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updated: 9/10/2021 8:20 PM

‘Stigma is wearing off’: Arlington Heights to get second tattoo shop in less than a year

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  • Midwest Tattoo Therapy received approvals this week to open within this strip mall on Wilke Road north of Campbell Street in Arlington Heights.

    Midwest Tattoo Therapy received approvals this week to open within this strip mall on Wilke Road north of Campbell Street in Arlington Heights.
    Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

  • A new tattoo parlor is set to open within this 800-square-foot strip mall space at 19 N. Wilke Road in Arlington Heights.

    A new tattoo parlor is set to open within this 800-square-foot strip mall space at 19 N. Wilke Road in Arlington Heights.
    Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 

Arlington Heights is set to welcome its second stand-alone tattoo shop to town in less than a year, amid approvals this week from village trustees -- some with tattoos themselves -- who say past stigmas of the practice are wearing off.

Midwest Tattoo Therapy is relocating from within a salon at 20771 N. Rand Road in Kildeer to its own strip mall storefront at 19 N. Wilke Road in Arlington Heights. The 800-square-foot space, recently vacated by a dentist, has four rooms -- three that will be available for tattooing, and one for piercing, according to owner Hector Barreiro.

Barreiro, who has been tattooing at various shops across the city and suburbs for a dozen years, said he wanted a shop of his own to better serve his growing clientele and teach other artists.

He told trustees at a village board meeting Wednesday night that tattoos were once thought to be for "people that went to jail," or those on the "low end" of society.

"Now in the 21st century, a lot of those things have changed," Barreiro said. "There are many people that have tattoos that have very respectable jobs."

Board members unanimously approved his request for a land use variation for the tattoo parlor to operate in the business zoning district on Wilke, just north of Campbell Street.

"I'm glad to see you coming to Arlington Heights, as somebody with tattoos and (piercings)," Trustee Mary Beth Canty said. "I do think that the stigma is wearing off."

"I'm an advocate for you," added Trustee Jim Tinaglia. "Like Trustee Canty, I've spent some time in 'the chair' and it's not really fun, but it's something I'm proud of, and I'm glad to have you here."

Last November, the board approved a variation for Space Cat Tattoo to operate a 1,050-square-foot tattoo parlor in a shopping center on the northeast corner of Golf and Goebbert roads, becoming the first stand-alone tattoo shop to operate in the village.

After discussion at a recent plan commission meeting about Midwest Tattoo's application, the village staff reported to the village board that the police department has had no calls for service at Space Cat Tattoo.

Arlington Heights officials also reached out to Kildeer's village staff, who said they had a positive experience with Barreiro and wished his business wasn't relocating.

Midwest Tattoo must still get an inspection and be registered by the Illinois Department of Public Health as a body shop establishment. Barreiro said he hopes to open by the end of October.

When he does, his hours will be from noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.