Downtown: Toys make way for tattoos in Concord
After almost 80 years as a toy shop, the storefront at the corner of North State and Warren streets will become a tattoo parlor.
Doug Mendoza set up shop next to the former French’s Toy Shop on Warren Street seven years ago. Now, he’s renovating the neighboring store to expand Bona Fide Tattoo into the larger space.
“The new space allows us to have an actual lobby where people can come in and browse the things that we have to offer and talk, and not necessarily disturb artists and their clients,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza walked through the construction scene inside the corner storefront yesterday morning, stepping through the space where the
lobby will emerge from the sawdust. His arms, extended to point here and there, were inked with designs that crawl up under the black sleeves of his T-shirt.
The small shop on Warren Street has little separation for clients who walk in to just talk tattoos and those who are actually in an artist’s chair, Mendoza said.
“That’s a real luxury for us, just having a separation from the public,” he said of the design for the new space.
Back in the dim tattoo studio at 21 Warren Street, Mendoza sat on a metal stool and pointed at some of the drawings on his wall.
“Usually, there’s something going on in a person’s life that leads them to mark their bodies forever,” he said.
And he likes to be a part of that.
“I really enjoy helping a person feel better about themselves,” Mendoza said. “Tattoos really give a tremendous boost to a person’s self esteem.”
There’s no take-backs in tattoos, Mendoza said. That’s part of why he wants more space for clients to talk out their designs with one of the four artists who work at Bona Fide Tattoo.
“I think for everybody, it’s going to allow more one-on-one time with the clients with less distractions,” he said.
If Mendoza had his way, he joked that he would run his tattoo shop out of a secluded shack in the woods without any distractions from the outside world. But he’s doing his best to create a space for his art in the middle of downtown Concord.
“I want a little borough away from the world,” he said
Mendoza is currently renovating the storefront and said he isn’t sure when the new shop will be open.
“We’re just looking at creating a beautiful space that Concord can be proud of,” he said.
He’s toying with the idea of keeping the signature blue-and-yellow paint on the outside, although he hasn’t made a decision yet. But what’s inside the shop will certainly be a change from the former tenants. The storefront opened in 1935 as French’s Radio Shop. New owners reopened the toy shop in 2004 under the French family name, and the business has changed hands several times since.
Most recently, Lori Leitner opened The Toy Shop in 2011. She had also owned The Toy Shop at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, but both locations are now closed. She left the Concord store in late 2013.
Mendoza will be running a very different shop than his predecessors did, but he invited clients to stop in just the same.
“We’re all kind of crowd pleasers,” he said.
Pillsbury Street parking
A vacant Pillsbury Street house could become a parking lot for a nearby office building, if Steve Duprey sways the city’s planning board in his favor next week.
The application from Duprey Acquisitions LLC to the planning board argues in favor of the new parking lot for their tenants in the offices at 2 Pillsbury St. and 30 Pillsbury St. Duprey’s company also owns the house at 46 Pillsbury St., which would be torn down to make way for 32 new spaces.
“The success these tenants have seen in recent years has led to an increased demand for parking,” the application read.
The zoning board first denied Duprey approval last summer when a neighbor raised concerns, but then granted him approval in November. He now needs the planning board to sign off on the plan.
“Nobody likes to be building parking lots, especially when they’re adjacent to residential neighborhoods,” Duprey told the city’s zoning board in July. “We think it’s badly needed.”
The parking lot was on the planning board’s agenda last week, but without a quorum, the meeting was postponed until April 2. The board will meet at 7 p.m. in council chambers.
Public forum for anniversary
The planning committee for Concord’s 250th anniversary in 2015 will host its third public forum Wednesday.
At the meeting, the committee will share details of its kick-off ceremony in June and an update on plans to unearth and open a time capsule buried almost 50 years ago.
The forum will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. in council chambers.
(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)