Tattoos, piercings may come to Pineville’s Carolina Place Mall
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014

Tattoos, piercings may come to Pineville’s Carolina Place Mall

Pineville Town Council members will discuss whether to allow a tattoo and piercing studio at Carolina Place Mall during their Feb. 11 meeting.

Winston-Salem-based Déjà Vu Tattoo and Piercing wants to move into a 3,100-square-foot space on the upper level of the mall. The building’s current  business district zoning doesn’t allow tattoo or piercing parlors.

During their Jan. 23 meeting, Planning Board members voted 3-1 to allow the tattoo studio at the mall.

“Some of my colleagues in other cities consider tattoos a personal service, like a massage or that sort of use, meaning you go in and pay for a service,” said town planner Travis Morgan. “And I think that’s how the Planning Board was looking at it.”

The decision now heads to the council. Town Manager Haynes Brigman said there has been little input from residents; he said that, during the January public hearing, no one signed up to speak for or against the project.

Morgan said while there is not a tattoo studio within Pineville town limits, he doesn’t see any red flags with having such a business in town.

“Tattoos are viewed as art and are considered less taboo these days,” he said. “Hopefully this will be something that will continue to attract younger customers to the area to keep the area fresh and up-to-date.”

The lone dissenter on the Planning Board, Paul Sullivan, said he didn’t have any particular problem with Déjà Vu, saying “it appears to be a good company.”

Sullivan said he declined to add the use to the zoning because he wants the zoning to be conditional, not by right.

“My concern is that these kinds of facilities may not all be this nice,” said Sullivan, who lives in Park Lake. “My preference would be that Town Council would have a hand in approving a site plan and what the place is going to look like for each individual applicant that may locate at the mall.”

Founded in 2011, Déjà Vu has seven locations, including in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Greenville and Jacksonsville. The company also is building in Florida and South Carolina.

Mitchell Brown, owner and CEO of Déjà Vu, said the franchise frequently locates in malls, in part because “buyers and clients are already in the buying frame of mind.”

In fact, it was Déjà Vu’s previous relationship with General Growth Properties that led the company to seek a spot in Pineville. General Growth Properties owns Carolina Place Mall.

The location also meant Déjà Vu would have access to Charlotte’s demographics, which Brown said are under-served by the tattoo and piercing industry.

“There’s some kind of demand in the city,” said Brown, 37, of Winston Salem.

Brown said residents can expect an upscale studio with hardwood floors, modern furniture and a greeter. The studio would also have a sterilization room for equipment.

Each tattoo booth will have a television clients can watch while getting a tattoo. Modern music from Pandora Radio will play throughout, said Brown.

“It’s a lot different from your typical tattoo parlor,” said Brown. “You’re going to feel part of the family.”

Brown said he expects to hire at least four tattoo artists and at least two body-piercers if Pineville approves the use.

Brown said pricing would meet industry standards, which are $75 to $100 per hour for tattoos and $40 to $80 per piercing procedure.

He said the store also would feature tattoo-inspired clothing, retail, after-care products and body jewelry. The store would sell the company’s own clothing line, FleshWorks.

If approved, Brown said, he expects it to cost $50,000 to $80,000 to renovate the space for his needs.

“This is not going to be your back-alley tattoo parlor,” said Brown. “This is going to be a professional studio.”

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero

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