By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM – Fears that owners of a local tattoo shop had run out on a loan from the village have eased since the couple contacted village officials to set up a meeting within a week to discuss the situation.
Kevin and Mary Robinson, had operated Sleepy Hollow Studios at 8 Market St., but the space now appears to be cleared out.
That leaves just two tattoo parlors in Potsdam compared to two years ago there were four. Inner Reflections at 34 Market St. closed during the spring of 2009.
Tattoo artist Paul Matott said he and the rest of the "working staff" at Sleepy Hollow left the business at the end of May 2010. He said he has not been "in communication" with the Robinsons since then. However, Matott said he is continuing work as a body piercer in the village.
Attempts by officials in the village’s Planning and Development Office to contact the Robinsons were initially unsuccessful. Their concern was that the couple was in violation of the terms of a $25,000 microenterprise loan granted by the village.
“I suspect this was more of a misunderstanding,” said Jim Murphy of the Planning and Development Office. “They may have thought it was like a bank loan, where as long as they made the payments they were okay.”
But Murphy explained that one of the conditions of the loan was that the couple maintain a business presence in the village. Another condition was that the collateral for the loan, the shop’s equipment, not be moved or sold. There was some question as to the disposition of the equipment, Murphy said, and the apparent closing of the shop would be contrary to the loan agreement.
Murphy said the Robinsons have been in touch with the office, and will meet with officials “within the next week for a ‘workout’ agreement.”
Murphy said the Robinsons have made all loan payments on time. The balance of the loan stands at about $16,000, Murphy said.
“We are hoping next week for a good resolution. It does stress the importance of communicating with us,” Murphy said.
The Robinsons began their tattoo business in North Carolina, and came to the North Country and set up shop in Potsdam, in a market that would eventually have four tattoo studios.
Mary Robinson said at the time the fourth studio opened that “It’s a bit much, but we all continue in this business to the best of our ability. You can make a decent living in this medium.”
The Robinsons said at the time they were confident that demand for their custom work and original artistry would sustain the business.
Beyond Tattoos,operated by Scott Dafoe and Jared Prentice, upstairs at 38 Market St., and the Alchemistress, Maple Street, are the remaining tattoo studios in the village.