An open house was held Saturday, Sept. 7, to celebrate the retirement of longtime Chetek barber Harry Bossany, and the welcoming of the hairdresser, Heidi Fedie, who is taking over his shop on Knapp Street.
Bossany and the new owner, Heidi Fedie, posed for a photo on Saturday. They held a pair of shears between them, signaling the passing of the business from one barber to the next.
Fedie said she is very excited about the new venture. The shop will be named Heidi’s Haircare and the first day open will be Tuesday, Oct. 1. Her hours will be Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday.
She will make a few updates to the shop, but the barber chairs will stay, as well as the striped barber pole outside, Fedie said. It will keep the barbershop theme, she added. The shop’s phone number will remain the same.
Bossany said he was relinquishing his longtime unofficial title of “mayor of Knapp Street.”
“I talked to the mayor [Jeff Martin]. He’s the mayor of Knapp Street now,” Bossany said. Also among Bossany’s unofficial names, “Floyd,” after Mayberry’s barber in the Andy Griffith Show.
The last haircut in the shop went to Jerry Lemke, Bossany said, but he will continue to cut hair for residents at Atrium Post Acute Care in Chetek.
“I want to thank all my loyal customers,” Bossany said. “Chetek is great.”
All together, Bossany has cut hair for 59.5 years, of which around 57 were in Chetek. Both Bossany and his brother, Johnnie, were barbers at the shop for 25 years before Johnnie retired in 1987.
Asked what his plans for retirement, Bossany joked he’d “chase wild women and hope I don’t catch one.”
Bossany’s son, Mike Bossany, said much of his childhood was spent around the barbershop. His father’s retirement was bittersweet, he said, but well earned and deserved.
Two brothers, Henry and Hayden Huth, were with their parents at the open house on Saturday. They had gotten both their first haircuts there and had gotten many haircuts from Harry since.
“Great to talk to, and great humor,” Henry said.
“Harry started cutting my hair when I was 12,” recalled Bill Waite. Other than when he was in the Army, Waite has had Harry cut his hair since then. He knew that Harry would miss being Chetek’s barber.
“Harry is definitely the nicest, mild-mannered person I’ve met,” Waite said.
“He’s one heck of a nice guy,” said Ron Bossany, nephew of Harry. Ron always enjoyed the camaraderie found at the barbershop and knowing it is the place to go when you want to know what is going on in town.
“Chetek is going to miss him,” Ron said.
Ron plans continue going to the shop, with Fedie.
John Jenness got his haircut by Harry because he has known Harry his whole life. Harry played drums with Jenness’ father in a old-time polka band.
Jenness said Harry’s and Johnny’s humor would help you forget any problems in your life. Jenness recalled the time in 1967 when the high school forced him to cut his long hair. Afterward, still upset, he left town and drove to Chicago, Ill. Still he could not and was not mad at Harry for that.
“It ends and era,” Jenness said.