By JOHN T. WARD
Just a month after the Red Bank council voted to allow tattoo parlors downtown, one has inked a lease in the district.
Also in Retail Churn: a new women’s accessory shop plans to open.
• Michael ‘Shoe’ Nyegaard, a 27-year veteran of the tattoo trade who’s launched ink salons in New Brunswick (Anchor Tattoo Company, run by his son) and a nephew in Linden (Tattooville, run by a nephew), plans to open Front Street Tattoo at 37 East Front Street.
The space is the former party room and café of Sugarush cupcakes, which will continue to operate next door to the tattoo parlor.
In October, the council unanimously struck down prohibitions on tattoo shops in five business zones, a move championed by Councilman Erik Yngstrom. Before then, tattoo shops were allowed only in the highway business zone fronting on Newman Springs Road, but none had opened there.
A longtime customer of Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street and T&T Automotive Services on Gold Street, Nyegaard resident said he’s been aching to get into Red Bank for years but was stymied by the law. So when he learned of the council’s action, he began his hunt for a space the next day, he said.
A 58-year-old former shoe repairer who now lives in Brick Township, Nyegaard made his bones as a tattooist in the shadow the former General Motors plant in Linden, and over the decades has started and sold shops in Neptune and Toms River. He said he still can’t wrap his head around the mainstream embrace of tattooing in recent years, a change so profound that many of his current customers aren’t familiar with craft’s blue-collar days.
“I come from the ‘creepy biker’ era. When we went to the beach, the waters would part,” with beachgoers in obvious discomfort at the sight of a heavily tattooed man with children, he said. Nowadays, he said, “you go to a tattoo shop and you get a latte and a pat on the ass.”
The borough planning office approved Nyegaard’s application without a need for any variances this week. He plans to start off with three inking stations, and will open as soon as he can get the sinks installed and inspected, he told Retail Churn Friday.
Front Street Tattoo’s home is in a building that’s for sale under a listing with Brothers Commercial Brokerage, but Nyegaard said the business will be protected for the three years of its first lease.
• The planning office has also approved an application for Midtown Authentic, a women’s accessory shop, to open at 9 Monmouth Street. The space was formerly, and briefly, occupied by Decatur Jewelry.
Midtown’s website describes it as “a designer resale van on-the-go… buying, selling and trading only the best authentic designer couture.” It lists locations in Princeton, Westfield and Wyckoff.
Owner Rory Chadwick could not be reached for comment.
• Atlantic Physical Therapy Centers plans to open at 68 White Street, taking space vacated earlier this year by Alpha Graphics. The building is owned by Philip J. Bowers Company, which owns a number of commercial properties in the vicinity.
According to its website, Atlantic, formed in 2001 by brothers Dave and Mike Manzo, has 15 centers in New Jersey, including one in Shrewsbury. No opening date for the Red Bank center has been set, and the Shrewsbury center will remain in operation, an employee tells Churn.