Local tattoo artist says lack of tourists impacted business

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — All non-essential businesses were shut down at the start of the pandemic, and now those businesses are recovering, including a tattoo shop in Myrtle Beach.

“It’s definitely taken its toll,” James Baker, a tattoo artist at Red Raven Art Company said. “A lot of artists have left and went other places just because the financial setback this has definitely caused.”

The shop had to close for the last few months, but now that they can be open, Baker said they’re taking safety precautions.

“We clean every day, multiple times a day, face masks, we just try to advertise it as much as possible to people who have come in,” Baker said. “If you’ve tested positive of course you can’t come in, reschedule.”

Baker said the safety precautions aren’t just to protect the customers but also the workers.

“I’m a parent so I have smaller children, so it’s not just myself but other artists that have kids, we gotta take extra precautions because we’re dealing with tourists and so many people from other places,” Baker said.

Baker also said the lack of tourists is hurting them as well.

“We still rely on that tourist money also getting tattoos, it’s definitely hit us,” he said. “30 to 40 percent of my income is definitely tourists and it’s putting a burden on it for sure.”

“It’s definitely pushed away a whole lot and here with the governor passing that alcohol stuff being shut down at 11, that’s pushed a lot of people away, that’s stopped a whole lot of people from coming down.” 

With all the setbacks and hardships Baker and the Red Raven Art Company have faced, he still remains optimistic.

“Gotta get up and do what I gotta do and tattoo, that’s all I do is tattoo and that’s what pays the bills and provides for my children.”

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