First ever tattoo shop opens in Kinston

A new tattoo shop is open today in Kinston – the first one the city’s ever had. We stopped by the shop to talk with city leaders and business owners.

“Happy to be downtown, happy to be back in Kinston. It’s a big move,” said owner Brandon Corey.

House of Ink has taken over an empty storefront. Brandon Corey was the previous owner of a Greenville shop with the same name. However, he had to close it down due to health problems in 2021.

“I was in the hospital with Covid, and I had Covid pneumonia,” he said. “I was told that I would need a ventilator, and if I hit the ventilator I more or less wasn’t coming home.”

He was able to recover and regain his passion for owning a tattoo shop near home. The new shop at 111 North Queen Street holds Kinston’s first tattoo shop. It is located due to a united ordinance against them. One that had to be overcome.

“It was basically an ordinance change, so to speak, or zoning type of change that we made, and it was for the good,” said Mayor Don Hardy.

Corey intends to make the space more than just for tattoos and piercings.

“When you come by the shop, it’s not gonna be your average tattoo studio,” said Corey. “We are going to feature art from local artists, whether it be paintings, photography, different forms of art.”

Zac Holcomb’s storefront is a short walk away. He stated that any downtown addition will boost the surrounding businesses.

“You get more people walking in front of these storefronts, the value of them goes up. More people are gonna see the value there, and more people are gonna wanna rent these spaces,” said Holcomb.

Hardy hopes their opening inspires other entrepreneurs to take a look at the area.

“I’m excited to see that and excited to see him pull folks downtown, and we look forward to filling those empty spaces that are adjacent to him,” Hardy said.

The shop will open every day from Wednesday through Saturday from noon to eight o’clock in the afternoon.

Corey is renting the space and stated that he’s also looking to rent spots on either side.

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