Knowing that tattooing is one of the ultimate forms of self-expression, Firehouse Tattoos' artists understand the importance of each line and every dot of pigment they leave on client skin. They meticulously put those lines and pigments together to craft realistic portraits, as well as flights of fancy such as cartoons and mythical creatures. Besides tattoo services, they also execute professional piercings of everything from bellybuttons to cheeks.
Ageless Arts Tattoo’s licensed tattoo artists are enamored with the concept of permanence. They know that their detailed, custom artwork will function as meaningful signifiers in their clients’ lives for years to come, and they don’t take their job lightly. For evidence that their work is top-notch, look no further than the studio’s gallery of carefully drawn designs. From breathtaking portraits in black ink to cartoonish renditions of video-game characters, these designs showcase a high level of artistry and, in some cases, a sense of humor. Not to be outdone, the studio’s piercers use only surgical-implant-grade materials for their body piercings. Their jewelry ranges from traditional hoops and studs to more radical selections, such as spikes and dangling vials of zombie blood.
Since the mid-’70s, Tattoo Factory’s crew of tattoo and piercing artists have been a fixture in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Examples of artists’ work and suggested tattoos line the roomy studio’s exposed brick walls as neon signs and glossy wood floors add color and retro flair. Clients lounge in black salon-style chairs as the skilled artists carefully create vibrant, long-lasting pieces of body art, such as the name of a loved one or a list of must-buy grocery items. Customers can also download the business’s recently launched iTunes app to get more information about tattoo and piercing artists, as well as glimpses at their portfolios.
Tattoos start at $60 (prices vary by size and complexity). A number of smaller designs (one to three square inches) fall in the $80 range. And, of course, you can apply your $80 credit toward a more involved endeavor, like a full arm sleeve of your ex-lovers’ skeletons suffering in Hell. Or a big daisy. Piercings start at $55, and the rest of your Groupon $80 value can be used toward jewelry or jelly to fill the piercing.
Most popular offering: Alley logo T-shirts and piercing jewelry
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
Staff Size: 11–25 people
Parking: Metered street parking
Handicap Accessible: No
Pro Tip: Stop in the area to have a great beer and loosen up. This is like visiting the circus—smile and enjoy.
What sets your business apart from your competition?
The combination of our four stores under one roof. We carry many one-of-a-kind items.
What was the inspiration for starting this business?
I was 17 and struggling with school, when I fell into the opportunity to buy a business. I grabbed the savings bonds bought for me at birth, bought the business, and never looked back
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
We have been here for 40-plus years. People come in all the time and, in this time of many stores closing, they say, " We are so glad you are still here."
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I love to go out and buy and source one-of-a-kind items.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Go read my bio on the site. It is fun and gritty and the story of great success for small business in America.