ST. JOHN | The town's first tattoo parlor will set up shop along U.S. 41 on Aug. 1 if all the permits are in order.
In a 4-1 vote Thursday, the St. John Town Council approved a variance allowing Syndicate Designs, which does business as Cry Babies Tattoo Piercing, to open at 9123 Wicker Ave. The Board of Zoning Appeals gave a favorable recommendation for the tattoo shop’s use of a storefront in the St. John Mall.
The zoning board's recommendation stipulated that the business would follow all state and local laws. It also said the tattoo shop would be open from noon to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
However, council members appeared uncomfortable and hesitant about approving that variance. The Sunday hours became a sticking point.
Councilman Ken Gembala expressed concern about patrons or others congregating outside the tattoo parlor, especially in the evening hours.
Gregory Volk, Larry Bustamante and Gembala said they were opposed to the tattoo shop being open Sundays.
Co-owners Terry Ward, of Beecher, and Rick Kivo, of St. John, said they would close on Sundays.
“It will give us a day off,” Kivo said.
The partners also own Cry Babies Tattoo Piercing in Chicago Heights, which opened in July 2011.
Ward assured councilmen that all customers schedule appointments and that the last appointment is booked at 7:30 p.m. to ensure the shop closes at 9 p.m. No sales or tattoo work would be done outside the location, the owners said.
“We schedule the work depending on the size of the tattoo,” Ward said.
Town Attorney David Austgen and Town Manager Steve Kil said no one objected to the tattoo parlor during the zoning board's public hearing June 24.
Councilman Mark Barenie asked Austgen for legal clarifications, including what the council’s options were.
“You can approve, deny or delay,” Austgen said.
However, if the council didn’t act within 90 days of the public hearing, the zoning board's favorable recommendation would become final, Austgen said.
Bustamante, Gembala, Volk and Town Council President Michael Forbes voted for the use variance. Councilman Mark Barenie voted against it.
Cry Babies also will offer piercings, Ward said.
The partners will begin applying for all the necessary permits today and plan to open its doors Aug. 1, he said.
Ward and Kivo are tattoo artists.
“We also have one of the stronger portraits and realism artists in the area. We have gray and black custom art. We can cover it all,” Ward said.