Community Driven Tattoo Shop Finds Home
After years of hard work, balancing two jobs in pursuit of a passion while building business acumen and management skills, Adam Rose was finally able to put down roots. As the owner of Fallen Owl Tattoo Studio, Adam fulfilled his dreams of opening a permanent business location by utilizing the Small Business Administration 504 loan program. In partnership with Collegiate Peaks Bank and Colorado Lending Source, the financing allowed him to purchase commercial real estate with a minimal down payment and incredibly low interest rate. Now Adam and his crew of six artists can continue pursuing their passion for the art while providing a welcoming space and being an advocate for the community. Read on to hear about Adam’s inspiring journey!
What inspired you to start your business?
I started getting tattooed when I was young when it wasn't as common as it is now. Coming from a family of artists, art has always been a huge part of my life. After working several traditional jobs that helped me gain a business background, I realized I wasn't satisfied. I continued getting tattoos throughout that time, and then at some point realized that I could get tattoos and make money as well. That’s when I started an apprenticeship where I was taught the safe and proper way to be a professional tattoo artist. After five years in my apprenticeship I combined my previous business knowledge with my new craft and opened Fallen Owl Tattoo Studio in Lakewood, Colorado.
What have been some of the most rewarding parts of owning your business?
I'm extremely proud of the crew I get to work with every day. We have won national as well as international accolades for our artwork. Tattooing has taken me around the world, as far as Southeast Asia to Central America, San Francisco to New York City. We have worked hard to shatter old stereotypes of tattoos, promoting it as a legitimate and safe business. We've worked alongside our local health department to update laws that keep the industry safe. In 2014, I started working with the National Cancer Institute as an Expert Advisor, creating a program to help tattoo artists educate their clients on sun safety and cancer prevention. We do charity work every year as a way to give back to our community. In 2015, we were awarded 'Business of the Year' by the Action Center for our continued philanthropy. The best accomplishment is to be in a position where our success can be paid forward to the community.
What have been some challenges?
Tattooing has always been a "fringe" business. The old stereotypes are still firm in many people’s minds. When doing charity work we found a few businesses that wouldn't take donations from us because they didn't want to be affiliated with a tattoo shop. When I initially opened my business, several landlords turned me away once they what industry I was in. When it came time to buy this building (with 10 years of tax returns, an 800 credit score, and verifiable income) I was still turned away from several banks.
How has the SBA 504 real estate loan helped your business?
This loan was a game changer for me. Most artists in the tattoo world go into tattooing to be rebellious and live outside of societal norms. For me, 17 years later, a little less idealistic, and in my 11th year owning my business, stability is much more desirable. I wanted to ensure that my business and my co-workers have a permanent home and can support all of our families.
How did you find out about the loan program?
This is Fallen Owl’s second location. As soon as I moved in I started talking to my landlord about purchasing. When COVID hit he heard about SBA financing and was gracious enough to see an opportunity for me and sell. Several banks didn’t want to help fund my business, especially during a pandemic. I was fortunate enough to meet Josh Peebles, at Collegiate Peaks Bank. He really took the time to find the best loan for my situation and helped walk me through the process.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Dreams don't come easy! Put in the work and keep evolving. It's hard but I can't imagine working for anyone else again.
Note from Adam: I can't thank Todd Rosen enough for taking a chance in renting and eventually selling to me. Huge thank you to Josh Peebles at Collegiate Peaks Bank for helping me receive funding. Giant shout-out to Brianna and Amber at Colorado Lending Source for the million emails helping walk me through the SBA side of things.