First tattoo parlor in decades to open in Kinston

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – A new type of business is on its way to downtown Kinston – one the area hasn’t seen for decades.

WITN talked to city leaders and the owner of the future tattoo parlor. While some are supportive of the idea, others are skeptical.

Downtown Kinston is a place where you can find a little something for almost everyone, but something you can’t get is a tattoo. That’s where Brandon Corey comes in. He’s renovating 111 North Queen Street, to become the new location for House of Ink.

“It feels great to come back and be in the middle of some of the history that we’ve got going on downtown,” said Corey. “We had to jump over some hurdles, but we made it.”

Sandwiched between two empty storefronts, it’s something city councilman Chris Suggs believes will bring new life to the region. But it’s not just by coincidence that a parlor wasn’t there before. It was against city ordinance to operate in the 27-block downtown area, according to Suggs. A special use permit had to be approved to allow this business.

“I think the direction we’re starting to move in now as a community is we’re embracing change. We’re accepting new ideas, and we’re being more open to our small business owners like Mr. Corey wanting to open this business,” Suggs said.

We talked to business owners in the same block of town where the parlor will go. None would go on camera, but some say they have mixed feelings about it, while others fear it will change the landscape of an area many have come to love. Corey encouraged people to keep an open mind.

“Tattoo studios aren’t what they once were, what they were once perceived to be, and I think a lot of people see a lot of artistic value coming out of here, whether it be tattoos, paintings and artwork, photography. There’s going to be more forms of art than just tattooing,” he said.

With the changes made by the city, anyone can now open a tattoo parlor in that area of Kinston, if it doesn’t impede the health and safety of the area.

House of Ink is expected to open in January.

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