Carrie Rengers

After frustrating search for space, Ol’ Crow Tattoo to move downtown

It’s taken a lot of frustrating searching, but the owners of Ol’ Crow Tattoo have found a spot to move their business just outside of the Old Town protective overlay, which prohibits tattoo shops.

Tom Seifert and Ryan Gould are moving the business to 410 N. Washington, which is the northeast corner of Third and Washington where a big sign says Old Town Trading Post.

“It just puts us more in the scene,” Gould says.

They’ve been on what Seifert calls “the outskirts” at 1927 S. West St. for six years.

“People still ask where we are,” Gould says.

“It’s really hard to find a good building in Wichita,” Seifert says. “Wichita kind of discriminates against tattooing. … They’d much rather have a vintage clothes shop open and close every six months as opposed to a business that everybody wants.”

The shop is currently in an industrial area.

“We just wanted to get into a busier spot,” Seifert says.

He says the business has done well where it’s been but that’s only on the strength of the four tattoo artists in the shop and clientele they’d already built.

“They have just followed us where we went.”

Construction in the area also has been an issue.

“It was a business killer,” Seifert says. “There’s a lot of businesses around here that closed. … It’s just a bad location.”

More than anything, he says, “When everybody thinks of tattooing, they think of downtown.”

That’s where the frustration comes, he says, in the form of city regulations about where tattoo shops can locate.

“It’s been a big pain,” Seifert says. “They make it very difficult.”

Current regulations were established in 1998.

“It is accurate that the city’s regulation is pretty restrictive on where you can locate a facility like that,” says city planning manager Scott Knebel.

“They aren’t permitted in the Central Business District in the downtown area.”

There are also restrictions related to how close tattoo shops can locate to certain things, such as residential areas.

Some tattoo shops have been grandfathered in at the Douglas Design District.

Seifert and Gould had two sites selected in Delano that they say zoning would not permit.

“I’ve had to deal with this for 13 years now,” Seifert says.

“I should be able to work where I want to,” he says. “If you don’t like it, then by all means don’t come into my business.”

The city provided Have You Heard? with zoning and other information related to tattoo shop regulations, but no one addressed the complaints Seifert and Gould have.

“Please keep in mind there are established processes in place for citizens to address statutes, local ordinances and zoning matters,” city spokesman Van Williams said in an e-mail.

Seifert says he’s not going to try to do anything to get the city to change its tattoo regulations.

“No, because they always give us the runaround on it,” he says. “Why try?”

Also, he has a new shop to focus on.

“We want to be open by the end of October.”

Ben Gartner of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Ol’ Crow has previously participated in Final Friday events but not at its shop. Now, the new space will be on the circuit.

“We’re all artists outside of just doing this for work,” Gould says.

“It’ll be nice to be a part of it and not feel left out of everything that’s happening.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers