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Tattoo parlor makes mark in resort town

Published December 14, 2006 12:00 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

PARK CITY - They pay a lot more rent for a lot less space, but Jack Eldredge and Alyssa Tippetts couldn't be happier with their tattoo shop's new home.

They ski in the mornings, take breaks in a hotel hot tub and gaze out at a "more friendly" environment.

Not that their journey from a 1,800-square-foot setup in an Orem strip mall to a 300-square-foot nook in Park City's Treasure Mountain Inn didn't have some bumps. But now that they have arrived and business at Park City Ink is promising, they see the wisdom in the move.

"One of those blessings in disguise type of things, I guess," Tippetts says.

Six months ago, neither Tippetts nor Eldredge would have guessed they would be closing up their bustling shop on Orem's State Street for a cozy spot at the top of Park City's historic Main Street.

Then Noah Webster Academy - a K-6 school chartered for 525 students and developed by legislators Jim Ferrin, R-Orem, and Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork - announced plans to rebuild the old Storehouse Market behind their Orem shop.

Eldredge and Tippetts grew unsettled. Not only did they think having a school next to a tattoo and piercing parlor was inappropriate, but they also knew county regulations prohibited such shops within 600 feet of a school. And these two buildings were even closer. They shared a fence.

In the end, the Utah County Health Department decided the two could live as neighbors, and the shop was granted a variance. But the dispute damaged business and Eldredge and Tippetts worried that their parlor wouldn't last.

So the two sold their homes in Mapleton, closed Quality Tattoo and Body Piercing in September and started looking for a new location.

"I had a shop in Utah County for 10 years and it was very lucrative," Eldredge says. "We abandoned everything in Utah County for that charter school - but for the better."

Life is better for them in the state's premier ski resort town - more expensive, but more relaxed. And for a bonus: They say Park City Ink is the only tattoo parlor in town.

Eldredge and Tippetts like to focus on those positives, but the Orem dispute still gnaws at them.

"It was cheap politics," Eldredge recalls. "I thought those regulations should have been in place for a reason."

Health Department spokesman Lance Madigan maintains his staff did not pressure the shop owners to leave. "We hope we weren't the cause they felt they needed to move," Madigan says. "It was kind of unfortunate how the whole thing played out."

Ferrin argues the school and the tattoo shop could have coexisted. He notes crews erected a wall between the operations and that school officials launched a traffic plan to keep students from wandering toward State Street.

"Had the tattoo parlor stayed right there," he says, "they wouldn't have been affected by the school, neither would the school have been affected by them."

That's all in the past for Eldredge and Tippetts. Their only worry now is whether to go skiing before heading to work.

"At the end of the day," Eldredge says, "I think we did the right thing."





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