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Tattoo Parlor Trying to Come to Mt. Airy

An application for a tattoo parlor came to the WMAN zoning board Wednesday.

A tattoo parlor could be coming to Mt. Airy, if a late November city zoning meeting rules in its favor.

Two Northeast business owners presented an application that would, if approved by city zoning officials, bring a tattoo parlor to the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy.

One of the shop's owners, Eric Flynn, said that he saw a need for a tattoo parlor on the Avenue.

"It's a diverse neighborhood but there isn't a tattoo place here," he said. "This seems like a really artistic neighborhood."

For Flynn to be able to move his parlor into the neighborhood, the city zoning board will have to allow an exception for his shop to operate in a building that is zoned residential.

According to Flynn, the parlor would be open from 12 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and that he would be willing to augment the shop's hours on Sunday to accommodate church crowds.

"We don't want to be somewhere we aren't wanted, but I think we'd be a great benefit to the community," he said.

Flynn presented the board with a letter of support from Reverend Aisha Brooks at Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church, which is adjacent to the proposed tattoo parlor.

"I think that, in the current cultural climate, there would be no problem with a parlor in a church on the same corner," she said in her letter.

Board chair Ralph Pinkus said that the zoning board would review the application before making a recommendation, but cautioned Flynn that the city zoning board might have more intensive questions.

"Be prepared," he said. "You've told us you wouldn't be an offensive use, but be prepared for the coming hearing and having to satisfy zoning criteria."

The tattoo parlor will appear before the city zoning board at the end of the month.

