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Davis, California

Friday, September 24, 2021

Local tattoo shops note decline in business due to COVID-19 pandemic

Tattoo shops changed their business models to adhere to social distancing guidelines

Businesses that pride themselves in creating a unique and personal experience for customers, such as tattoo shops, have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

George Hernandez, the owner of Sacred Tiger Tattoo in Davis, noted how there were slow and busy seasons even before the pandemic. 

“Before the pandemic—with the student population—the business already fluctuated,” Hernandez said. “There was a busy season when the students were here, and when they were gone during summer, it would dip down quite a bit.” 

Chelsey Daskalos, the business manager of Death or Glory Tattoo in Davis, described the spontaneity that came with operating a tattoo shop. 

“It’s always been really fun,” Daskalos said. “Every day is something different. You meet people from all different spectrums and levels.” 

Hernandez explained that when the pandemic began, he faced more difficulties when the county shut down tattoo shops. Since he is self-employed, Hernandez didn’t qualify for unemployment until the policy was changed in late April of 2020. 

“Being an independent business and self-employed, I had no unemployment right off the bat,” Hernandez said. “It was very stressful.”

Daskalos noted the continuous decline in business since the pandemic began. 

“It’s drastically changed our business and our business model to try and acclimate and adjust,” Daskalos said. “Our business has been cut by probably over 30%.”

Cynthia Perez, the manager of Urban Body Piercing & Tattoo in Davis, described the changes made in order to comply with social distancing. 

“We had to drastically cut back on the amount of people we can allow in the building at one time,” Perez said. 

Perez described how other precautions include coming to the appointment alone or only coming with a few guests if they are part of the same household. Walk-in visits are no longer allowed. 

Daskalos added that masks and pre-screening are now necessary for Death or Glory Tattoo prior to a tattoo appointment. As a result of the mask requirement, nose and mouth piercings are no longer allowed, although they were popular among UC Davis students prior to the pandemic. 

Daskalos added a positive note regarding the future of Death or Glory Tattoo.  

“We pride ourselves on carrying on the tradition of tattooing and piercing, to craft something we love, and the people who support us are part of that,” Daskalos said. “In the future, we’re hoping we can get back to that: to working with our community.”

Daskalos emphasized her gratitude for the community’s continued support.

“We’re very thankful for the support from the community,” Daskalos said. “We’ve got such a great community of people who supported us through this. Our business is very word-of-mouth, and without our people, we’re nothing.” 

Hernandez added his own perspective regarding the future of Sacred Tiger Tattoo. 

“I’ve managed to adjust to living with less, so I find that I still have a future here,” Hernandez said. “I’m going to keep it open.” 

Perez reflected on the trajectory of Urban Body Piercing & Tattoo since the pandemic.

“As much as I was a downer about this over the past year, I definitely think that it’s a new beginning for a lot of businesses,” Perez said. “We were able to slow down and kind of refocus where we want the business to go and how we want to continue to provide our services to the public.” 
Written by: Jelena Lapuz — city@theaggie.org


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