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With a negative stigma surrounding many tattoo shops, Steve Winterstein set out to create a safe environment for those looking to get some ink and, after laying the ground work, he opened up Five-O Tattoo, a veteran owned and run business.


After serving in the Army, Winterstein continued his service to the community by becoming a Bartlett Police Officer which proved to be a hurdle when he wanted to get a tattoo. Paul Abraham, one of the artists at Five-O, said many officers have a problem finding a place to get tattooed because they often recognize someone in the shop from a previous encounter and do not want to identify themselves as police.

Related: How two Illinois-based veterans were able to turn their hobby into a really unique business

This was the case with Winterstein who decided to get some training and open up his own tattoo shop founded on the idea of comfort. Any one of the three men there has served the country: Winterstein as a veteran of the Army and active duty police officer, Abraham as a Marine veteran and Jeff Larsen, the shop’s third artist, as a retired firefighter and paramedic.

“It’s a very open and warm and inviting shop. It’s not your average tattoo shop,” Abraham said. “It’s almost like you’re at home, like your grandmother decorated the place. There’s stuff on the walls, modern decorations, and it’s very warm and inviting.”

Related: Chicago group helps veterans smile, one tooth at a time

Located in Elburn at 109 E. North St. Suite B, Five-O Tattoos provides a variety of styles, striving to give anyone who walks in the door exactly what they are looking for. Each artist has their own signature style and for patrons who are unsure of what they want, Abraham said the guys are happy to help guide them along.

Often, a customer may walk in with a vague idea and Abraham said he, Winterstein and Larsen will work with the customer to help them understand more about their tattoo. While customers will leave with something to remember them by, he said they also get to remember and reflect upon the story that goes along with each person and their tattoo.

“Artistically, we don’t restrict ourselves,” Abraham said. “A lot of things we take away from [our customers] is the reason why they’re getting a tattoo. Everybody has kind of their own thing that they give us through their stories [and we] also get a lot of different perspective.”

This Veteran opened a Tattoo Shop and dedicated it to feeling like home Five-O Tattoo
Samantha Malone About the author:
Sam is a a 19-year-old Chicago-based writer who spends her free time working on music. She is a passionate writer interested in entertainment. At any time of day, Sam can be found writing or working on her new music.
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