Tattoo ado: Business owner reacts to Granby mayor’s proposal to ban new parlors from downtown
February 15, 2008
When Christy Helming, owner of Wild West Tattoo, first heard of a possible ordinance in Granby that would restrict future tattoo parlors to certain zoning districts in town, she didn’t mince words.
“You gotta be kidding me. I live in America,” Helming said.
On Tuesday night, Granby Mayor Ted Wang asked the town attorney to draft an ordinance that could require future pawn shops and tattoo parlors to take their business away from the main street of Granby. The ordinance was in response to concerns by constituents who feel pawn shops and tattoo parlors give Granby a negative image, Wang said.
“I’ve had people who live in town come to me and say they’re concerned about (having) a whole bunch of pawn shops and tattoo parlors on (main) street. They don’t think it presents a good image,” Wang said.
The proposed ordinance does not ban those types of businesses, Wang stressed, and it does not affect Granby’s current tattoo shop, Wild West Tattoo, or the Rocky Mountain Trading Post, Granby’s only pawn shop, which is going out of business.
Granby’s board of trustees will have a public hearing on the proposed ordinance in the next month. A date for the hearing has not been determined.
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Helming fully intends to be there.
“I’ve gotten over 64 people to sign my petition in two hours,” she said. “(Wang) doesn’t know who he’s messing with.”
Christy and her husband, Aaron, opened Wild West Tattoo two years ago. Being on main street is vital for the success of her business, she said.
“When I go to Denver, Utah ” anywhere ” I drive through town looking for a tattoo sign on the main strip. If it’s not on the strip, you’ll never know they exist,” she said. ”
And if I’m bringing in people from other counties, who have money and go shopping in our stores, that should be exactly what the mayor wants, in my opinion ” to bring more people into our town.”
Christy added she feels the same about pawn shops, and sees no reason why they can’t be located on main street. The owner of Rocky Mountain Trading Post could not be reached for comments yesterday.
Wang hesitated expressing his personal feelings toward pawn shops and tattoo parlors, admitting he had mixed feelings about both of them. But he felt it was his responsibility as mayor to approach the subject.
“I have to be responsive to the people who talk to me,” Wang said. “I think it’s a legitimate question, but it’s up to the community ultimately to decide.”
When asked how many constituents have approached him, Wang said half a dozen over the past couple of years.
Wang added that the original discussion centered around pawn shops, due to the “negative connotation” associated with them, but then a few people said the town should include tattoo parlors.
“It’s a tough issue. But I have a responsibility to bring these things up,” Wang said.
Christy feels disheartened by the issue. After all, she and her husband, who live in Grand Lake, chose Granby for their business because they felt the town would be receptive. Now, she sees the writing on the wall.
“I want other people to have the same dream I had to open a tattoo shop. And pawn shops. I’ve had to pawn stuff before. I’m sure other people have ” especially during the hard times seen up here.”
” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.