When you step inside the new Prison Break Tattoos on Washington Avenue, you may become overcome with intense intimidation. That feeling will be even more severe if you've ever spent a night in the slammer. This is because Prison Break Tattoo is set up exactly like a jail cell. And it's pretty awesome.
It's not any wonder that the shop is jail-chic as its owner, Bryan Klevens, has spent 20 years working for the Houston Police Department. Klevens is a diesel looking guy covered in tattoos, add in the fact that he's HPD and he could make a person pretty nervous, but his big smile and friendly demeanor makes you feel anything but. He may be one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure to chat with.
Klevens has wanted to open Prison Break for a long time. Being a cop that is also an art lover and a tattoo aficionado had made Klevens wonder why there were no tattoo shops that catered to public servants. Why are there no shops, he thought, where law enforcement, fire fighters and other public city employees, could go and not have to question the background of the person inking them up or in the next booth? Toss in Klevens' prison theme and Prison Break Tattoos was born.
With his police background, Klevens ensured attention to every jail detail. The shop is completely barred in. An authentic electric chair sits in the corner. He got the chairs and mirrors donated from a prison supply company out of San Antonio and there are even jail beds if you feel like taking a load off. Luckily, he and his staff don't wear orange jump suits; that might just be a bit too much.
Klevens hired his favorite Houston artists and as we chatted, two artists, Trey and Brandon Lee, cleaned up their areas. Cleanliness is something I should note. Sure the place is brand new, but regardless I have never walked into a cleaner tattoo shop. In addition to the guys doing the ink, they do piercing as well. The art work is mixed; the shop doesn't have a specific specialization as some do, but they pride themselves on good quality work and have the prices to match.
"Our prices are not at the bottom," says Kelvens. This is in an effort to attract a certain clientele. It is also appealing that a portion of each piece done will be donated to the 100 Club, a non-profit association that assists the families of fallen service men and women. Additionally, you are paying for something that Klevens thinks you don't often find in tattoo shops -- customer service.
"We want people to feel good when they come in. We smile, we chat with you, we are friendly! And we follow up to make sure you are satisfied and happy with the results," Klevens explains.
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Smiling faces and tattoo shops don't always go hand-in-hand, and Klevens believes that this will set his shop apart, in addition to the prison bars everywhere.
The shop opened this past Monday and already they've had close to 20 clients. The support from the public service community, Klevens says, has been "amazing." But their open-arms policy is not reserved just for police and fire fighters.
"We want this to be a friendly shop for anyone wanting a safe and fun tattoo environment."
Prison Break Tattoos, which is located at 5306-A Washington Avenue, has mixed hours so your best bet is to call 978-618-1063 or visit its website prisonbreaktattoos.com