KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – A new business is opening its doors in the city of Kinston, the first regulated tattoo parlor on the main street.

This comes after years of ordinances in place preventing tattoo shops from operating downtown.

House of Ink Tattoo Studio owner Brandon Corey said they’re looking forward to helping people express themselves one stroke of the needle at a time, all while bringing a new business to the area. 

Back in the 1990s, Kinston had a tattoo shop along Queen Street before they were regulated by the state. Prior ordinances prevented them from opening downtown.

“The city ordinance stated that a tattoo parlor could not operate within 500 feet and have a place of worship or a place of residence,” said Brandon Corey, owner of House of Ink. “Historically, we’re the first regulated tattoo studio in the 26 block downtown district of Kinston.”

That ordinance was changed by the city council a few months back.

“We want to be innovative, we want to do something different, you know, in the year 2023,” said Mayor Dontario Hardy. “So we gotta make sure we’re putting people in places where we can draw even more people in based upon what we have.”

Now, people are able to ink themselves with traditional, black and gray, or realist pieces in the heart of Kinston all while highlighting other local artists.

“It’s going to be an outlet for artists, not just tattoo artists, but for our resident artists here local to North Carolina,” Corey added. “To actually put some art on display and whether it be paintings, or photography, drawings, or anything of that sort.”

For more information on Kinston’s House of Ink Tattoo Studio, click here.