Tattoo parlors get ready to reopen after months of financial struggle

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Tattoo parlors are among the businesses that could not reopen until Phase Two in Louisiana. So local owners have spent the past several months struggling.

Such is the case for the owner of Legacy Ink off Youree Drive in Shreveport. Where Brittney Reno is a tattoo artist working alongside her mom, Paula.

Together the mother-daughter duo’s passion is creating a lasting image of something that’s meaningful for their clients.

They’ve operated Legacy Ink for three years now and said business has always been good. It is especially good this time of year. Until it all came to a sudden halt because of the coronavirus.

“I’ve practically spent my whole savings to keep my business afloat. It broke my heart because I did not know when we were going to be able to open,” said Brittney Reno, Owner of Legacy Ink.

Reno said she applied for emergency relief loans and even food stamps. However she was denied because they said she made too much money. They did support the stay-at-home order because of fears for their own families, but feel they should have reopened during Phase One.

“At the start of the virus, yes. The stay-at-home order, most definitely. But when you open other businesses and totally disregard our industry. It was disheartening. To sit back and struggle for months without income,” said Paula Chillog, manager of Legacy Ink.

They said as tattoo artists they were trained for infection control, more so than most businesses. When they do reopen on Friday they plan to continue all the same disinfectant techniques, wearing PPE, and use disposable materials. They also plan to schedule only one appointment at a time to limit contact between people. Along with utilizing the space they already have with six feet of distance between chairs and using separate rooms. Clients will have their temperatures checked at the door and be required to wear a mask. 

“You protect your client and you protect yourself. You treat it as though everyone has an infection who sits in your chair,” Chillog said.

They’re definitely ready to have income again. As Brittney has four sons to support. She shares her reaction when she learned they could finally reopen.

“Oh man I was so happy I almost started crying,” Reno said.

But they do have their own fears. Brittany has a prematurely born son so she worries about his immune system. Paula cares for her elderly dad. So it’s not just about getting back to business for them.

“It really makes you scared to bring it home to your family,” Chillog said.

So they plan to put their extensive training to extra use to keep the virus out of their doors.

They also said local small businesses need support more than ever. 

“Definitely support your small businesses,” Reno said.

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