eugene epperson November 09, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Flynn said "we don't want to be somewhere we aren't wanted" so take your tatto parlor else where because you are not wanted. Please provide information on this site to keep this parlor out of Mt. Airy.
Morgan King November 09, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I think a high end tattoo parlor out here would be great, though I'm skeptical it would draw enough of an audience to keep the doors open. Best of luck to you!
Fly Ny November 09, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I donk know how many people that are reading this article are hiring managers or business owners, but in my line of work there is a dress code. When young people come in for an interview and they have visible tatoos, we instantly see that the dress code has been broken, and they didn't even know it. These young people have no idea that visible tatoos are frowned upon by the business world. If someone is hired with a visible tatoo, they have to cover it with clothing or makeup every day. For our childrens sake, and for so many other reasons, we do not need a tatoo parlor in Mt Airy.
Bryan November 09, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Hey Eugene, maybe what we need is another crappy knick knack store or Obama store. Those seem to do really well in the neighborhood.
Morgan King November 09, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Sounds like the problem is with your dress code, then, not the young people who are there willing to work with you.
Anne Ewing November 09, 2012 at 05:06 PM
In today's hiring climate there is so much competition for jobs that the hiring manager can be as choosy as he/she wishes to be. If the manager is put off by tattoos, then the tatoo-ed seeker is at a real disadvantage. The young people should know that.
Morgan King November 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Basing the way you live your life around what a hypothetical future employer's presumed dress code might be seems like pretty poor advice, to me. I find that sort of life-long chilling effect to be very repressive. The implication that a clean cut, suit and tie affectation somehow connotes a better employee is a silly contention, and any work environment that requires that clearly is more concerned with your ability to jump through their arbitrary hoops than for you to be a high-functioning coworker.
eugene epperson November 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Hey Bryan, we don't need "another crappy knick knack store" either. As far as the Obama store, well that was just for the election. Obama is in and you are probably bitter. Get over it. FOUR MORE YEARS! Mt.Airy can continue to do well without a "crappy" tatto parlor. Would good could it possibly serve in the neighborhood? Try going to a job interview with tattos all over your body...see if you get hired.
SP November 09, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I would like to hear more about the pros and cons of having a tattoo parlor in the business district. Or at least local residents' perceptions of the pros and cons, which may be all we have to work with. The thrift stores, nail "salons," and check-cashing places already there add a tackiness not reflective of the residents of Mt. Airy. But if we're ok with them, why not add a tattoo parlor. Or else re-think the whole district. Does the Mt. Airy BID have an opinion? I also wonder why tattoo places are called "parlors"? Why not "shop" or "clinic"?
SP November 09, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Also, what is a "high end tattoo parlor"? How does it differ from a "low end" or middlin' one?
Bryan November 09, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Eugene, I'm not a republican and I don't care who's in the white house. So, lay off the liberal smugness there.
eugene epperson November 09, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Bryan, I don't care who is in the White House, but I care who is Commander and Chief. Do you care if a tatto parlor moves in your neihborhood?
Godsmackrox November 09, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Bring the tattoo parlor in. I need more and guess what. I have a job and my employer could care less.
Morgan King November 09, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Oh, there's a bunch of different kinds of shops and artists that do different kind of work in different kinds of environments. Obviously, the austere place that's going to do an immaculate recreation of a 1600s Japanese floral print on your arm is different from a metal-blasting biker place where you're going to get flames on your face and your genitals exotically pierced. The former would probably do pretty well around here, the latter probably wouldn't find much of a client base.
Catherine Adams November 10, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Germantown Ave is the commercial corridor with many varieties of businesses which I frequent and many I do not as this is my choice. Each of us may choose where and what we purchase. There is a liquor store where people choose to shop and many who should not and some who cannot. Does Mt. Airy look down upon legal suppliers and willing patrons? No one will force you to eat gluten free, consume takeout food, ride a bike, have a haircut, try a micro brew beer, keep your money in a bank, have children and send them to daycare, buy tobacco products or force you to smoke, partake in mental health services, attend a house of worship and no one may impose their aesthetic choices on your well being, your diet, your body. This is a matter of what the market will bear and freedom of choice.
SP November 10, 2012 at 06:19 PM
That is one way to look at it. However, the business district of a community is not always a complete free-for-all. Many communities do have some controls over which businesses locate in their midst. This is reflected in zoning codes, the work of community development corporations, etc. There are many reasons for this. One is concerns about the potential behaviors of people who patronize particular businesses. For example, seedy bars have been driven out of communities, including Mt. Airy. Other reasons for controlling the business mix include concerns about traffic, or adequate parking at specific times of day; or concerns about having too many of one kind of business and not enough of a mix. One can say, well just let the free market work. But if the mix doesn't serve enough of the local residents, or even drives them away for some reason, the failure process can take years. Meanwhile storefronts are boarded up, hurting nearby businesses and nearby residents, and draging down the whole community. This is why residents do have some input over incoming businesses.
SP November 10, 2012 at 06:34 PM
That should be "dragging" in my previous post, not "draging." Morgan, thank you for clarifying different types of tattoo parlors, I had no idea they could vary so much. Interesting! The idea of a 1600s Japanese floral print almost makes me think about getting a tattoo . . .
Catherine Adams November 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I wonder if this is really a question whether this business will fit in to the Mt. Airy style. Is there a caste system or style code of which I am unaware? How this business could cause flight of others and boarded up windows, I am unsure. Now look on Mt. Airy Ave...There are boarded up windows and burned out store front. Now that should be what we galvanize our energy around. What if the tattoo studio would take on a "problem" location, would we “like” them then? How could this business cause more traffic than say a health club or a theater? There most certainly is room for a tattoo parlor/studio/shop where there is an artist making his/her work. We have the Art Garage where people are making and showing their work. There is a stained glass studio where he makes, shows and sells. And I imagine I am leaving out other artistic and creative types of businesses. There are good tattoos and awful tattoos just like healthful, locally sourced, in season, organic food choices and food being made off site, transported, and reheated on site for purchase. You choose where you shop and what businesses you patronize. No one will force you to purchase a permanent and portable piece of art from a skilled artisan. While I do not have any tattoos, I do not judge by colors on the skin. I support a business that is choosing Mt. Airy for the many reasons we all choose it.
