Excelsior native Tony Filippi founded Summit Creek Hat Co. last summer, inspired to create a line of hats and other products that make the wearer think about their favorite places in the world. Filippi says his personal Summit Creek (the actual Summit Creek) is a “remote location in the backwoods of northern Minnesota … That place that brings you comfort, peace and relaxation.” He adds, “So far the best part [of running the company] is listening to all of the stories about where our customers’ Summit Creeks are. People love sharing their stories.”
Courtesy of Tony Filippi
And the company has deep roots in Filippi’s own childhood and connection to the outdoors. When he was a fourth-grader at Excelsior Elementary 27 years ago, Filippi visited Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. The center was the first environmental learning center in the nation to be accredited as a K-12 school, and it’s recognized internationally as a leader in environmental education. Teachers and students from all over the state and region visit the center every year (more than 15,000 visitors) “to have their own adventure in learning,” Filippi says. Now, he’s giving back to a place that helped shape his attitude toward the environment: For every hat Summit Creek sells, the company donates $1 to Wolf Ridge. “Our plan is to continue providing quality products to our customers while supporting local organizations,” says Filippi.