Ever since he was a young boy, Rich Spratt has been interested in tattoos. His father George was a Navy man and had more than a few tattoos of his own, and Rich wanted to be just like him.
“At 5 years old, I was already decorating my arms with markers,” Spratt said. “Drawing was always something that I was interested in ever since I was a kid.”
Fast forward several years, and grown-up Rich Spratt was well on his way to a successful career in the tattoo industry, having apprenticed and earned his supervision hours at Gator Ink in St. Louis Park. Then one day, the rug was pulled out from underneath him.
“I got a call and was told to come get my stuff because the shop was closing,” Spratt said. “There was no notice or warning or anything like that. The business was just done.”
“My dad sells insurance here in Forest Lake, and when his land lady told him about a small space opening in the building he rents from, I said, ‘Sign me up,’” Spratt said. “I came to look at the available space and immediately knew that it was to be my new shop, Dick’s Tattoo.”
Spratt signed papers in October 2015 and began the work of renovating to fit his needs.
“We had to have a sink in order to run a tattoo shop and the space, at the time, didn’t have one,” he said. “It took a bit of work to tear up the concrete and put in some plumbing, but eventually we got that job done, and we were able to open in April 2016.”
Dick’s Tattoo is located at 168 Second St. NW in the building that also houses the George Spratt Agency and the Cottage Barber Shop. Currently, he supplements his income with a job at Premiere Marine in Wyoming but hopes that by the end of this summer he can run his shop full time.
Spratt’s open hours are Monday and Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. by appointment, Thursday 5-9 p.m., and noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. He plans for expanded summer hours and will post them on his Facebook page at goo.gl/mfE86z when they become available.
Although he still feels like the new guy in the neighborhood, having really only advertised through his Facebook page, Spratt feels welcomed by the Forest Lake community. Because of the sudden closure of Gator Ink, he was unable to take a client list with him when he left, and so he was, in many ways, starting from scratch with his new shop.
“I feel blessed that I have been pretty much booked solid for the last two months,” Spratt said. “I think part of it is that I have no specialty. I just like to draw and I can pretty much handle any sort of style that the customer wants. I want to be known as a very versatile tattoo artist.”