New tattoo parlor to emphasize art with local gallery

A new tattoo parlor, Pink Raven Tattoos, is set to open its doors at 55 Beekman Street in the heart of Saratoga Springs, on September 6th.

Owners Chris DiBase and Doug Gruse settled on the location after being turned away from their planned locale of Glen Falls.

DiBase will be the onsite tattoo artist, with the help and support of his husband Gruse.

The shop will also house a gallery space for artists, and they plan to have monthly shows highlighting the art.

“Our concept is to create an inviting space with an emphasis on art.” Gruse writes me in an email, “We don’t want to be the bad boys of tattoos. We plan to welcome a diverse range of clients, including women and the LGBT community.”

DiBase and Gruse are certainly doing local artists in the area a favor by not charging hanging fees or taking commissions from sales. By not relying on the sales from the art, the owners hope to make the gallery a place where artists feel free to push their boundaries.

Another gratifying aspect of their business model is “Charitable Caws,” a program where they will partner with local nonprofits for a month. Any customer who mentions an affiliation with that month’s charity will have ten percent of their spending’s donated back to the charity. Saratoga Arts is their first partnership.

For more information, check out Pink Raven Tattoos on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pinkraventattoos

-- Caitlin Morris 


"At this point in time, we are not creating another Wheatfields"

The owner of Wheatfields in Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park said today that reports a deal is finalized for him to open a new location in Malta's Ellsworth Commons are extremely premature. 

Tim Holmes, who owns both locations with his wife, Colleen, and several development partners, said that while he is always considering new business opportunities, there is no done deal right now. "At this point in time we are not creating another Wheatfields," he said. 

"We're very happy with the two that we have in Clifton Park and Saratoga, they're performing well, and we are always looking at sites for business opportunities throughout the Capital Region," he added.

The Holmes have owned the Saratoga Springs Wheatfields since 2004, but the Broadway restaurant will celebrate its 25th anniversary in April. The pair opened their Clifton Park location in 2009. 

Both the Business Review and the Daily Gazette reported on the possible plans this week.

The question of which businesses will fill in the 68,000 square feet of available retail space in the retail/residential complex on Route 9 has been a hot topic for several months. 

In June, on her blog SaratogaMama.com, Malta resident Colleen Pierre took a close look at Ellsworth Commons and the promise it held to create a "downtown" Malta and the failure, thus far, for that concept to launch. It's a very worthwhile read, find it here.


Rumor patrol: Northshire Books still interested in Saratoga, deal not done yet

Just spoke to Chris Morrow of Northshire Books and he said he is "still quite interested" in opening a Spa City location -- possibly at the former home of Borders Bookstore on Broadway -- but he is still very much in the planning and fundraising stage of things. We got a tip last night that the deal had been inked, but that is premature, Morrow said.
The reaction from Saratogians to the possibility of the Manchester, VT-based bookstore opening a Saratoga location has been overwhelmingly positive, Morrow said. "People have been incredibly enthusiastic."
Morrow said he's also aware of the two facebook groups dedicated to bringing Northshire to Saratoga. Here's one and here's the other. 



Pope's Pizza open for business

Pope's Pizza, which closed suddenly Friday, Aug. 10, is open for business once again.
An employee who answered the phone at the Washington Street store this afternoon said they opened at 10 a.m. today. She said the owner decided to close to do some repairs to the building. 
"He just decided to close down that day and we had everything fixed up and now we're open," she said.

-- Emily 


Pink Raven Tattoos, catering to women, to open in Saratoga, not Glens Falls

A new tattoo parlor will be making its way into Saratoga Springs, at 55 Beekman Street. The new shop, Pink Raven Tattoos, is set to open the first week of September, courtesy of local tattoo artist Chris DiBiase and his husband, Doug Gruse.

The parlor will be geared mostly towards women although all genders are welcome.

The location for the shop was up in the air for a time, finally landing in Saratoga Springs after getting less than a warm reception in nearby Glen Falls.

In a Post Star column by Will Doolittle, the trials of finding a building to house a tattoo shop are recounted. Click here to read Doolittle's column (warning: it's behind a paywall)

DiBiase and Gruse were on the brink of signing a lease with Christina Kaidas, whose family owns the Ridge Street building that houses a gift shop, Sterling & Co. and clothing boutique, Minky Mink. Kaidas backed out of the agreement, citing the concerns of her family and the owner of Minky Mink, Shonna McTiernan.

After being turned away from the Ridge Street building, DiBiase and Gruse tried their luck at the Shirt Factory building on Lawrence Street--- and almost won. The couple was one day away from signing the lease when certain provisions were suddenly added to the lease. Two of those provisions were no signs outside the building that used the words “tattoo” or “body art” and no tattooing between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. For DiBiase and Gruse, these provisions were understandably deal-breakers.

After the hassle with Glen Falls, Pink Raven Tattoos have found a place to land in Saratoga Springs. I hope their new shop is greeted with the kindness and open-mindedness our neighbors in Glen Falls lack. 

