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Kiwis Ink looks to leave their mark on customers

Kiwis Ink looks to leave their  mark on customers Kiwis Ink looks to leave their  mark on customers

The theme of ink has continued in the building that formerly housed the Cadott Sentinel offi ce on Cadott’s Main Street. The ink just comes in a different form at the 327 South Main Street address – as a tattoo shop.

Jeff Knecht, originally from Eagleton, now of Eau Claire, opened Kiwis Ink in November. The name of the shop comes in honor of his wife, Angela.

“My wife is from New Zealand,” said Knecht.

Known as Kiwis, the New Zealander met Knecht online while playing Texas hold’em poker in 2008. After courting by internet for three years, Knecht was joined in the United States by his bride-to-be.

In homage to the name, the shop proudly displays a plaque with a Kiwi tribal symbol hanging on the wall, as well as a decal on the front door.

Knecht previously worked for others, but decided to open his own shop for security for his wife and their six-year-old daughter, Serenity, known as the business mascot. Without having to work for someone else, Knecht can put away money for his daughter and for his retirement years.

“Everything stays in the bank,” he said.

Knecht tried to open a shop in Eau Claire, but the building maintenance was too extensive on the place he had in mind.

When he saw the Cadott building was available for rent, with everything inside all new, he thought the price was great, compared to Eau Claire.

“And the licensing is a lot cheaper,” said Knecht.

It took about a month and a half to get the shop set up how he wanted, but now the set-up is almost complete, except for hanging up art- work.

“I’ve been drawing since I was a kid,” said Knecht, adding that he got into a little trouble when he was younger and taught himself to do tattoos, and has since straightened out his life. “Now, I do stuff to help people.”

It’s now been 36 years since he started tattooing, after a tattoo artist noticed his drawings and asked if Knecht was in the business. The answer at that time was no.

“He said, ‘Well, you shade like a tattoo artist,’” said Knecht.

The artist asked if Knecht would try to do a tattoo and the rest is history. Now, Knecht does many custom tattoos for his clients. “There are a lot of them I free-hand,” he said.

The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, from noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday and Monday by appointment. Appointments or consultations can be made by calling 715-491-1187.

Currently, Knecht and his full-time employee, Chas Neitzel, have kept busy since the shop opened. Knecht says he has a lot of people coming in from surrounding towns, who say they are glad they do not have to go to Eau Claire for a good tattoo.

He also has many long-time clients, who follow him wherever he goes.

“They’re really happy,” said Knecht. “I’ve pretty much been open seven days a week, since we opened.”