The Aloha Monkey experience: Renowned tattoo shop gets stellar new setting

When you’re building a new headquarters for an accomplished artist, you can expect a lot of creative input into the design.

That’s what Titus Principal Lee Lawrence learned when working with tattoo artist extraordinaire Josh Arment on a bigger, better Burnsville building for his longtime business, Aloha Monkey.

The ink-loving entrepreneur, whose shop was recognized by USA Today last year as one of the top 10 tattoo shops in the U.S., had spent years brainstorming designs for his new Nicollet Avenue headquarters. In fact, before contacting Titus he had already worked with an architect so he could come to the table with drawings and bid-ready plans.

“My favorite part of the project was working with Josh,” reports Lawrence. “He’s a very unique individual with a lot of vision and creativity that comes from 20 years in the tattoo business, painting visions of what people want on their bodies. He’s a very colorful character and all-in-all a good guy, which made the whole experience fun for me.”

The stunning result at 13700 Nicollet Ave. is a clean-lined, highly functional 4,000-square-foot space featuring a half-stone, half-stucco exterior. Even better, to help solve the problem of Aloha Monkey’s expiring lease, Titus was able to finish the entire project in just five months.

“There was a hard push to make that happen,” Lawrence adds. “It was a courtesy to Josh.”

No monkey business — just expert construction

The company named for another tattoo artists’ mischievous mascot was established on Smith Street in 1999 before it moved to a Nicollet Avenue strip mall. Shortly afterward, Arment bought an adjacent 1970s-era former gas station and held onto it until he could afford a larger-scale operation.

cutting through concrete walls and laying new concrete pad

Enter Titus. Because most of the 1,400-square-foot concrete block station didn’t lend itself to renovation, Titus specialists began by removing the entire back end and completely gutting the building. The façade was left intact so the project could be classified as a remodel, warding off the code restrictions associated with a complete new build from the ground up. Next came a major extension and the installation of new roofing, electric, HVAC and plumbing systems. Along the way, key features included oil-rubbed bronze fixtures, new cabinetry, aluminum-clad windows and granite countertops, with flooring of etched and stained epoxy and high-end Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring that mimics hardwood.

Because sanitation is so key to a tattoo practice, many features were fine-tuned to meet health codes.

“There are separations, special sinks and touchless faucets to maintain the sterilization of equipment,” Lawrence explains. “And all prep and work stations had to be made of solid surfaces so there are no contamination issues.”

Titus also painted interiors to meet the business’ trademark pink and green color scheme. “The whole inside is very colorful,” Lawrence explains. “There aren’t many square feet of wall space inside without inspiration art all over them.”

painted walls pink and green

To ensure adequate levels of electric power (three-phase power instead of single-phase), Dakota Power extended power lines from a couple of blocks away. Space surrounding the building includes a new curb and gutter and a blacktopped parking area.

Further plans at Aloha Monkey call for adding a deck off the back.

The free Titus tattoos offered to all Titus staffers working on the project? So far, there are no takers.

“I imagine our subcontractors should have jumped on it,” laughs Lawrence. “But I’m a little old school and a little past that age to bother.”

Thinking of a bigger, better new headquarters for your own business? Talk about your ideas with the specialists at Titus Contracting. We can walk you through the process timeline and costs associated with your dream project, helping you turn it into a beautiful, functional reality.  

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