Longtime barber putting away his clippers

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

After nearly 60 years as a barber, Bob Hanek will close up his barber shop on Main Street in New Prague (Chuck Kajer photo)

Friday, Sept. 20, will mark the end of a career for Bob Hanek. 

 A barber since 1960 and the proprietor of Bob’s Barber Shop since 1972, Hanek will put down his clippers for the last time at his shop at 127 Main Street E, in front of Czecher’s Sports Bar. 

The son of a barber. Bob’s dad - also named Bob - had a barber shop in Montgomery for 67 years. retiring in 1996. Bob Sr. wasn’t in favor of his son going into the business. “He tried to talk me out of it… tried to talk me into doing something else,” he said. “Together we had 127 years in this business.”

Until 1972, Bob worked in Bloomington. In 1972, Rollie Nash decided to sell his business and Bob, who had built a home south of New Prague, set up shop in a space in front of Rock’s Place, a bar located in what is now a tobacco shop on Main Street, just across the street from where he is now located. 

“I didn’t like the commute,” he said, recalling that in those days, the main road into Bloomington was a one-lane railroad bridge from Savage into Bloomington that closed during high water events. 

When Bob first made the move to New Prague, there were four barber shops in town. With his retirement, there will be only one.  

“Back then, Rock’s would be busy every morning. When I’d open up, the place would be full with three tables of people playing cards. I was the young kid, just 32, and most of them were in their 50s or older… Now most of those people are gone.”

Nickolay sold his bar in the late 1970s and a few years later, in 1982, Hanek moved across the street to his present location. 

“John Simon - Spunky Simon - was remodeling and expanding his bar and asked if I’d be interested in moving in,” Bob said. “He built a barber shop for me and I’ve been here since.”

He said he’d been blessed with good landlords over the years - Nickolay, Larry and Karen Button, John Simon, Phil Simon, Teri Bily and now Rich Novak. “They’ve all been good to me,” he said. 

Bob said the business had changed - he has about...

To see more on this story pick up the September 19, 2019 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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