Customize your tattoo at new Berthoud shop

Courtesy Photo – Mike O’Neil, co-owner of Mountain Avenue Tattoo, stands May 28 outside his and his wife Julie’s new tattoo studio in downtown Berthoud.

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

Longmont business owners Mike and Julie O’Neil opened a second tattoo studio May 19 in Berthoud to keep their tattoo artists busy—and to offer Berthoud a place to get tattoos, custom designs and piercings.

The O’Neils, owners of Main Street Tattoo at 720 Main St., continued the street name theme for their Berthoud studio, Mountain Avenue Tattoo. They located it in leased space at 441 Mountain Ave. in the former Hale & Bradford Distillery Tasting Room.

“The reason we opened the Berthoud store was due to COVID-19,” Mike O’Neil said. “That allows us to have two artists in Berthoud and the rest of the artists in Longmont, so everybody can continue to make a living in a full-time way instead of a part-time way.”

Main Street Tattoo, which opened in 2000, temporarily closed March 19 to May 9 in accordance with the state’s stay-at-home/safer-at-home orders and on May 10 was allowed under Boulder County’s restrictions to open at limited capacity.

Prior to the state orders, the O’Neils wanted to expand into a second location either in Longmont or Berthoud and had considered purchasing the Hale & Bradford building. In early May, they got a call from the building owner about leasing the building, so they moved in sooner than planned and will decide later this summer whether to stay, doing things like painting the building the store’s colors of black and red, Mike said.

In the meantime, the O’Neils painted the building’s interior, installed vinyl flooring and brought in tattooing and piercing equipment.  

“Because of how Berthoud is growing at such a fast pace, we thought it would be a good idea,” Mike commented, adding that he and Julie made a decision for the second location sooner than they had planned.

The two stores have six tattoo artists, including Mike, while Julie provides the piercings and operates the Longmont store and Mike, the Berthoud store.

The stores offer walk-in services and services by appointment for tattoo work. Tattoos can be created from the flash designs in-house or made custom, using a concept or drawing from the customer that the artist then crafts into tattoo art.

“We work with people to come up with the designs,” Mike said. “The trend for some time is they come in with an idea, or a sketch on paper, then we take it from there and draw something that they like or that’s suitable for a tattoo.”

Tattoos can take anywhere from an hour to several, depending on the complexity of the design and the area covered, such as sleeves or a back. More elaborate designs usually require a consultation with the design and tattooing work done at a later date. Simpler designs can be done on the spot.

“What sets us apart from other studios is the high quality of artists that we have,” Mike said. “Everyone is top of their game. … We respect and enjoy working with people and making them happy.”

Tattoos serve as a form of expression but also can be a way to cover up scars, burns and birthmarks, Mike said. They also can be created as a memorial for someone, he said.

“People like the expression of it,” Mike explained. “Even though a lot of people are getting tattoos, it’s an individual thing. It kind of separates you from everybody else in a way.”

Mike got into the art form because he loves working with people.

“My satisfaction honestly comes from the look on people’s faces when they look at their finished tattoo,” Mike said. “They light up and smile. I have people tear up over tattoos.”

The Longmont studio provides ear and body piercings for children and adults—a service the O’Neils plan to start offering in Berthoud on a weekly basis. The other artists will come up once a week to work in Berthoud, and Mike will be there every day.

The studio in Berthoud is open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. It is considered a sister shop to the Longmont studio, so appointments are handled through the Longmont number at 303-651-6112. For more information about both locations, visit www.720mainstreetattoo.com.

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