For the last 60 years, the people of Chetek have depended on two things. Good fishing and Harry Bossany. During that time, Bossany owned and operated Bossany’s Barbershop, located just off of Knapp Street in downtown Chetek.
“My wife calls it ‘Floyd’s Barbershop,’” Bossany says. “She calls me the mayor of Knapp Street. She says I don’t miss a thing.”
Harry’s shop has long been the place to go for the need to know. On top of cutting people’s hair, Harry is also the person people turn to for their local Chetek news. Long-time customer Alan Knowlton has known Harry for most of his life.
“He knows everybody. He knows everything about the town,” Knowlton says. “I mean if you want to know something before the paper, you come and ask Harry.”
It’s not just the news customers look forward to next time they get a trim. They also look forward to Harry’s quick wit.“The wisdom that flows, the jokes,” Knowlton says. “The minute you walk in, he’s got a joke for you.”
For Harry, the jokes are a way to keep customers entertained. “I wished I’d saved a dime every haircut I gave,” Bossany says. “I’d own this whole town by now.”
Harry retired in early September, ending a long piece of Chetek history. It’s tough news for the city to digest. Especially so for long-time patrons. “I think it’s just gonna be a loss for the city,” Knowlton says. “There will never be anybody like Harry.”
But for Harry, after decades of being the king of Knapp Street, the time was finally right for his reign to end and close up shop for the last time. “I’ve been here a long time,” Bossany says. “Yeah, that makes me feel old, and I am old!”