Tattoos have always been a controversial part of society, but let’s be honest; it’s pretty much normal now, especially in the Asheville area. Its an integral part of the culture here and as a resident myself, I think it’s beautiful. Beautiful art, beautiful people.

Speaking of which, there’s a little tattoo shop with a big reputation and some amazing people on Haywood Rd. in West Asheville. My friend and spiritual sister, Emily Morel, is a tattoo artist there, and we had a little conversation about her and the shop, and the community of West Asheville. She’s a huge supporter of local business, ( I am too!) and she lives by the motto: “I make my money on Haywood, and I spend my money on Haywood.”

In 1992, the shop opened up, under the name of California Emporium by the late California Ralph. In 2010, Emily had moved to Asheville from Texas with a little bit of experience under her belt. When Cali Ralph fell ill, she made a painting, which she sold for medical bills to help him out, and managed to land a job due to her good heartedness. Around the same time the shop changed its name to Victory Blvd and ownership of the shop changed hands to Steve Owings and Wade Elder. “They happily and willingly shared their experience.” Emily says of the current owners. She told me that their already well established clientele helped her accumulate her own steady flow of clients, and trust me she is well known in the area for her ink work.

One of my favorite things about the shop, however isn’t the ink, it’s the impact they have on the community. Every Friday the 13th, the shop has $15 tattoos that you can select from. As previously mentioned they are huge supporters of local business and if you work at an establishment on Haywood Rd, you have the benefit of a discount on tattoos. But outside ot the shop, the folks at VB still leave a footprint in the community. They are constantly donating to the local police and fire departments, as well as local little league teams, and the Wounded Warrior project. For more information on the shop and the amazing people that work there, drop by the shop on 872 Haywood Road in West Asheville, or visit them on the web at and tell them Will sent you!

Tattoo Artist