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Alton Tattoo Co. thriving, owner Kyle Hulker looking to expand to 3rd location – Alton Telegraph

Posted in Tattoo Designs on Sep 03, 2017

ALTON Just a few years ago, tattoo enthusiast Kyle Hulker had no idea he would end up in the business.

I didnt think it was even going to be possible, because I wasnt some kind of art student, Hulker said. I didnt have an art background. But theres a way to learn how to tattoo its like working-class tattoos. Theres a way to do it without being the biggest artist in the world, and you can end up making tattoos look really good.

Now Hulker, an Alton native, stands as the proprietor of two successful tattoo shops one in St. Louis, the other in Alton.

The Alton shop, Alton Tattoo Co., located at 2514 College Ave., won the The Telegraphs the Best of the Best 2016 tattoo shop title.

Im from here, Hulker said. And its always been one of those things where if youre from Alton, you go get tattooed in St. Louis, because there was no great tattoo shops, and I knew that we could make a great tattoo shop for the area.

Hulker employs eight artists in Alton, who along with the shop have been well received, he said.

Just our Facebook, for example, I dont know exactly, but out of 200 reviews, almost everything is a five-star rating, he noted. A lot of positive feedback. A lot of people are just happy that they can get good, clean, well-done tattoos in Alton.

Another indication of success, customers tend to bring repeat business.

We have insane client retention, Hulker said. I very rarely tattoo someone once and dont tattoo them again.

The shops artists do anywhere from five to 30 tattoos a day and clients come in for all sorts of reasons. Some want a small (or a large) memorial tattoo, others want to mark a significant life event. Some designs have little meaning, but look cool.

Hulkers team prides themselves in figuring out the puzzle of location on the human body that a tattoo will look the best, and how to fit body art on people who already have a number of tattoos.

People that dont know a ton about tattoos, we show them whats possible, Hulker said. Like, if youre a banker and you go to work and you deal with banking stuff all day, you dont know the possibilities of tattoos. So we might tell you an idea we have, and kind of talk to you about it, and before they leave theyre already making a plan for that idea.

Hulker who also owns a candy store down the street called Sherrys Snacks said his business plans include more tattoo shops. He intends to open a third Alton location in the near future. The next one also will feature a barber shop operated by a friend. This is one more way to improve his hometown, Hulker said.

Its basically something for the neighborhood, he said. Im always looking to improve a neighborhood, with a candy shop, or classy tattoo shop, or whatever it is. Im always trying to leave the neighborhood better than I found it.

From left, tattoo artists Jeremy Baker, Kayla White, Kyle Hulker, Autumn Santoni and (bottom) Megan Indelicato keep busy giving local patrons high-quality ink jobs. Shop dog Fran keeps them company.

Reach Alex Heeb at 618-208-6451 or on Twitter @alexheebs.

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Alton Tattoo Co. thriving, owner Kyle Hulker looking to expand to 3rd location – Alton Telegraph

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