Since I made the move down to the South Jersey region, I joined a band called BlackOcean, who was based out of Vineland, NJ. On my way home from rehearsals, I would drive by this old firehouse on South Main Road. It wasn’t until recently that I found out, this old firehouse was actually a tattoo shop! In fact, it’s called South Vineland’s Firehouse Tattoo. How cool and weird is that? It’s an old firehouse that was turned into a tattoo shop and I’ve been driving past it this whole time. From a marketing standpoint, what an amazing idea for shop! Only problem is unless you know the shop is there, you just think it’s a firehouse.
I had to see this place, so I drove over to the shop one day after work to take a look for myself. As you walk up the stairs, you really can’t believe that you’re walking into a real authentic firehouse. I walked into the waiting area, which was extremely open and equipped with a leather couch, a pool table, an air-hockey table and a flat screen TV with old photos and other firehouse memorabilia decorating the walls. It really felt like the firehouse lounging space for the firefighters. The only thing missing was the fire pole.
I was introduced to the shop’s owner, Joseph Letizia (a.k.a., Joey English), who opened the shop back in July 2013. The story behind South Vineland’s Firehouse Tattoo is actually pretty interesting. It turns out, Joe is actually the grandson of fire chief Joseph Letizia Sr., who used to run Vineland Fire Company Number 2, which is where South Vineland’s Firehouse Tattoo stands today. Fire Company Number 2 stood at 2721 South Main Road in Vineland for almost 75 years before it closed its doors and moved to a larger, more modern station in 2004. The younger Letizia, a tattoo artist, saw the little used station as the perfect home for his own business, plus it gave him a chance to keep the shop “in the family.” Today, his grandfather’s brass-bladed axe and fireman’s helmet are displayed in a glass casing at the entrance of the shop as a tribute.
The older Letizia, who was fire chief from 1985 until 1999, was thrilled that the station house was still in use by his own grandson. Joe told me that his parents were even married in the firehouse when they still used it as a hall. So, basically, this firehouse has been handed down from generation to generation, which makes this place extra special.
Beyond the open-spaced waiting room that has you completely mesmerized by the historical firehouse artifacts is where all the buzzing of tattoo needles is coming from. There is a half wall and behind the half wall are tattoo stations where all the magic happens that houses Joe and his three artists—Jared Smalley, Mark Sunday Jr. and Jason Courter. All artists are local dudes who worked at other tattoo studios in South Jersey before joining Joe Letizia at South Vineland’s Firehouse Tattoo.
When I asked Joe why I would choose his shop to get my next tattoo, he told me, “We believe that all tattoo shops should offer their clients a one-of-a-kind custom tattoo. We also know that to make a client’s experience the best, they need to be as comfortable as possible during their tattoo procedure. We have worked hard to create a very unique atmosphere to make every customer’s tattoo experience in our shop the absolute best!” I have to say that the atmosphere is pretty unique and it seemed extremely family-oriented. Joe also added that the shop also offers piercings from piercer Dave Hurban.
Consultations for prospective clients are free. Walk-in clients are welcome, though, just like all shops, appointments are preferred. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Though they are closed on Sundays, the shop will still take on appointments to work around their customer’s schedule. Prices at South Vineland’s Firehouse Tattoo are pretty comparable to other shops around Jersey. Just like all shops, they are based on the size of the piece and the amount of detail and work that has to go into making that piece of art a masterpiece. Joe said that if there is a specific artist a client wants to see at a particular date and time, they will need to call or just stop by the shop.
As for cleanliness, this shop is CLEAN! All machines are sterilized nightly and all needles are single-use needles. Joe and his crew also abide by all age laws along with consent forms for tattooing and piercing. By the way, piercing hours with Dave Hurban are Mondays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
I have to say that this shop was pretty unique and I got a pretty good feeling about it. The only problem was that I felt it was buried in the middle of Vineland. I would have never known there was a tattoo shop in this firehouse if no one told me to check it out. Then again, the shop wasn’t exactly empty. So, they seem to be pretty successful where they are. If you’re in the South Jersey area and want to check out a unique tattoo shop, visit South Vineland’s Firehouse Tattoo at 2721 South Main Road in Vineland or call them at (856) 839-0510. You can also check them out at svfirehousetattoo.com. This is a very cool shop! Especially if you’ve ever wanted to be a fireman, which none of these artists are!
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at firstname.lastname@example.org.