WILKES-BARRE — Fans of tattoos, hair, piercings and music gathered at the new Loyalty Barber Shop & Shave Parlor and Electric City Tattoo location on Saturday for its grand opening.
The shop, 94 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, hosted live music for the occasion and visitors were treated to hors d’oevres, a bar and more.
The shop opened in the first week of August as a second location for Electric City Tattoo, which has another shop in Scranton, and a third location for Loyalty, which has a presence in Scranton and Archbald.
“We were good friends for a long time, so we thought maybe it was time to merge,” said Electric City Tattoo co-owner, Nick Frenchko, of the two businesses.
Frenchko said he and Anthony Ranella, Loyalty Barber Shop co-owner, live in Luzerne County, so rather than continue the commute to Scranton, they decided to “spread their wings.”
“(It was) the next logical place to do it,” Ranella said.
“I love the location, everything,” Frenchko added. “I like Wilkes-Barre … being in Scranton so long, it’s nice to get new scenery.”
Ranella lives in Wilkes-Barre, and said he noticed there are “cool things” happening on South Main Street.
“It needed it. It just seemed like a good block to be on,” he said.
For the grand opening, both Frenchko and Ranella planned to keep it simple — friends, music and drinks. By the time the event was in full swing, the shop was filled wall-to-wall with people enjoying just that.
Crystal Phan, a piercer at the shop, was excited about the new location.
“We’ve had people go up to our Scranton shop, not realizing that we’re right here,” she said. “It’s been really awesome to get the word out.”
Performing at the event were Bob Lewis, a Northeastern Pennsylvania native and songwriter now of Nashville, Tenn., and Coal Minor Canary, a local duo with Dallas resident Dave Hage on guitar and Scranton native Dan King on cello.
Hage said he couldn’t help but be reminded of what the space once was — Cafe Metropolis, a music venue and mecca that occupied the South Main building until 2010. But he isn’t disappointed with the replacement, especially because the owners have kept some relics of the venue, including graffiti and posters.
“This was my whole adolescence and preadolescence … I spent it here. I think this is what it needs to be. It’s nice to see people invest back into Wilkes-Barre,” Hage said.
Matt Zelodik, a Mountain Top resident, shared that sentiment.
“I used to come here a lot when it was ‘Metro,’” he said. “It’s really cool to see, not necessarily a music venue, but a place that appreciates the aesthetic and culture. A place that appreciates art … coming to Wilkes-Barre to help make it a better place.”