-- Caitlin Morris

Kudos to blogger Citizen Nancy for having the first report of this new tattoo parlor. 


What's going on with Pope's Pizza?

This is everythign reporter Paul Post has been able to dig up on the mysterious closure of Pope's Pizza... it's not much, if you've got more info or can put us in touch with the owner, leave a comment.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A sign on the front door of Pope’s Pizza, at 230-232 Washington St., says, "Closed until further notice."
However, workmen sprucing up the building’s exterior, say the business will reopen this Tuesday.
The Italian eatery has been closed since last Friday, Aug. 10.
Owner Paul Amato could not immediately be reached for comment.

— By Paul Post


Just Plain Good now Mountainman Saratoga Outfitters

The name -- and some of the inventory -- has changed at a Broadway store.
What was Just Plain Good -- a purveyor of "Life is Good" t-shirts and accessories among other outdoorsy stuff -- is now Mountainman Saratoga Outfitters -- a purveyor of much more clothing, shoes and outdoor lifestyle gear.
Store manager Andy Getty said the store is a division of Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co., which is located in Old Forge, NY and is the state's largest canoe and kayak retailer.
The Saratoga location now offers lifestyle brands like Patagonia, Royal Robbins, Mountain Khaki and Horny Toad.
Customers "can come to us to buy something they would've had to go online for or get from a big-box store," Getty said.

-- Emily

Fusion salon moving off Broadway

Fusion salon is moving from its Broadway location to a bigger location on Division Street over Labor Day weekend.
Manager Jessica Ianoue said the salon has outgrown its current location at 512 Broadway. The new location — the former home of Frivolous Boutique, which moved to the former Shoe Depot on Broadway — will accommodate 9 stations as opposed to the 6 the salon now has. The new location will also allow the salon to add two treatment rooms in which they plan to offer waxing and massages. The new location also offers big improvement when it comes to parking with two parking garages on Woodlawn Avenue.
Jessica said the move will occur over Labor Day Weekend, but that will be a soft opening and a grand opening will likely be held in October.
The salon's current Broadway location is now available for lease and is listed with Roohan Realty.

-- Emily

Northshire Books planning move to Saratoga... (updated 8/6)

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The owner of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT confirmed Wednesday that he is seriously considering opening a second location in the Spa City.
Chris Morrow said the plan is still very much tentative, but the former location of Borders Bookstore on Broadway is among the locations he has looked at. (Borders closed in April 2011 and the Broadway storefront has been vacant since then.)
Morrow said he was not at liberty, yet, to discuss other locations under consideration.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of coming to Saratoga,” he said.
Morrow said Saratoga is a natural spot for a second Northshire for several reasons including proximity to Skidmore College, SPAC, and the City Center. Also, “there seems to be a well-educated, well-to-do populous that would be interested in what we have to offer.”
Of course, he also cited GlobalFoundries. It seems every business, however large or small, sees GloFo as a big reason to head to the Spa.
“Saratoga has a tremendous amount going for it,” Morrow said.
Morrow said he’s fielded numerous requests via email from city residents who want him to open a Saratoga location. Their wishes may soon be coming true.
As an independently-owned bookstore, Northshire offers a different experience than chain bookstores, Morrow said. “Being a local store with on-site ownership, we have much more flexibility in terms of how and what we do with the community,” he said. “Our choice of product is not dictated by far-off corporate headquarters.”
Though it’s locally-owned, Morrow said Northshire isn’t immune from the challenges that forced Borders’ closure. “The advent of the electronic book has challenged all brick and mortar bookstores and clearly had a role to play in Borders’ demise,” he said. “You have to adapt and be nimble at what you do.”
I put a call into the owner of the Borders building, Myron Hunt, as well as the Downtown Business Association and will update this if I hear back from them. 
Saratoga Springs does already have an independently-owned bookstore, of course. Lyrical Ballad on Phila Street celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. 

-- Emily

Update (6:30 p.m. Aug. 6):
Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, reached out to me today with a little more info on the chamber's efforts to woo Northshire to come to Saratoga. (He was out of town when I called last week)
He writes:

"We first met with Chris last fall. He called us and we set him up with a couple of local retailers - - Mare Barker and Linda Ambrosino - - in our conference room. We’ve been in touch since then helping them to gather data about our region’s economy as well as local attractions. We’ve introduced him to many other local leaders since that time to help him understand the local trends and opportunities. The best example is Phil Glotzbach at Skidmore College. Besides a movie theater, the opportunity to attract a family-owned bookstore, like Northshire’s, to Broadway responds to a significant need and I believe will be a huge success. I know how difficult it is for any bookstore to succeed but bringing together Saratoga Springs and Northshire is perhaps the best combination to beat the odds that I can think of. That’s why when Chris has called or emailed or stopped by we’ve done EVERYTHING we could to help him."