ONE YEAR GONE | Welch is back in business at Town’s End Tattoo – Port Townsend Leader

After a long shut-down, the busy buzz of tattoo machines can be heard reverberating though Towns End Tattoo once again.

It was scary, admitted Clae Welch, the shops owner and one of its tattoo artists.

We didnt know what was going to happen, he said.

Welch was worried the closure would mean something serious for his business in the long-run.

It was the first time I had ever experienced a government-mandated closure. And especially for a business like tattooing, you start to really get worried because theres inherent health risks.

But fortunately were back open, Welch said.

Because of requirements that restrict service to walk-in customers, the tattooing business has been limited. Welch said not being able to take walk-ins was damaging.

Local support and a loyal client base have been saviors for Towns End, however.

Were very lucky in that way, he said.

Return customers kept making appointments and working on their pieces of body art, Welch said.

The community is very loyal to us, he assured.

A fine artist outside of tattooing, Welch spent his down time creating.

Art is not just what we do for a living, its what we prefer to do anyway, he said.

During this time of closure and isolation, there has been a lot of uncertainty for everyone and Welch was no exception.

We have a necessity to be open, he said. Once weve invested all of our family income into a small business, it needs to be open.

Like many, he has not seen any government assistance for his business.

My biggest takeaway is that our county offices and their egregious needs for tax money are needing to be reformed, he added.

When asked for any upside hes seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, Welch was hard pressed for an answer.

I would have a hard time placing that. But I think, maybe, that we know that we can still get through pretty extreme conditions and that sort of confidence in our resilience has helped our continuing motivation for the future and our future goals.

On the horizon, Welch sees his business only growing from here.

Ive been in business doing tattoos for almost 30 years and its always gotten busier, he said.

COVID may have slowed that down for the time being, but as an industry it will get busier and more popular and just continue to do that.

It always has done that and it always will do that, he added.

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ONE YEAR GONE | Welch is back in business at Town's End Tattoo - Port Townsend Leader

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