‘No time to cry about it’: Grimm Tattoo open for business days after devastating fire

Grimm Tattoo still standing after a fire damaged their entire block. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

Grimm Tattoo is open and looking for business only days after a fire wiped out their parlor. While they aren’t entirely back up and running as they were before, Wes Grimm and his team have already rented a new space and are taking appointments.

The new space should be open by the end of the week, and it will be the go-to place until their storefront is fixed. Currently, they are taking appointments through the Bert Grimm Tattoo Museum, but phones should be up for the tattoo parlor by the end of the day.

“There just hasn’t been time to cry,” Wes Grimm says as he lists off everything that he needs to do, wasting no time getting the rebuilding started. He’s all business in his black cowboy hat and bolo-tie, refusing to stop working even as a huge chunk of his family’s legacy sits smoldering in front of him.

Grimm Tattoo artists painted the outside of the parlor to let everyone know that they are still open for business. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

He says the inside has been repainted and points out that a few of the artists made signs out of the boards on the outside of the building to let everyone know they’re “still here, just around the corner.” Their biggest focus now is purchasing all new equipment and furniture to replace what was lost. 

David Gant, a tattoo artist at Grimm Tattoo, started a GoFundMe, to give Kansas-Citians a chance to contribute to the reconstruction. In the past three days, they have raised over $15,000–a testament to how beloved they are in the community. However, Grimm says the best way to help is to keep them busy by coming in for tattoos.

The Bert Grimm Tattoo Museum, which was opened in 2020, was spared from the fire and has a small team of artists ready to work. The museum is a monument to legendary tattoo artist Bert Grimm, and celebrates the history of tattooing in the United States–a topic that has been largely under-researched and undocumented.

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Thankfully, all of the artifacts that Grimm had collected from Bert, his family and other tattoo artists are intact. However, newspaper clippings and photos that hung in the parlor memorializing Grimm Tattoo’s more than 40-year history in KC were lost.

The back of the parlor shows the amount of damage that was done during the fire. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

“We still have the history, just not the documentation,” Grimm says. “Sometimes you just have to go through this before you can grow.”

Before the fire, Grimm Tattoo was on the hunt for a larger space to house both the parlor and museum, but this won’t slow their efforts to get the original location to its former glory. 

The phone for the parlor [(816) 931-0244] is expected to be back up by the end of today, but the phone number for the museum [(816) 514-6148] is ready and waiting for customers. Walk-ins are also welcome every day of the week.

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