 13 hours to make each custom ordered hat. She uses only 100% beaver felt, the gold standard in the industry. She brings her own aesthetic to some of the designs but finds herself naturally attracted to the classics. Choosing tradition over trendiness is working well for her so far. She says a lot of her customers are looking for hats inspired by the Yellowstone television series (she’s done a few “Rips” and is working on a “Kayce” right now), but several others have stopped in, seen one of the hats she created for herself, and said, “That. That’s exactly what I want.” 

Lynley frequently partners with local saddle maker and silversmith Bart Chisham who creates one-of-a-kind leather bands, buckles and embellishments. Lynley is freshening up the inside of the shop with a fresh coat of paint, some new shelves and updated lighting. She’ll continue to carry silk scarves, has brought in some gorgeous designer silver jewelry, and is now the exclusive Stetson retailer for Western Idaho. 

“I just want to be here, be of service to the community and have a place, and I’m bringing in my stuff that I like and so far that’s all working out,” says Rosa. “I’ve been well received it’s been really precious to me.” 

Just like when Randy ran the shop, people can bring in their worn hats for Lynley to clean and refurbish. She says that’s one of her favorite parts of the job, because everything – and everyone – has a story.

“I believe that the events in our lives bring wear and tear, scars and marks, shaping us the same way a hat is shaped and worn over time,” says Rosa. “I think Randy felt the same way, that someone’s wearing a hat that I made and they’re going wherever on their journey and the hat is part of their story.”  

Lynley’s own story has been shaped by both love and loss. Her first husband, a fire captain, was fatally shot in the line of duty in 2018. Processing her heartbreak, finding love again, meeting Randy, honing her hat making craft and honoring Randy’s legacy are all part of her redemption story. 

In spite of all she’s learned from Randy, Lynley’s hats won’t carry the Silver Tip label. She thinks that should be reserved for hats that Randy made himself. LA Rosa is Lynley’s new brand, stamped in gold foil on each of her creations by a 100-year-old Kingsley Machine she stumbled across and scooped up last year. As for the timeworn building, the Silver Tip sign will remain, but her shop will officially be called “Four of Hearts”. One for her first husband, one for the group of widows who helped support her through her grief, one for her new fiance, and as you might have guessed, the fourth heart is for Randy. 

“He was a legend and an amazing guy – I’m trying to carry on what he would have done if he was still here. I always want to honor him in any way I can.” 

For more of Lynley’s story, visit