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After four decades in Arlington, Rick’s Tattoo is moving to Bailey’s Crossroads

Rick’s Tattoo on Langston Blvd is moving at the end of the month.

The long-time Arlington tattoo parlor, self-described as the oldest in Virginia, was established in 1980 at 4818 Langston Blvd.

Manager Amy Barrow, who is overseeing the move after 16 years at the tattoo shop, says leaving Arlington — the shop is moving just over the county line to Bailey’s Crossroads — is bittersweet but there were more options, for less money, outside the county.

“Finding a place that meets our needs for as big as we need was difficult,” she said. “There was not much available.”

Rent was expensive and, anticipating plans to redevelop in a few years, some property owners are only offering shorter leases. Barrow instead wanted to find a new location for years to come.

She settled on a storefront in a shopping center in Bailey’s Crossroads at 5916 Leesburg Pike, up the road from a large shopping center where Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike intersect. The new digs are on the ground floor and have ample parking — both steps up from the current second-floor studio with limited parking spots shared with other businesses.

“We’re just raising the bar, getting to code, and getting ready to ride out another 15 years in a new location,” she said.

Everything entailed with moving — finding contractors, getting permits and dealing with supply chain issues — has prolonged the move. Barrow began looking for a new place in April 2022.

“It’s been challenging,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot [about] how to build a business from the ground floor.”

As for Rick Cherry, the owner of the eponymous shop, he lives in Florida now, traveling the country to tattoo expos and demonstrating his handmade tattooing implements, according to the website for the business.

Over the years, his establishment has racked up recognitions, which hang on available wall space, greeting customers. That reception is a far cry from the cool treatment Cherry got from Arlington when he opened, however.

For the first five years, the county would not let him have a sign outside the door, says Barrow.

“Arlington County did not want him in town,” she said. “He kept them in court for five years. Finally he was able to put a sign on the door. And here we are.”

Hat tip to Buzz McClain

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