LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Every little bit counts when it comes to protecting women and men who are on the frontlines every day fighting the coronavirus. With protective supplies strained nationwide, health care workers are getting a helping hand from an unlikely place: tattoo parlors, like Tattoo Charlie’s in Louisville.
“This has been very strange for us,” owner Buddy Wheeler said. “We have been closed now for longer than we've ever been closed in our history since 1973.”
It’s been eight days for Tattoo Charlie’s. Only the studio’s famous slogan “Tattoos While You Wait” shines through darkened windows in neon.
Now, it’s owner Buddy Wheeler’s turn to wait.
“This is a radical change for us, but it’s the right change for us to keep people safe,” Buddy said.
But just waiting is something he said he couldn’t do.
“We have a ton of stuff sitting in storage,” Buddy said. “Cases of gloves, gauze, disinfectants, face masks, that are absolutely essential requirements in the medical field.”
Commonplace supplies used to protect both artists and customers in his tattoo studio everyday are now worth their weight in gold for healthcare professionals fighting the coronavirus. Rather than let something so valuable sit in storage, Buddy gathered up several thousand dollars worth from his shuttered up Louisville and Lexington shops and donated it to Norton and Baptist Health.
“Donating supplies it is a hit on the pocketbook, but it’s the right thing to do,” Buddy said. “I’d much rather take a hit on our supply budget and save lives rather than sit there and wonder if this could have done some good later.”
He’s urging other local businesses that have these kinds of supplies to do the same.
“Once we go back to work, those supplies will be available again for us, but right now, they are needed,” Buddy said.
Many hospitals in our area like Norton and UofL are accepting donations and say they are incredibly thankful and appreciative of all the support they are getting from the community.
To donate to Norton, call the Norton Healthcare Foundation at 502-629-8060.
To donate to UofL, click here to learn what they are accepting and where drop off locations are.