The biggest question that comes with opening a tattoo parlor in Bingen is the same one that faces all new businesses: Will there be enough demand to fuel success?
Dan Betz, owner of Pop's Place, is betting that there will be.
"I think the interest is here," Betz said. "A lot of people travel to Portland to have this done."
Betz, who lives in Hood River, opened Pop's Place on Aug. 11, and he said initial indications are positive.
"We've been getting three or four people a day, and we haven't done much advertising yet, just put some flyers around town," he explained. "There are no shops like this in the mid-Columbia region. Portland is the closest place to go. People are coming in and looking around and scheduling appointments.
Betz pointed out that one of the reasons he chose Bingen is because of the lower rents as compared to Hood River.
"The availability of a building and the rent helped," he said.
Pop's Place, referred to as the "tattoo and body piercing studio of the Gorge," is located in the Struck Building at 114 W. Steuben in Bingen. Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
"I thought there might be a need, so I thought I'd give it a shot and see. There may not be," he laughed.
Betz said customers can walk in or set up an appointment, whichever they prefer.
"We like appointments, because we can have designs ready for them, but walk-ins are welcome," he said.
Depending on the work being done, a tattoo can require anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, with costs ranging from $40 on up.
Betz has spent the past year and a half apprenticing in the tattoo business in North Carolina. While there, he met Joe Harris and Autumn Sigulinsky. Harris is a tattoo artist with five years of experience, while Sigulinsky handles body piercing.
Harris and Sigulinsky came back to Oregon to work as partners in the Pop's Place venture, adding expertise and variety to the enterprise.
Piercing ranges from $25 to $70, depending on the body part being pierced.
Betz also plans to bring in guest tattoo experts from North Carolina on a periodic basis.
"A lot of them award-wining artists," he explained.
For more information, call Pop's Place at 493-4409.