DeKALB – Nick Misitano cares about the tattoos he creates, and he plans to share his passion soon.
Misitano, 27, wants to open DeKalb Tattoo Company by Aug. 1. He plans to run his shop in a storefront at University City shopping center at 817 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.
“I care about tattooing,” Misitano said. “If I do a bad tattoo, it bothers me. I can’t sleep at night.”
The DeKalb City Council voted, 7-0, to grant Misitano a conditional license after a public hearing Monday night. Sixth Ward Alderman Dave Baker was absent.
City Attorney Dean Frieders said Misitano has demonstrated that he can obtain the necessary insurance, has a letter of intent to lease the space, and has applied for a state license. Misitano will be granted a full license once he has acquired all of these items.
Misitano said he has been a tattoo artist since 2004. After the tattoo shop he operated in south Florida with his brother-in-law closed, he found it hard to work in another person’s tattoo parlor.
“You get to a certain point where you don’t want to work for anyone,” Misitano said. “The only way to get ahead in this world is to work for yourself.”
Misitano did a “guest spot” at Proton Tattoo, one of DeKalb’s existing tattoo shops. Misitano filled in for owner Chris May, who was filming for Season 3 of “Ink Master” – a reality show contest for tattoo artists.
May had been under the impression Misitano would choose a location outside DeKalb.
“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” May said. “If he succeeds on those merits, all the power to him. ... It’s disheartening, but it’s how it goes sometimes.”
Kenny Weinstock, who owns DeKalb’s other tattoo shop, said he doesn’t think DeKalb can support three shops. He pointed to Campus Tattoo, another shop that opened around the same time as his store, Out On A Whim, 127 E. Lincoln Highway, and May’s store, but has since closed.
“We have very high standards; that’s what they are going to be competing with,” Weinstock said. “If it’s a fly-by-night company, there’s a good chance it might not last, but we’ll wait and see. If they’re respectable, they’ll do very well here.”