It has taken Jon Mirro, owner of Hand of Doom Tattoo, a long time to make it to the heart of Elmwood Avenue. When Jon first opened his business at the corner of Forest and Elmwood, I remember him telling me that it was difficult to find a space anywhere on the street. Many of the building owners wouldn’t even meet with him, or if they did they wouldn’t call back. Eventually HOD landed a space on the 500 block of the strip (filling a space that was constantly flipping over). Jon was no longer on the fringe of the avenue – he had made his way towards the center, but at the same time, he continued to look at the heart of the commercial district… the 700 block.
You’ve got to hand it to Jon for being persistent. For years he has grown his business and his clientele in Buffalo. He has sat by and watched his trade go from counterculture status to mainstream. In the past, I’ve talked to Jon about the pains of being a legitimate business, yet not being accepted by storeowners and building owners. Jon is an artist and his storefront is a gallery. He keeps regular hours, employs fellow artists, invests money into his shop, and loves Buffalo as much as the next person. That’s why I’m happy to see that after all of these years, Jon has made it to where he has always wanted to be – 734 Elmwood Avenue – formerly Pavlov’s Togs. For anyone who wondered why Pavlov’s Togs closed, the owner decided to take his sales online, and is planning on teaming up with local retailers such as HERO Design in Allentown to sell his wares.
While talking to a couple of the shop owners on the 700-block, they are glad to see Jon opening nearby. I even think that there is a certain street cred that comes along with having one of the best tattoo artists set up shop on your block. Just take a look to see who is sporting tattoos these days – half the dads walking baby carriages down Elmwood have skin art. These are the same people who purchase houses around the corner and raise families here. They hang out at the coffee shops, buy bikes, spend money at the boutiques and restaurants, and seek out the best tattoo artists around. If a tat shop can attract a clientele that is good for other businesses, then I’ll be the first to say, “Welcome aboard.” HOD is scheduled to open in its new diggs in July.