Buffalo's New Era Cap. Co. will open its fourth company store Aug. 3 on Toronto's Queen Street, timed to coincide with the Caribana music festival.
Cap-loving rap stars will be in town for the festival and New Era hopes they might drop by for a private preopening party.
"We sort of hold it in the same regard as New York and L.A.," said company spokeswoman Dana Marciniak of Toronto. "A lot of trends do start in Toronto . . . It just is like a fashion mecca."
The company, which has long supplied caps to Major League Baseball, has been working in recent years to expand and sell more non-traditional, fashionable caps designed with snowflakes, rhinestones and neighborhood maps.
The retail stores, which opened in London, New York City and Buffalo in the past year, are also part of New Era's plan to grow. The next new store will open in Atlanta Aug. 18. Another is scheduled for Los Angeles sometime in November or December, Marciniak said.
Next spring a new sporty clothing line of New Era polo shirts and baseball-style jackets will be sold from company stores. For now, the stores carry baseball caps and T-shirts.
The Toronto store at 202 Queen St. West, between University and Spadina avenues, is near other related shops, such as Adidas, Nike and the Canadian retailer Roots.
It has four split "levels" on two floors. At 3,000 square feet it is New Era's biggest store so far.
While the store at the company headquarters on Delaware Avenue has 1,600 square feet, and 600 cap styles on display, Toronto may have closer to 1,000.
They will include designs that are unique to the city, such as a cap that says, "Toronto" on front and "4 life" on the back.
"It's kind of a pride thing," Marciniak explained. "When you're from Toronto, you're from Toronto. You know?"