Tattoo ministry nearly ready to open in Oswego
By Jenette Sturges email@example.com February 28, 2013 5:56PM
Brendan Nelson, 20, of Yorkville helps out at the new Ink 180 tattoo shop in Oswego on Tuesday, February 26, 2013. Nelson is a friend of owner Chris Baker and is helping him lay the tile along with other tasks to get the shop ready for opening day. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:02AM
OSWEGO — Chris Baker’s dream of transforming lives through his body art is getting a little closer to reality.
The Oswego Village Board has unanimously approved a permit for Ink 180, the new home of Baker’s ministry and the village’s first tattoo parlor.
Baker said the shop, set for 27 Stone Hill Road in Oswego, is close to completion. He hopes to open St. Patrick’s weekend.
“We are getting really close on all the construction stuff,” Baker said.
Flooring has arrived, the tile work is nearly finished, and the painting is done. A friend is offering his services to install new counter top pro bono.
“Now it’s the fun stuff, putting pictures on the wall, the health department inspection and all that,” Baker said.
For a couple years, Baker has been working with law enforcement agencies to provide cover-up tattoos for former gang members, free of charge. The cover-up work helps former members leave the gang lifestyle and avoid judgment and further violence.
In the past year, Baker has also expanded his mission to the victims of human trafficking, who are often tattooed with barcodes to be marked as the property of pimps.
The shop in Oswego, Baker hopes, will help to support the ministry, offsetting the thousands of dollars he spends on ink, supplies and space rental for the hundreds of victims he helps in a year.
“I’ve been renting space out of different shops in the city, and doing some work at law enforcement facilities, too,” he said. “So this will be really nice, not having to pay for space rental.”
Baker said the Oswego community has been very welcoming to him and his mission. Trustees stumbled over each other to second the motion that will allow him the permit to open the shop in the village. He has already joined the Oswego Chamber of Commerce, and even the Kendall County Health Department contacted Baker to guide him as he opens the shop.
“I think our message has really gotten out about what we’re doing,” Baker said. “People have been really supportive.
“There’s always a couple people who are not into tattoos, who don’t know what we’re about, but the community, all the businesses have been very supportive, very excited for us to come in.”