Tattoo shop to ink Herald Court lease
PUNTA GORDA — This city sees itself as a cut above other small towns for its eclectic quality of life, and Lisa Schmoldt, the owner of the Otherside Ink tattoo art gallery, thinks her business will fit right in.
“I’m a snob, too,” she said. “I don’t like bad tattoos.”
Schmoldt said she’s just a few steps away from signing a lease to occupy 1,144 square feet in the city-owned Herald Court Centre, a combination parking garage-commercial building at Herald Court and U.S. 41.
Otherside is currently located on State Road 776 across the road from densely wooded Murdock Village. The shop receives little foot traffic from passersby.
However, some customers fly in from across the country to get tattoos by her shop’s artists, she says.
“Right now, it’s a diamond in the rough,” said Schmoldt. “Why not bring it in with all the other diamonds?
“We’re art,” she added. “I would like to go where this will be appreciated.”
Otherside was one of two businesses that presented proposals to lease space in the Herald Court Centre several weeks ago. Although both were initially approved by the Punta Gorda Community Redevelopment Agency, the other business, Serendipity Salon and Spa, has since opted not to move forward with its proposed lease.
Serendipity owner Sue Redmond had said shortly after the CRA offered Otherside a lease that she was having second thoughts about locating next to a tattoo shop. Attempts to contact Redmond this week for comment were unsuccessful.
Lindsay Harrington, the city’s agent for leasing Herald Court, confirmed that Serendipity had decided to relocate elsewhere. Harrington declined further comment about Serendipity’s reasons.
However, Harrington said he’s now in talks with an investment company that is exploring a Herald Court space. Harrington declined to identity the firm.
“They want a prestigious location,” he said.
Schmoldt said she signed a letter of intent accepting the CRA’s terms, which call for Otherside to pay $12 per foot per month with 3 percent increases per year.
Schmoldt said her attorney is now reviewing the city’s 45-page lease for legal sufficiency. Meanwhile, she has engaged a builder to design her new shop.
The design calls for special walls for hanging artworks and enclosures to give tattoo booths more privacy, she said.
That way, visitors can browse for art without having to watch someone getting graphics applied to various parts of the body, she said.
A resident of Southwest Florida since in 1981, Schmoldt graduated from Venice High School and worked as a tattooist in a Punta Gorda shop for 10 years before starting Otherside seven years ago.
Her gallery now contains works by several celebrities of the genre, such as Dave Sanchez of Long Beach and “Big Gus” of the TV show “Tattoo Nightmares.” Schmoldt said she’s become friends with many of the artists after participating in tattoo conventions around the country for the past 20 years.
Schmoldt said she drives to Punta Gorda to dine every day. Her favorite spots include River City Grill, the Perfect Caper and the Celtic Ray.
“I’m not into corporate food,” she said.
She’s also not into corporate tattoos. Each tattoo is custom created for each customer, she said.
“It was Lisa’s dream to open up a place where it’s more about the artwork and everything that goes into tattooing than just the tattoos,” said Justin Brown, Otherside tattoo artist.