Roy axes tattoo shop restriction after pressed by couple seeking license
ROY — Kayla Flores can breath a sigh of relief.
“Now, as of Tuesday night, I feel vindicated,” Flores, who owns and operates Tailored Barber Co. in Roy with husband Joe Flores, said Thursday.
The Floreses last spring approached Roy officials about getting the required license to open a tattoo parlor inside their barber shop. A city ordinance, however, limited the number of such facilities in Roy to one for every 10,000 residents, and with a population of around 39,300 and three tattoo shops already in the city, the numbers weren’t quite on their side.
Ultimately, Flores lobbied city officials, asking them to rescind the one-store-per-10,000-residents restriction, and on Tuesday, the Roy City Council voted 5-0 to eliminate the provision. On Thursday, Tailored Tattoos formally opened for business inside Tailored Barber Co., located at 5635 S. 3500 West.
“It’s finally over. It was a long-fought battle, but we got it,” said Dakota Christensen, one of five tattoo artists who works at the new shop. He called the effort required to get the proper license “a bunch of malarkey.”
For City Councilperson Randy Scadden, who lobbied on behalf of the Floreses, the Roy restriction seemed to run contrary to free-market principles.
“Why are we dictating to the free market based upon something that happens every 10 years? Makes zero sense,” Scadden said at Tuesday’s meeting, alluding to the restriction based on the decennial U.S. Census Bureau headcount. That is, why should the city government say if and when a business operator can set up shop? Shouldn’t free-market forces dictate such things?
But it went deeper. Notably, the restriction seemed to underscore a latent bias against people with tattoos, the Floreses and their backers argued.
In the course of Tuesday’s Roy City Council discussion on the issue, Scadden broached the topic, wondering aloud about the seeming reticence to allow another tattoo shop in Roy. “Are we calling all these people degenerates?” he asked.
Kayla Flores researched the issue, finding no other population-based limits on tattoo shops in other area cities. Clearfield had a restriction but rescinded it a year or two ago while Clinton, Layton, Ogden, Syracuse and Sunset have no such rules.
She alluded to the stereotype some hold toward people with tattoos and tattoo shops. “We’re going to bring in, you know, the riff raff. … They think we’re going to bring undesirable people into our community,” she told the Standard-Examiner.
She bristles at such characterizations — “It’s definitely not true,” she said — and in her presentation to the Roy City Council noted the increasing popularity of tattoos. The market for tattoos is growing; they are becoming more commonplace and the industry is expected to generate $1.4 billion in the United States in 2022.
“We would just like to be given the opportunity to help change the minds of those who associate every tattoo shop with this stigma and show them that we only want to be a part of the Roy community,” she told the City Council. Her hope, she went on, was to “let our artists, small business and individual professionals within our barbershop thrive in the city of Roy.”
The Floreses had launched an online petition to muster support, garnering 1,569 signatures, and a string of backers spoke on their behalf at Tuesday’s meeting. After the Roy City Council vote on the matter, they cheered.
Speaking from the new tattoo shop on Thursday, Flores said all classes of people get tattoos these days. Some businessmen get multiple tattoos, strategically placing them so they’re not apparent when they’re wearing work garb. “Underneath that suit, they have full sleeves,” she said, alluding to the term for fully tattooed arms.
Scadden, speaking by phone with the Standard-Examiner, said tattoos are mainstream these days. “Try to find someone you know, that’s within your social circle, that doesn’t have some type of body art,” he said.
The Floreses — who first met in junior high school — spent $10,000 to retrofit their barbershop so they could offer tattoos, and Joe Flores called the expansion a new phase in the couple’s life together. “I’m excited. It’s the next big step in our lives,” he said.
He also lauded his wife’s persistence in pursuing the issue. “My wife, she doesn’t take no for an answer. She fought for five months,” he said.