Owner and industry vet, Chris Turck wanted to create a space that truly reflected the H&H experience. Having run the shop in the always-bustling Universal CityWalk for eleven years, he recognized it was time for a change.
About three years after we launched, we’d really gained some traction. Business was ramping up, but we only had three tattoo stations in the shop. It wasn’t enough.
Chris and his team cut their back room in half and made it a piercing station, but quickly converted it into another tattoo station to meet demand.
As business continued to grow, we cut into retail and added another station—five total at that point.
But each station was an entity of its own and didn’t flow with the rest of the shop’s design. Being a perfectionist, that bothered Chris, but he did what he had to do to accommodate clients and keep growing the business.
It had me thinking about our next move.
It was at this time Chris built out the Nashville shop and he saw an opportunity to emulate some of its successes.
The Nashville store is three times the size of ours in Orlando, but I took all the elements we liked and our designer Kim Coombs of KBCO brought it to life.
It was time for a major remodel. The goal was to provide more tattoo stations—seven total—both to improve the customer experience but also to create a better working environment for Chris’ team of artists.
Only thing was, we were working with the same square footage we always had. We had to design stations carefully to provide enough room for our artists to work their magic without feeling closed in.
With the help of architect Phil Kamecke from PVK Architects, he was able to accomplish that. They shrunk down the retail section of the shop and reorganized it in a more tasteful manner. Now you can walk into the Orlando shop and pick up a tee or hat and not get in the way of someone having their first tattoo consultation.
Everything was planned with a purpose. When you originally walked up the stairs to the front of our store, the first thing you saw was a lobby space, which made people question what our concept was. Now they see a really nice merchandise retail wall so they’re more inclined to come in. And once you hit the landing pad in the store, you see that we actually do tattoos.
It was exciting knowing what was ahead. But Chris stayed laser focused for the entire build-out process. He poured over blueprints, picked out materials, worked through all the fine details.
This business means so much to me. I wanted to grab a hammer myself and start swinging at the walls!
And even when it came time to close up shop and start construction, Chris made sure the storefront still looked presentable and business kept going—with very few gaps.
We closed the CityWalk shop down at 9 a.m. on a Sunday, then the crew and I gutted everything. We took all the merch out and loaded it into a trailer. It was 2 a.m. by the time we finished. Then we woke up at 7 the next morning and drove the truck to Ace Café in downtown Orlando, unloaded it all and set up a temporary space for the next couple of months while the remodel was underway.
Chris and his team were open for business the next day. It looked like H&H had been there for years even though it was a pop-up shop.
It was important to us to care for our team and make sure everyone retained employment during that time. Having the Ace Café space ensured we could do that and keep all our clients’ appointments. That’s the H&H way—to never let anyone down, whether it’s a customer or one of our own.
Meanwhile, construction was well underway, and that meant Chris had to really put in his hours. CityWalk closes at 2 a.m., so if any trucks needed to deliver materials, they had to arrive after that time and and be out by 6 a.m., which meant a lot of late nights and long days.
But our contractor, Kevin Gonzalez from HW Davis, was a pro. He scheduled all his contractors in a timely manner, kept his calendar tight, and the whole built-out flowed smoothly.
Everything went down without a hitch, likely because Chris was up at 3 a.m. every morning to check the job site, make sure everything was where it needed to be.
In that small space, every inch counts. Everything had to line up. Being as detail-oriented as I am, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing something was slightly off. So I basically lived at CityWalk for two and a half months.
It all paid off. When the dry wall went up and the flooring was laid, Chris’ vision started to come into focus. The talented masons at Gleman & Sons in Sanford, Florida outfitted the place with custom re-bar stools, a staggered wood wall, steel consult table, custom lightbox, custom barn doors, and mirrors hung with motorcycle chains. Hittn’ Skins created the wall graphics to give the space its wow factor.
It felt like Christmas Eve when it was getting close to opening day. Like knowing you’ll soon get to unwrap that gift for that toy you’ve been wanting for months.
But big projects like this don’t come without their challenges. Although Chris and his team would direct people to the Ace Café pop-up location while work was underway, it was still tough to drive traffic to the right place.
The hardest part was making sure people still knew we were there, even when we had closed. We’d see customers come up to our door in CityWalk and turn away. It was heartbreaking because I’m sure they thought we’d closed for good. But it made me feel good at the same time knowing people would miss us if we were gone.
The wait was worth it in the end. The H&H Orlando team had ear-to-ear smiles on opening day. Everyone who saw the new place was impressed. The space looked so much larger, brighter. Better. More inviting. Cleaner, more modern.
We set the bar high at H&H in everything we do so the pressure was on to impress with this remodel. I wanted to make sure more than anything that our management team and artists loved the new space because they’re going to have to live in it. I wanted them to have everything they needed to do the best job they can. And now, they do.
The H&H team welcomed new and returning customers, family and friends to celebrate the grand re-opening with a party, decked out with a fun tropical theme and an open bar. Everyone wore Hawaiian shirts, and the team spray-painted tattoos on pink flamingo lawn ornaments and planted them around CityWalk.
I was so grateful we were able to accomplish all we had over the years we’ve been at CityWalk, but this milestone was major.
Universal is always pushing for the latest and greatest, and it’s an honor to be a part of that. We’ve revamped our space so it’s better for business, but more so for our team and customers. You walk in here now and it’s a calm environment. That’s really important—so people can feel at home and enjoy themselves.
The new-and-improved H&H Orlando shop is officially open for business again. Stop in for a consult, to shop our merch, or snap a photo in front of our legendary mural.
This model deserves to grow and should be something people can experience all over the world. It’s a truly unique space.
So what’s next for the Orlando H&H team?
Who knows what’ll happen in the future, but we’re not going to stop here.