by Britt Chester

Tattoo Club opens another location in Kernersville


In a house located at 247 Cherry St. in Kernersville, a bearded, tattooed man in his early thirties sits behind a wooden desk surrounded by illustrations of scantily clad pin-up girls, roses, skulls, devils, tigers and even a few animal heads. A small sofa rests under the window facing the bustling intersection of Cherry and Bodenhamer streets. The man, John Brehm, sits with a confident smile as he scans the rooms of his new tattoo shop.

The Yellow Rose Tattoo Club has grown too big for its original location. The current shop, located at 508 E. Mountain St., will remain open while owner John Brehm and current Yellow Rose artist Tyler Pennington take their current appointments and new clients to the location at 247 Cherry St.

The new location has a tentative soft opening date of Oct. 13.

Brehm, 32, has operated out of his Mountain Street location since February of 2012.

Brehm moved to Kernersville from Royalton, Pennsylvania, where he had learned to tattoo. He balked at the idea of opening his own storefront, but before moving he was already being approached by artists who wanted to work for him. He gambled on himself then, and is quite satisfied with the result.

This past February, Yellow Rose celebrated its two-year anniversary.

“In January of this year we had thrown around the idea about having another shop, but I didn’t want to move out of town,” Brehm said. At first he was hesitant about opening another shop in such a small market, but an out-of-town artist, Mallory Blalock, applied for a position that presented Brehm with an opportunity to gamble on his intuitions again.

The Cherry Street location will house just two artists in the beginning. Brehm and his former apprentice, Tyler Pennington, will each have private rooms for tattooing.

Pennington began tattooing under Brehm at Winston-Salem’s Ink Well Tattoo‘s in late 2010. Right now, Pennington has client bookings for the next three months, which will move with him over to the new location.

“It’s flattering that there are enough people who want work by me and don’t mind waiting,” Pennington said.

At the new Yellow Rose shop, Pennington will operate out of his own room. At the Mountain Street location, the open floor plan has four tables where artists work.

Blalock, 25, moved to Kernersville in July from Mississippi. When she began investigating potential job opportunities, it was unanimous amongst her peers that Yellow Rose would be the place to work.

Within three days of moving to Kernersville, she received her certification and was inking clients at the Yellow Rose.

“There is so much more creativity and imagination going on in the shop, much more than I am used to, and we all thrive and bounce ideas off each other,” Blalock said.

Blalock has been tattooing for seven years. To Brehm’s knowledge, he has yet to turn away business now that Blalock is taking on clients. Prior to her arrival, Yellow Rose had five artists working non-stop, yet they were still turning away enough business to supply another artist a decent wage, “but not, you know, a killer wage,” Brehm said.

Blalock said a big draw to coming here was when her friend moved to Kernersville two years ago, and she came and visited.

“The arts community is just so rich here,” she said. Brehm stressed that the new location is not in competition with the original. Both locations will accept walk-in clients, but the Cherry Street location will be more of an “in the know” type of location. He doesn’t plan on advertising or marketing and will rely on word of mouth as he continues to grow.

“Now that I’ve moved into this spot, I’ve noticed that there is a lot of traffic coming in and out of town,” Brehm said. He sees Kernersville in a way that the highway splits the town, whether geographically true or not. He originally didn’t want to open on the same side of town, but now sees how much traffic passes by and remains confident in his decision.

“We are trying to bring the same feeling we have at Yellow Rose Mountain location, but more upscale without being fancy. I’m big on not being too fancy for where you’re at,” Brehm said.

“It’s the same brand, different flavor.” !



The new Yellow Rose Tattoo Club location is at 247 Cherry St. in Kernersville, by the intersection of Cherry and Bodenhamer streets. The original location is at 508 E. Mountain St., Kernersville.