Inked Out: Sink The Ink

On a recent trip though Pennsylvania—just north of Philly to be exact, I happened to drive by a great little tattoo shop in a small town called Willow Grove. The shop was called Sink the Ink and it seemed pretty busy for a local business in this flailing economy, so I decided to stop in and take a look.

Sink the Ink is a very spacious shop with binders of flash art adorning the walls. I have to admit the décor of the shop kind of reminded me of that burger joint, Johnny Rockets or at least some 1950s soda shop. There were about five stations behind the front desk where the tattooing and piercing is done. At the very front of the store was a merchandise booth with body jewelry, t-shirts and aftercare products. Sink the Ink left nothing out that a tattoo enthusiast would want to see.

The shop opened its doors in April 2004 with the vision to be the cleanest, friendliest and most comfortable body art studio in the area while still maintaining that well-respected old school flair. When I asked what would make me want to get a tattoo at their shop, artist Gabs told me that as a shop, they strive to provide quality tattooing and piercing with sterilized equipment that is spore tested by a third party weekly. Gabs also told me that Sink the Ink is OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliant, which means that their standards exceed the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard for cleanliness and safety. He says that all of their artists and body piercers must take an annual right hour Bloodborne Pathogens Course. I am sure that if you were looking for a safe place to be tattooed, this would be a good choice.

Gabs is one of six artists at Sink the Ink. He’s a ten-year tattoo veteran who seems to be sort of the manager there. He says that he specializes in tattoo restoration of old or unwanted tattoos and he loves old school and traditional styles. Then there’s Rachel, who’s been tattooing for four and half years and claims portraits to be her specialty. New Jersey native, Ben used to be an animator for video games, but chose tattooing because ‘animating videos games isn’t as cool as it sounds.’ Ben, who did is apprenticeship at Sink the Ink, states that his favorite style of tattoo is a mix between new school and a bold traditional style. Nelson, who also did his apprenticeship at Sink the Ink, has been tattooing at the shop for five years now, prefers to do custom black and grey tattooing. And then there’s Big Lou, the real old-timer, who’s been tattooing for 20 years and has even owned shops in Willow Grove. He’s worked in PA, NJ and Vegas, but now calls Sink the Ink home. Big Lou prefers an old school style, but said he will tattoo just about anything.

Sink the Ink is mainly a custom shop, but they won’t turn away flash artwork if that’s what the customer wants.

When I asked Gabs about the shops prices, he told me that they make it a practice to never quote prices over the phone. Their rates, however, do depend on the size, location, amount of detail and technical requirements involved in the artwork. He said that prospective customers should feel free to stop by and speak with one of their artists to obtain a proper quote. He also told me that walk-ins are welcome and will be served on a first come, first served basis. Gabs also said that if you want a specific artist to work on you, an appointment is needed with a $50 non-refundable deposit that will be applied to your total. If you need to cancel your appointment, you need to cancel 24 hours in advance or you lose your deposit.

It seems that Sink the Ink follows the same policies as most shops that I’ve already visited, so nothing new here. I later found out that this wasn’t the only location for the shop. They have another location in Doylestown, PA. The store hours in Willow Grove is Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m.

If you wish to visit the Doylestown shop, they’re open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. except Wednesdays when they’re open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and closed on Sundays. If you’re in the Willow Grove area, stop at the shop which is located at 600 North York Road, Willow Grove, PA or call (215) 659-3310.

If you’re in the Doylestown area, you can visit Sink the Ink at 123 South Main Street, Doylestown, PA or call them at (267) 880-6531. For more info on the shops, log onto Willow Grove’s shop was a must see. I would definitely be back there for some ink because of their cleanliness and professionalism.

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