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New tattoo shop arrives in Jackson Ward

Mike Platania July 20, 2017 24

From left: Owners Adam Marton and Wesley Cavendish. Photos by Mike Platania.

From left: Owners Adam Marton and Wesley Cavendish. Photos by Mike Platania.

The Maggie Lena Walker statue wasn’t the only new thing unveiled in Jackson Ward last Saturday.

Civilization Tattoo opened last week at 319 N. Adams St., on the same block as the new memorial to the neighborhood’s famous trailblazer.

Co-owners Adam Marton and Wesley Cavendish opened the tattoo parlor after years working at River City Tattoo, which has five locations in the Richmond area. Cavendish does cosmetic tattooing, while Marton, her fiance, does traditional tattoos.

Their space is next door to Saison Market, whose owner and chef have gotten ink from Marton over the years. Marton said Saison owner Jay Bayer told him about the available space.

“I’ve been tattooing Jay and Adam (Hall) over at Saison for years,” Marton said. “Then one day, Jay called me and said I should check it out.”

Civilization Tattoo opened last Saturday at 319 N. Adams St.

Civilization Tattoo opened last Saturday at 319 N. Adams St.

The couple signed a multiyear lease for the 1,000-square-foot space. Ross Trimmer of Sure Hand Signs did the window signage for Civilization. Marton said they’re planning a grand opening party Aug. 26, with Saison providing food.

“We were planning on getting married soon, but that’s been delayed,” Marton joked.

Joining Marton and Cavendish at Civilization will be Jason Talbot, another River City Tattoo alum. Marton said they’ll look to add a fourth tattoo artist to the shop by year’s end.

They should have no problem finding help – or customers – as Richmond routinely ranks among the top-tattooed cities in the country per capita.

Elsewhere around the block, Civilization’s neighbor across the street, Idle Hands Bread Co., is set to open a second location in the Fan this summer. Its Jackson Ward location will remain open.

Civilization is down the block from the new Maggie Walker statue off W. Broad St.

Civilization is down the block from the new Maggie Walker statue off W. Broad St.

Editor's Picks


  1. Maya Harris July 21, 2017 at 12:56 am - Reply

    This article is reprehensible. Yes, I understand that it is a pun. Nevertheless, it is tasteless and disrespectful to the Jackson Ward community.

    • Dwight David Eisenhower Jones, Mayor Emeritus July 24, 2017 at 11:45 am - Reply

      There is nothing more delightfully satisfying than watching SJWs have a Chernobyl-level meltdown.

      Show of hands from the Che Guevara T-shirt crowd, how many of you basketweaving/postmodern art majors are regular Richmond Bizsense readers?

      By the way, there is a sale on spray paint at Lowe’s – I was just there. You’ve got lots of tagging to do and very little funds to pay for materials. There is something quite virtuous about being a thrifty vandal. Onward!

  2. Karen Franklin July 21, 2017 at 7:53 am - Reply

    The idea of using a pun to grab attention can be useful when done well. In this case it is a slap in
    the face to the Jackson Ward Community.

  3. Savon Sampson July 21, 2017 at 8:08 am - Reply

    So are you saying the current residents and businesses are uncivilized? I understand the pun, but it comes across as disrespectful.

  4. Max Williams July 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    The word play marginalizes a community of smart, kind, caring and hard working people. Your attempt at an attention getting headline is a slap in the face to many. The respectful thing to do would be to change the headline to celebrate this new business in a vibrant historic community.

  5. Kevin Street July 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    This is civilization? They need to take that back to Daytona Beach.

  6. Laszlo Szijarto July 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I hope the author realizes the mistake of using such a poorly worded headline, which comes across as cruel and mean spirited, and apologizes to the Jackson Ward community.

  7. Robb Moore July 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Really wish the editor would update the article headline to say “Civilization Tattoo Arrives in Jackson Ward.” Benefit: more accurate (which is a great, principaled reason for any editorial correction) and not also so tone-deaf to the ugly (even if unintentional) connotations of the headline as it currently stands. The business name is not “Civilization” but “Civilization Tattoo,” no?

  8. Marc Cheatham July 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    I’m disappointed in the headline of this article for a number of reasons but the saddest is that I spoke with the owner of this new and awesome tattoo shop and understand that they contacted the editor and ask for the headline to be updated. Being tone-deaf to the will of the people that you are trying to help on what most would consider a bad play on words (given you the benefit of the doubt) is very upsetting. Please update the headline by adding the word “tattoo” and move on. Lord knows, Richmond has bigger issues to worry about.

  9. Tom Sanchez Prunier July 21, 2017 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    At least some quotation marks around “civilization” would have softened the blow, but really lazy headline writing. Second what others have posted. Sure hope you have some form of apology in the next issue.

  10. Richmond BizSense
    Richmond BizSense July 22, 2017 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Dear readers,

    BizSense makes a point to not insert ourselves into our reader comment section and to let readers speak their minds (so long as real first and last names are used). However, the unfortunate backlash of comments posted on our site and on social media the last two days related to the story originally titled “Civilization arrives in Jackson Ward” warrants a response.

    First, some have asked, “What was the intention of the headline?” The answer is simple. Regular BizSense readers know we employ puns (some aimed to be clever and vague, some cheesy and obvious) to add some life to otherwise dry business topics or frequent occurrences in Richmond – in this case, a new tattoo shop that has opened for business in a city that has a lot of tattoo shops.

    Was the intent of the headline to catch people’s eyes in the hope they might click and read? Of course. That’s the whole point of headlines at every publication everywhere. Was there some veiled double meaning embedded in it? I hate to even have to answer that question, but the answer of course is, no.

