'We couldn't get people in fast enough': Local tattoo shop says he is keeping busy during the pandemic

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Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 12:35:17-05

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Industries across the spectrum have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. But right now, local tattoo shops are buzzing with customers ready and willing to spend money.

Larry Jones calls his tattoos his story.

“Started a long time ago. After a while you stop worrying about the pieces it’s more of like a coverage thing,” he said.

His latest tattoo speaks to his astrological sign.

“I’m a Libra. So one arm is going to be like villains. Other arms are going to be heroes,” Jones said.

Jones wasn’t the only one eager to get inked up once tattoo shops were permitted to reopen.

“I couldn't believe it was like a feeding frenzy,” he said.

Alfonso Lugo is the owner of Classic Tattoo in North Olmsted.

He described closing up as completely eye-opening.

“If you didn't have anything set aside, it got pretty scary for some people… We weren't sure we'd be able to tattoo again,” said Lugo.

Lugo said he wasn’t sure if customers would come back quickly.

But within days, his uncertainty was wiped away.

“We couldn't get people in fast enough. You know, the phone was ringing off the hook,” he said.

But the tattoo industry as a whole isn't nearly as vibrant.

News 5 reached out to the National Tattoo Association who has members around the globe. A representative for the organization said while they don’t keep specific stats, they are predicting business is down somewhere between 30 and 45%.

“Knowing that you're not going to lose your business is a good feeling after so much uncertainty. You know, it was a good feeling for sure.”

For Lugo and his employees, each day is a clean slate and an opportunity to do what they love. They continue to follow safety protocols.

“The only change we had to make was cutting down to the traffic, making sure there are not too many people around each other and that everybody has enough space in between the stations. We're not letting up off the gas. You know, we're trying to stay safe," he said.

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