BY VANESSA LANGDON
For Your Niskayuna
SCHENECTADY — Upper Union Street is hoping to up its youthful appeal with the opening of I&I Tattoo.
The location of the new tattoo parlor, at 1743 Union St. next to the Stewart’s, caught owner Chad Foster’s eye when he wasn’t even looking.
“I was driving by this spot for the last year driving my kids back and forth to day care and I finally stopped in,” Foster said. “After I saw the ceilings I knew I had to be in here.”
The ceilings are intricate with a copper design that was the base for what Foster then took months creating — his own unique aesthetic. The deep red wall, mustard yellow wall, some brick, and dark wood floors are topped off with a waterfall to the left of the door, making the experience of getting tattooed there something different than the rough-tough atmosphere some might expect. He believes that the decor will be the calling card that sets I&I apart from other shops, and that the artistry and pride will be what keeps people coming back.
The shop was full of chatter and guest Feb. 3 for the ribbon cutting ceremony with Foster, his wife and two children. Among the crowd were tattoo lovers and fellow upper Union Street business owners.
“It’s great to see a young person who’s got a passion in what they do and turning it into a business, it takes a lot of courage,” said Scott Osswald of the Capital Region Chamber.
Osswald was on hand at the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of a business he says will add to the already-strong shopping district by adding its own element.
The area is excited about the emergence of something different, that may bring yet another demographic to the area.
“What this shop is going to bring is the younger demographic,” said Madelyn Thorne, co-executive director of the Upper Union Street Business Improvement District. “They’re going to come to get artistry from Chad and his employees and it will bring new energy.”
Thorne believes that the new business will only help patronage grow at all the small businesses on Union Street by attracting college students who will then stop into the other stores in the area.
Local officials are optimistic about what the business can do for the city of Schenectady. City Council President Leesa Perazzo attended the event on behalf of the mayor and read a proclamation to the crowd.
“The mayor does hereby proclaim Feb. 3, 2016, I&I Tattoo day in the city of Schenectady,” she said.
On their official day, Foster and his daughter worked together to cut the symbolic ribbon and then they and their guests shared in cookies and, for those of age, champagne.
The move offers Foster a chance to grow his business. He has already hired three new artists to work alongside him. At his previous location, off the beaten path at 707 Kings Road, he worked strictly through referrals and by appointment.
“Demand got too high to handle,” Foster said of the necessity of the move.
He has worked in the tattoo industry for 10 years, working first at various area parlors and then opening his own two years ago. While learning the art of tattooing, he worked as a teaching assistant in a special education classroom.
Foster hopes to continue to grow his business and make back his investment. He plans on using the space to host paint and sip events in the future to further invite people into the shop. The location, he believes, will help him to accomplish those goals.
“It’s one of the last good locations with a lot of small businesses and people walking around,” said Foster. “There’s a lot of pride.”