    Secondly, to those who suggest we’ve denigrated a neighborhood and its people, it is worth noting that BizSense’s newsroom is literally part of the neighborhood at question. Our newsroom is on the Broad Street border of Jackson Ward and has been for nearly 10 years. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that few, if any, publications in Richmond have covered the happenings of this neighborhood as closely as BizSense, particularly its commercial growth.

    Here’s a link (http://richmondbizsense.com/?s=%22jackson+ward%22&x=0&y=0) to the dozens, if not hundreds, of stories we have covered in our adopted neighborhood. You’ll see it’s a body of work that tracks constant change in this area. I would use the term “progress,” but then, that could offend someone, too. Point is, if you still think the original headline means we secretly think our own home turf is “uncivilized,” I’m likely not going to convince you otherwise.

    Lastly, for those lobbing criticism at the reporter who wrote this story, know that he had no say in the headline. Know also that the owners of Civilization Tattoo had no part in writing the headline. They’re simply entrepreneurs trying to make a go of it in a long-vacant space that they’ve transformed into a really attractive shop.

    I wrote the headline myself and stand by its true intent, which was simply to draw readers into a story that highlights a new business in an ever-evolving neighborhood.

    For those who have read into it and find the headline insensitive and/or offensive, please know there was no ill intent.

    Michael Schwartz
    Editor, Richmond BizSense
    [email protected]

  11. Lauren Null July 22, 2017 at 9:06 am - Reply

    I am surely hoping that all of the folks who are so “outraged” by the title of the article will not place blame on the business. It’s not the most culturally sensitive title on earth- that’s for sure- and it’s fine to point that out- and it appears the publication has changed it. However, “reprehensible” and “irresponsible” are insane adjectives to describe this–more fake outrage that doesn’t accomplish anything. Calm down, warriors. Putting your energy towards combating real life, tangible problems in Richmond may be worth looking into.

  12. Jonathan Goldberg July 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Actually, the space was only vacant for a few months during renovation. It was for many years an African-American owned, appointment only barber shop called E’s. The owner closed a few months after the passing of his wife.

  13. Ralph hodge July 23, 2017 at 7:10 am - Reply

    How can you mention Maggie Walker and a tattoo parlor in the same sentence? What kind of White privilege mess is this? What is sad is that you didn’t even realize that your article diminishes the great business accomplishments of one of Richmonds most iconic historical figures by giving her one sentence in your article. The small reference of Maggie Walker, a business icon, was as a side note to the opening of a tattoo parlor. Almost as if somehow the unveiling of her statue wasn’t supposed to overshadow a tattoo parlor. How dare you? You messed up this time. Your insensitive viewpoint is telling of your inability to see how white people have sought to benefit off of African Americans. And you didn’t notice this until people responded in the comments section?

  14. Shena Crittendon July 23, 2017 at 9:49 am - Reply

    With just a headline you diminish and marginalize generations of African American people who have historically lived in Jackson Ward before it became the “trendy” thing to do. And what you wrote iin the comments section comes across as condescending and tone-deaf. Instead of going for the pun, which was an epic fail, how about first consider how it might be interpreted? But perhaps that didn’t matter to you.

  15. CM Reynolds July 24, 2017 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Warm Weather Alert: Snowflakes melting in the BizSense comment section. Please return to your safe spaces.

    The best of luck to Marton and Cavendish, glad to hear someone will occupy that space.

  16. Matt Louthan July 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Props to BizSense for addressing this issue through the comment section. However, I do think that there are certain comments which really blow it out of proportion or are criticizing parts of the article that are only meant for flavor. Bizsense does a great job keeping us up to speed with what is going on in the business community here in Richmond. Keep in mind, that this is also a business minded publication, and is not the RTD or any other major newspaper publication.

  17. Todd Waldo July 24, 2017 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Michael, while there was no ill intent, there is a responsibility for your publication to consider all audiences. And there was a good portion of your audience you did not consider as you tried to grab our attention. You did get our attention! But not for the right reason. If you are not just in the neighborhood but part of the neighborhood, then I think you would understand the offense the original headline caused. I hope this will help us all better realize the power in our words and select more carefully next time

    • CM Reynolds July 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Todd, if their tattoo parlor was called “Happiness Tattoo” the article would have been titled “Happiness arrives in Jackson Ward.” If the store was called “Apocalypse Tattoo” the article would have been titled “Apocalypse arrives in Jackson Ward.” See the theme? News headlines often contain puns. It’s a joke, not a social commentary.

  18. ron virgin July 25, 2017 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Nobody who reads Richmond Biz Sense has a “sense” of humor. (I hope that sentence doesn’t run afoul of the headline police).

    Is “elite online bullying” such a thing?

    • Lionel Hutz July 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Maybe it’s because the “joke” wasn’t funny? Maybe, just maybe, if the editor had said “It was meant as a joke and, in hindsight, it wasn’t that good idea and certainly didn’t land well. We meant no disrespect and apologize for any ruffled feathers.” it would have all blown over? Instead, he decided to double-down and blame everyone else for their misunderstanding, not because he could have possibly done things any differently.

  19. Christian Sheppard July 25, 2017 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Ignore the intolerant PC thought police…they need to get a life. The headline and article was fine. Welcome to the neighborhood Civilization:)

  20. Daniil Kleyman July 26, 2017 at 8:25 am - Reply

    All you over-sensitive crybabies need to chill out. It’s ok to get offended once in a while. And it’s not the job of writers or editors here to please everyone all the time. This is a free publication. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Move on. If the same thing was written about my neighborhood, I’d find it pretty funny.

  21. Christian Montgomery July 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Jeez!!! Really People???? I thought it was a catchy title!!! good luck to richmond Biz sense on pleasing everyone…its just so easy to do these days!!!

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