No Tattoo Shop - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

No Tattoo Shop

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WSVN -- The business is called Inkaholik. It's not just a clever name, it's symbolic for Andres Ramirez.

Andres Ramirez: "Well I used to drink a lot, a long time ago and I found tattooing almost, lets say, 12 years ago. And then all of the sudden, I said if one day I tattoo good, I will stop drinking. And I haven't had a drink since."

Andres did become good at tattooing and soon became know as Mr. Colombia. He then opened his first Inkaholic tattoo shop and has been been growing ever since.

Andres Ramirez: "We are trying to open up five stores and hopefully launch something big. Be all around the USA."

Mr. Colombia says he found a perfect spot for his next shop in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Andres Ramirez: "Well I spoke to the leasing agent, he told me it was $3,700 a month for 1,300 sq. feet. I said OK."

Mr. Colombia moved forward, getting approval from the county, designing this sign to put on the front of the tattoo shop and then he got a call from the owners rep.

Andres Ramirez: "Oh, I'm having some issues with the ownership because there is an anchor with Walgreens saying that do not allow tattoo shops in that plaza."

The property manager claimed the drug stores lease prohibited it. Which Mr. Colombia said he didn't understand.

Andres Ramirez: "I'm actually going to bring business to Walgreens. I'm going to buy a lot of stuff from them. We use paper towels, distilled water, Bactine, Aquaphore A&D. You name it, we use it."

He tried to meet with the management company to show them the kind of business he runs. They wouldn't talk to him anymore. Leaving him to guess at why he was blocked from moving in.

And Mr. Colombia says there is a description of what he feels the property owner is doing to his tattoo shop.

Andres Ramirez: "And we are being discriminated because of what? There is no what?"

Well Howard, the government agencies allow a tattoo shop in this area, but Mr. Colombia feels he is being discriminated against. Is he?

Howard Finkelstein: "No, this is not discrimination because a landlord can refuse to rent to a tattoo shop. In fact, the landlord has the right to refuse to rent or sell to any business or person he or she may not like."

We contacted the owners of West Sunset Square. A representative told us they would not comment about the decision to refuse to lease the space to the tattoo shop.

A spokesman for Walgreens told us we appreciate the opportunity to comment. However, it is not our policy to disclose the specific terms of our lease agreements.

Howard says what's happening here is not unusual in the business world.

Howard Finkelstein: "It is common for other businesses in the same complex to demand in their lease that neither similar businesses be allowed to rent or businesses they feel are inappropriate to be near their business. What you can not do is block a business owner because of their race, religion, or in Broward and Dade, their sexual orientation."

It's a setback for the man known as Mr. Colombia, but it's minor and he is already looking for another new spot to open his next Inkaholic.

Andres Ramirez: "I'm going ready with a plan, with a business plan, that I'm going to succeed no matter what. The greatest tattoo shop in Miami and we are going to show the world."

Patrick Fraser: "In the past, tattoo shops were seen as a little on the seedy side. But as more and more people get tattoos, more celebrities, more athletes, those perceptions of tattoo shops are changing. But not fast enough for Mr. Colombia, who says he plans to sign a lease on a different location. Soon.

Feel like you have victim tattooed on your forehead? Ready to draw a different ending? Contact us. We aren't artists, but Howard can read the ink on a legal document.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

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