OWEGO (WBNG) — The building at 26 Lake St. in Owego has been a barber shop since the 1850’s, but for the past 50 years, it’s been owned by Andy Romano.
Romano opened up shop back in 1969, when a haircut only cost $1.25.
“I can’t count the number of haircuts that I’ve given in here,” said Romano. “I found a job I like, most people don’t. They work because they get a paycheck. I love it.”
On Monday, the shop opened up when it’s usually closed, offering cuts for the same cheap price.
“We’re just giving back to the community. It’s one of those things where the community has supported us for 50 years, our family, my family, and there’s nothing better you can do than open the doors up, invite the community in,” said master barber Matt Romano.
All of the proceeds from Monday are going to the Tioga County Boys and Girls Club.
“This boys club here does an extreme amount of benefit for the local kids. It’s someplace for them to go. Let’s face it most parents have to work today and their kid can spend a couple three hours, playing basketball, or video games, whatever. We want to keep it open,” said Andy.
Not only is it important to give back to the community, it’s important to give back to the customers who keep the business alive.
“I think it was probably around 1990 or so, I stopped in to get a haircut and I never left,” said customer Richard Gethin.
Andy says the customers are really the best part of running the business.
“It’s great talking to people, and the biggest part that’s fun, is you get 15 minutes of unbridaled talk,” he said. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and what’s said in the barbershop stays in the barbershop.”
Things have changed over the decades, like adding Andy’s son Matt to the shop.
“Matt’s increased the business tremendously because he’s so in tune with the younger generation,” said Andy.
But it’s the heart of the business that keeps people coming back.
“It’s pretty incredible. 50 years is a long time to run a business and still be in good humor to come and do it everyday. It’s quite an accomplishment,” said Gethin.
Leaving the shop with only one thing left to say.
“Thank you Owego for supporting this, and supporting myself, and my son’s family,” said Andy.
Both Andy and Matt say they chose to give the donations to the Tioga County Boys and Girls Club because of the recent closure of the Western Broome Club.