Neighbors Speak Out Against Possible Tattoo Parlor Ban

By: Karen Campbell Email
By: Karen Campbell Email

Some leaders in the town of New Market want to ban tattoo parlors.

"It's unique, it's inseparable and only you can have it," said Jay Ripley, owner of Steel Heart Tattoo's in Harrisonburg.

Ripley says he understands how a tattoo doesn't appeal to everyone, but says businesses should not be banned.

"I think they should be restricted to certain areas," said John Blosser, New Market council member.

This week, the planning commission voted unanimously on the measure.

Some who live in New Market disagree.

"We should not profile. We should welcome anyone into our community, if they want to open a business or if they want to live here," said Jim Stroop.

Business owner Cindy Miller, who owns 'Simple Tymes,' agrees.

"A business is a business. We need to bring new business to new market," said Miller.

Miller says several businesses have closed just in the past year, and something new could benefit the town.

"Someone gets a tattoo, they might come and get a basket here," said Donald Bowers, a New Market resident.

"I just don't agree with the children, the teenagers getting one," said Phyllis Knight, of New Market.

Knight says she has nothing against tattoo parlors and admitted she has a tattoo. She says she's concerned that children and teens will find a way to get a tattoo, despite their parents saying they can't.

Blosser says finding a way to keep children and teens away is the main concern.

"Peer pressure, that's the big thing. Peer pressure," said Blosser.

Ripley says people have misconceptions about tattoos.

"It came from the sailors that got into fights and then bikers that were notorious to be in gangs," said Ripley.

Ripley says sailors would get black eyes and ask a tattoo artist to cover up the dark circle to match their skin tone.

Other business owners in New Market say tattoo parlors could bring "unsavory characters" to their small town.

Ripley says tattoos are simply an art of self-expression.

"I can paint things and it will do that for me, but giving that ability to other people really makes me feel fulfilled," said Ripley.

The planning commission will bring up the item at the next council meeting.

After that, leaders will hold a public hearing to then decide whether or not tattoo parlors should be banned. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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