Emerald Buddha Tattoo

Ben Johnson, co-owner of Emerald Buddha Tattoo, gives a tattoo to Stephen Grisez, of Plattville, Wis., at the Galena, Ill., tattoo shop on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from Galena, Ill., we will highlight developments from Dubuque in Tuesday’s edition.

A new tattoo studio in Galena aims to give customers a one-of-a-kind experience.

Emerald Buddha Tattoo opened its doors at 123 N. Bench St. in mid-May.

“Everything we do is custom. We design every tattoo from scratch,” co-owner Ben Johnson said. “With some tattoo places, you go in and pick your tattoo out of a book. We want to make sure you don’t end up walking around with the same tattoo as others.”

Johnson said there are three full-time tattoo artists, one full-time piercer and two full-time apprentices at Emerald Buddha. The group aims to foster a family environment at the business, another quality that Johnson believes helps his studio stand apart from others.

“A lot of tattoo shops have a reputation for not being the friendliest,” he said. “We focus a lot on kindness and customer service here.”

Johnson co-owns Emerald Buddha with Erik Rohner, the latter of whom also owns Ye Old Tattoo Shoppe in Platteville, Wis. Johnson said the Platteville shop is considered a sister location to the Galena one, noting that many workers and clients go back and forth between the two.

A few weeks after opening, Johnson is more excited than ever about the potential of the Galena market. He said Emerald Buddha was open to walk-ins only during its first weekend to make sure staff could focus on local residents who stopped into the facility. Johnson called that weekend a “smashing success” and said it was a great opportunity to connect with the area population.

Galena’s standing as a top tourist destination is also a boon to business, with Johnson noting that many out-of-town customers schedule a tattoo or piercing appointment as part of their multi-day stay in town.

He believes his shop will benefit from the new “cannabis tourism” coming to Galena as well.

Emerald Buddha Tattoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The business can be reached at 563-776-0500.

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