FLORENCE, Ky. — The first tattoo parlor in Boone County's history will open this weekend.
Bluegrass Tattoo will open Saturday on Main Street in Florence. It's the first legal body art business allowed within the city and county limits.
Owner Brett Hoersting has been working with the city of Florence for two years to allow body art services within the city. County and city officials had to change zoning regulations to allow the parlor within city limits. They came to an agreement in mid-March.
Bluegrass Tattoo is also the first business of any kind to open up on Main Street. Hoersting says it is part of Florence’s plan to revitalize its historic Downtown.
Hoersting said the city needs brick-and-mortar tattoo parlors to keep people from getting tattoos illegally.
"They're going to go and get tattooed somewhere unlicensed, uneducated and that's the dangerous part,” he said. “That's why we have health department regulations in place. That's what ends up happening."
Previously, people in Boone County who wanted to get tattooed had only two options. Some went to neighboring counties to get their tattoos done in legal tattoo parlors. Others would go to the homes of unlicensed tattoo artists, sometimes called "scratchers" or "kitchen magicians," to get their artwork done.
People who get their tattoos in those situations run the risk of getting infections from dirty tattoo machines or homemade inks. In addition, unlicensed artists often do not have the technical skill of licensed artists, and customers will have to go under the needle again to get cover-up work performed.
Bluegrass Tattoo's official grand opening is June 29 starting at 7 p.m.