Homewood Welcomes Ink-N-Um Tattoos & Body in a Grand Unveiling


Homewood witnessed a burst of creative energy as Ink-N-Um Tattoos & Body, the second tattoo parlor in the town, marked its grand opening with a vibrant ribbon-cutting celebration on November 29.

The driving force behind this artistic venture is owner Bob Garrity, a longtime resident of Homewood with a vision to bring his Calumet City tattoo shop closer to his hometown. Thanks to robust community support and recent adjustments in zoning regulations, the dream materialized at 18661 Dixie Highway.

Embracing the spirit of individuality, Ink-N-Um has adorned its space with mock street signs proudly declaring the intersection of Piercing Blvd. and Tattoo Ave. Wooden masks collected by Garrity during his travels and from various tattoo conventions embellish the shop, alongside hand-painted Ink-N-Um signs crafted by the owner.

Garrity reflects on the changing landscape of social norms, citing the increasing acceptance of tattoos as a significant boon for his business. He recalls when tattoo shops weren’t legal in Indiana, where his tattooing journey began, until 1997.

Homewood mayor Rich Hofeld holds scissors after cutting the blue ribbon at the Ink-N-Um grand opening celebration on Nov. 29. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Homewood mayor Rich Hofeld, proper, holds scissors after cutting the blue ribbon at the Ink-N-Um grand opening celebration on November 29. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

“When I started 30 years ago, people frowned upon it,” Garrity reminisces. Tattoos were once associated with specific demographics, but societal perceptions have evolved considerably.

Acknowledging that specific employment scenarios still carry a tattoo stigma, Garrity remains optimistic about the ongoing shift in mindset. “I think the acceptance has gotten a lot wider, a lot greater. I think people now know it won’t change you as a person. It’s not going to change your work,” he remarks.

In the landscape of Homewood, the presence of Ink-N-Um in Southgate Shopping Center alongside Big Brothers Tattoo in Cherry Creek signifies a departure from the past. Garrity sees this as a positive trend, emphasizing that some towns still uphold outdated restrictions due to lingering stereotypes, yet the tide is turning.

Owner Bob Garrity inside of his office at Ink-N-Um Tattoo's new home in Homewood. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

The owner showcased Ink-N-Um’s tattoo station to Homewood government officials, offering insights into the artistry and the meticulous sterilization processes. “Everything gets wrapped up. It’s single-use,” Garrity emphasizes, showcasing the blue wrapping material. “You wrap it over the chair. You have to cover pretty much everything.”

Homewood Trustee Jay Heiferman engaged in nostalgic conversations with Garrity, reminiscing about the town in the 1990s. Mayor Rich Hofeld admired Ink-N-Um, noting its positive impact on the Southgate and Homewood communities.

Hofeld recalls Garrity’s proposal to relocate Ink-N-Um to downtown Homewood around 15 years ago, an idea thwarted by zoning laws. However, with changing regulations, the opportunity finally arose in Southgate, and Garrity seized it eagerly.

Garrity is the sole artist at Ink-N-Um, but he envisions involving local artists in the future. Plans include featuring local artists’ work in the waiting room, with rotating displays every six months, enhancing the creative tapestry of Ink-N-Um Tattoos & Body.

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