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Tattoos on Haddon Avenue?

Collingswood considers a proposal

Is Collingswood, NJ ready for a new Golden Age?

That's the name of a "tattoo and gallery" business Jeff Miller hopes to open in a prominent  downtown storefront.

Forget body art's still rather raffish, renegade aura; Miller, 31, says Golden Age will focus on culture and community. He envisions it as "a departure" from conventional tattoo establishments - such as those the borough historically has prohibited.

"What I'm seeking is [permission] to operate a body art facility," says Miller, who lives in Runnemede and owns a Stratford tattoo shop. "Collingswood has a law banning tattoo parlors, but in my mind, what I practice is a higher form of art, much more of a refined artistic endeavor than picking a design off the wall."

The borough zoning board will take up Miller's application for a use variance June 3. Mayor Jim Maley declined to comment Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, Miller and his wife, Erin, 31, a Gloucester Township kindergarten teacher, hosted a sidewalk barbecue outside the Factory Workers, a makers' space that has enlivened the onetime Collingswood movie theater building. Golden Age would occupy the former theater's entrance on Haddon Avenue's 800 block.

Golden Age "is a new concept for Collingswood, and that's why we're having the event," says Factory CEO Tom Marchetty. "We want to make people understand what Jeff is bringing, rather than having that old-school concept of, 'tattoo shops are bad.'"

So far, nearly all of the posts about  Golden Age on Facebook's "In the Wood" page have been positive.

"Collingswood is an awesome town," Miller says. "My goal is to be a contributing part of this community."