LANSING - Owner of Ink Shack Tattoo Jason Kovacs feels right at home in his new location. Formerly of Shogun Tattoo in Barnesville, which closed its doors in November of 2013 after 16 years of business, Kovacs has seen the business grow beyond belief since opening the new studio about a year ago.
"I'm a lot happier down here," Kovacs said. "I grew up in Blaine, which is not even a mile and a half away from where my shop is currently at. It really feels like I'm home. Barnesville is an awesome town, but you can't really replace that home feeling."
Kovacs stated that his business has picked up a lot since the move. In fact, he is fully booked with appointments nearly into July. Because Barnesville is rather remotely located, Kovacs' business at the former studio was somewhat limited.
T-L Photo / JESSE SCOTT
JASON KOVACS, owner of Ink Shack Tattoo in Lansing, puts some ink into the forearm of customer Ryan Sparks. Eventually, Sparks plans to have a full sleeve completed.
"When you're down here, you're really getting the full gamut," Kovacs said. "We're getting business from around here, in West Virginia and we're still getting a lot of our people from (the Barnesville area). By moving here, we've kept a lot of our old customers and gained a lot of new ones."
Kovacs explained that the relationship he maintains with his customers, both new and old, is very important to the success of his business. He stated that the shop has received a lot of positive feedback about the treatment of its customers.
"A lot of our customers become our friends," Kovacs said. "We really try to focus on the customer relationship here. When people come here, they feel welcome. They feel very comfortable." Kovacs explained that positive feedback in regards to the relationship with Ink Shack's customers means almost as much as compliments they get about their tattoos.
Ink Shack has also received a lot of positive feedback in regards to their prices as well. It is no secret that tattoos are expensive, especially larger and more detailed pieces. "We do high quality tattoos here, but we don't necessarily charge that over-the-top price," Kovacs said.
In addition to the increase in customers, Kovacs stated that the types of tattoos he has been doing lately are much more of what he enjoys. He explained that while many of the tattoos he did in the Barnesville area were traditional pick-and-stick tattoos - meaning a customer would choose a design from a book or the internet- he has gotten to use his artistic creativity much more at the new location.
"The (artistic) taste of our clients down here is definitely a lot different than it was in Barnesville," Kovacs said. "Since we've moved here, it's more art than tattooing. There's a lot more art involved in what we're doing." He explained that since the move, he has gotten to tattoo several large, artistically driven pieces - chests, full sleeves, etc.
Kovacs also stated that he has been considering limiting himself to tattooing only four days per week because of his increase in business. Because the tattoos Kovacs has been scheduling are mostly larger, artistically-driven pieces, he wants to give himself more time to focus on each piece individually.
"I'm wanting to spend more time 'pre-tattoo' on each tattoo I do. The more time I have to work with a design that I'm doing, the more that I know it," Kovacs said, explaining that the extra time on each piece will ensure that customers will be more than satisfied with whatever they have chosen to get inked.
However, the shop would still be able to maintain its regular business hours, even with Kovacs allotting himself extra time for each tattoo. Artist Dennis Collins (a co-owner of Shogun with Kovacs) also works out of Ink Shack. Together, the two have nearly 30 years of combined experience in the industry. Additionally, Ink Shack also offers body piercings from piercer Dennis Gilbert.
Ink Shack is located at 54917 National Rd. in Lansing. Their business hours are from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information or to book an appointment, please call (740) 738-0626.
Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.