Stratford Approves Tattoo Studio Near Barnum Avenue Commercial Complex Despite Strict Rules

The town’s newest tattoo parlor is moving into a recently abandoned storefront.

Last Monday, the Stratford Zoning Commission overwhelmingly approved proposals from Stratfour Ventures LLC to operate the studio in a commercial mall at 1345 Barnum Ave, despite severe laws banning tattoo parlors.

Attorney Christopher Russo, representing Stratfor, said before the five-person panel that the studio will be located in a 1,000-square-foot storefront vacated by Cricket Wireless.

As Russo put it, “we’re not proposing any building here.” They’re moving into a previously occupied space. A lot of people have been living in the building since the ’80s.

In June, Russo persuaded the Zoning Board of Appeals to overturn what he termed “outdated laws” that forbade tattoo parlors from being located within 1,000 feet of residences, places of worship, public parks, playgrounds, libraries, and educational institutions.

According to Russo’s argument at the time, tattoo parlors are practically banned by the regulations governing adult-oriented companies since they can only be located in a small number of places.

While the previous municipal ordinance has been in place for over two decades, Russo believes that public opinion on tattoos has changed since 2003. “It has gotten much more widespread and lots more tolerated in society.”

The studio, which does not yet have a name, will be the second tattoo institution to move into the Barnum Avenue corridor after The Forest to Shore Gallery and Tattoo Studio relocated to the old Little Red School of Art and Music site last year.

Stratford Approves Tattoo Studio

Russo has indicated the studio will be handled by Orlando Rivera, the longstanding operator of Latin Style, a prominent barbershop and salon located in a storefront adjacent to the proposed tattoo parlor.

Russo said Stratfor Ventures opted to create the studio in part owing to considerable demand from Latin Style’s devoted client base, which he claimed included war veterans and numerous members of the Stratford Police Department.

Stratfour Ventures owns a single-story business facility that features a Subway, a CBD shop, and a cell phone store. The corporation acquired the facility for $1.6 million in 2013, according to local property records.

The tattoo shop will contain three tattoo artist booths that can service up to three clients at a time, according to plans submitted to the town.

Russo has revealed two tattoo artists have already been hired to work at the business. He added the artists have 20 and 25 years of tattoo expertise, respectively, and are able to offer a wide selection of tattoo designs.

Russo has claimed clients will normally schedule appointments with artists before arriving for a consultation or to get tattooed. He noted the studio would run Tuesday through Saturday but will close on Sunday and Monday.

“Tattoos normally take some time, so it’s not a usage that has a lot of turnover during an hour span,” he added. “There’s normally not a ton of walk-ins.”

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