Cheap Thrills tattoo parlor sets up shop on Route 10 in Northampton


NORTHAMPTON – With its candy apple red wood siding, canary-yellow exterior window surrounds and turquoise-colored trim, the cape at 321 Easthampton Road is sure to grab the attention of passers-by.

The former white single-family home has been transformed into a Cheap Thrills tattoo parlour.

“We wanted to do something different. It’s fun to play with a color scheme,” said Cassie Sutter, co-owner of the new Northampton-based boutique with Joe Cox. “One day I walked by this place and saw it was for sale and I had this ‘lightning moment’ where I was, maybe this could work out.”

And it worked for the couple, who opened their shop in late June.

The interior of Cheap Thrills is just as bright as the exterior with distinctive tchotchkes and trinkets including a moose hoof and glass bottles lining the shelves, and unique paintings on each of the walls.

“I can’t leave things alone for things that are too mundane,” Cox said. “I just like what I like. People contribute and give us stuff…I think they just want to be included in the vibe, to feel like they’re there.

The couple had run a boutique of the same name in Holyoke for seven years. The colorful flair showcased in their new location could be attributed to their time spent in New Orleans, where they owned another store that featured a pistachio, purple and yellow scheme, according to Cox.

Sutter met Cox in 2003 at Cox’s first solo tattoo parlor called Cobra Chrome in Holyoke; it was his tattoo artist. The couple began dating soon after.

“It’s the only tattoo I paid for,” she laughs.

Three years later, Sutter, who holds a degree in photography from the University of Hartford, began tattooing.

Cox, who studied with the late Henry Schwartz at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, has more than two decades of experience as a tattoo artist. Originally from North Carolina, he moved to New York after graduating as a painter, but found he disliked the involvement of others in the art he created.

“People try to steer you towards what’s selling and I didn’t like that,” he said. “I thought the gallery should sell it and that’s it.”

Throughout the 1990s, he dabbled in tattooing part-time for fun. That changed in the late 1990s after he bought a house in Providence and was fired three weeks later while working for an advertising contractor.

“My neighbor across the street, his brother owned a tattoo parlour, and told me to come work for him,” Cox said. “So, I did.”

Cox is also known for his work in the area as the former co-owner of Mohawk Revenge tattoo parlour, which was one of more than a dozen businesses that burned down in a fire at Norwottuck Shoppes Plaza in Hadley in October 2013.

“I discovered that all things have a purpose – things have a way of working out for the best, I think,” he said.

put some ink

Both Sutter and Cox describe much of their lives as nomadic and “gypsy-esque,” ​​as they both lived everywhere.

Sutter, who was the child of a parent in the military and was born in Japan, calls Easthampton his hometown.

With two young children together and Cox’s dad in the 80s, the couple decided it was time to put down roots and live in West Hatfield today.

“We’re here until I retire,” Cox said.

In addition to Sutter and Cox, Cheap Thrills has two other tattoo artists, Dakota Seback and Chris Soares. All four artists are accomplished in the traditional American tattoo style. Seback specializes in fine line tattooing and lettering. Sutter also does a lot of hand tattoos, a form of tattooing using a sharp point or stick and ink to create a design, one dot at a time.

Cox said he does all styles, including Japanese and portrait-style tattoos.

From blue jays landing on the windowsill to deer grazing in the wooded backyard, the new setting also provides a more natural and relaxing work environment, Sutter says.

“The location is right between towns – we’re close to the growing artist community in Easthampton and we’re not in downtown Northampton,” she said. “We spend so much time here. We want it to be a second home. We want it to be inviting and inclusive. We want people to come here.

Cheap Thrills is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information or to make an appointment, call 413-322-0941.


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