SP November 11, 2012 at 07:27 PM
When I wrote about how communities often do control to some extent what businesses are located in the community, I wasn't ascribing any of the example problems specifically to a tattoo parlor. I was only responding to your statement that any business at all can be wherever it wants, and everyone is free to patronize it, or not. I was trying to point out that that is not always how it works, that in many places there ARE certain controls, or residents' input, and I was giving examples and reasons why this is so. If people have concerns about a particular business coming to their area, their ideas may be right or wrong, but their concerns should be heard and discussed. It usually has nothing to do with anyone's right to buy whatever they want. It usually has to do with a perception that something about that business causes its regular patrons to hang out or loiter outside that business and engage in antisocial behaviors on the streets and sidewalks. (certain types of bars is the most common example).
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Shirley November 27, 2012 at 05:50 PM
With a name like Fly Ny, I wonder what kind of operation you run. "For our childrens sake," we do need more merchants on the Ave strip mall, be it a tattoo parlor or an Indian restaurant or whatever, to fill up the vacancies that make this Avenue so less appealing. Closed shop, after closed shop, means less revenue coming into the area. And I'm sure everybody today knows what businesses allow tats and which ones don't. This is 2012, Fly Ny. I pity the returning Veteran who fought for you so you could open your business but doesn't have a prayer in hell of working there because his USMC tat might be showing a bit. Shame on you!
Shirley November 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
@SP, I'm all for a tattoo parlor on the Ave strip mall. At least it would be one more store not vacant....at least for a year...as that's the length of time any new business seems to last here in Mt. Airy because the owners just don't do enough research. I'm FOR the venture. Give the start-up a chance, folks. An occupied store is better than a vacant boarded up one!
Shirley November 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@Eugene, 30-50 years ago, we had a store called the Bright Spot which was the local quote knick knack store quote which did a thriving business. Ask anybody over the age of 50 what a great place to shop for all occasions it was. The good the tattoo parlor would serve would be revenue to the community and one less vacant store.
Shirley November 27, 2012 at 06:26 PM
A high end tattoo parlor would, hopefully, be one where the receiving (front of the store) is cordoned off from the back area where procedures are performed. Any new start-up is welcome in my book for any occupied store is better than an empty one, especially since Mt. Airy has been going through some rough times with new businesses coming and going so frequently. Take for example, Cafe Perry, not even six months!
Catherine Adams November 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM
The Shop/Studio/Parlor hours would be from 12 to 8pm and they are willing to be closed on Sundays if the Church across the street so desired. What is the problem with having more people on Germantown during those hours? The perception that this business may be one that would bring in patrons with anti social behavior who would loiter on the street and sidewalk is interesting. Why would one think this business would be similar to a "certain type of bar" or have similar issues? Most commercial corridors like businesses that bring in people to spend their money.
SP November 28, 2012 at 08:46 AM
I did a little research and learned that tattoo parlors have a history of being linked with gang violence and warring biker gangs, nationwide & worldwide. A simple search brings up a number of articles about gang violence at tattoo conventions, and shootings at tattoo parlors, usually linked with gang culture, and mentions of tattoo parlors that are used as gang headquarters. A police dept. in Georgia even set up a "mock" tattoo place to bust gangs. "Business was slow at first, but then things took off. Gang members soon began dropping in to sell guns, drugs and even stolen cars, authorities said." Maybe that is why some people have concerns about having a tattoo parlor in the neighborhood, & that is where the perception comes from that this business may be one that might bring in patrons with anti social behavior.
SP November 28, 2012 at 09:05 AM
To Shirley: "Fly Ny" stated a simple fact, some businesses have dress codes that rule out tattoos. Fly Ny didn't say whether he/she actually owns the business, although that is possible. It could be a bank, or a restaurant, or an insurance company, who knows? There is no reason to attack someone's screen name, and why on earth would you say "shame on you" to someone who says "in my line of work there is a dress code." ???
Shirley November 28, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I think overall tattoo parlors come with the stigma of anti-social behavior because that's always been attached to such ventures. I'm just for opening up our strip mall so that every store is occupied which means revenue for the community. And with every storefront occupied, more people would likely come to spend their money on a thriving business corridor than one that has emptiness abounding. If the owner has offered his business plan and it is within the guidelines that are acceptable for the Mt. Airy Business Association, the start-up should be given a chance. Personally, I don't think any more 'anti-socials' would be hanging around more so than already do further down the Ave in front of the pizza parlor since it now sells beer or more than the patrons who fraternize at the restaurant across the street especially the ones who hang out front because they wish to smoke. Just fill up all the empty stores so the Ave is bustling once again. The length of its stay will only be dictated by the amount of business and today's tattoo shops normally only work by appointment so waiting outside/walk-ins are not the norm with today's tattoo parlors. Let's get the Ave fully occupied, folks!
Breeanna Williams December 09, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Wow! I have lived in east and west mt. Airy for my entire life and i never knew there were so many old stick in the muds! This is actually a bit disturbing. Having a tattoo shop on Germantown ave would do nothing but bring in business and to all of you people that like to stereotype people that have tattoos you are no better than someone that is racist, bigoted, or homophobic. I went to a private school, college and have a decent job that pays my bills and takes care of my family...and guess what..i have 3 tattoos....none of which anyone can see just by looking at me....i must say as diverse as Mt. Airy is, if you don't like people with tattoos or think a tattoo parlor is only for the hood parts of Philly then maybe you should move!
SP December 10, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Breeanna, you don't seem to have read these posts very carefully. Where are you seeing "so many old stick in the muds"? Exactly ONE person here opposed the tattoo parlor. One other person said his line of work has a dress code, & another agreed. Everyone else commenting here expressed SUPPORT for the tattoo parlor. Not one person said ANYTHING about "not liking" people with tattoos. I've been raising questions, trying to learn about what people think and why. I didn't actually express an opinion about a tattoo parlor. I heard some concerns from neighbors, did some research to find out why, and found many news articles from around the country about gang violence associated with tattoo parlors. That's not bigoted, and it's not opinion, it's simple fact. It doesn't mean that will happen here, it's just a reason why some people have concerns.

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