by Nick Starr

In the world of tattoos, parlor owners and artists know pain—it is their business after all. Joe Lash co-owner of Electric Chair Tattoo knows more than most. Joe inherited the business after his father Ron was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 37 on June 12, 2004.

Ron Lash first purchased the Clio Electric Chair in 1991. Under his leadership the business expanded and they opened locations in Bay City and Flint. After the accident, the shop was taken over by Joe and his uncle Robbie Lash. Joe committed himself to carrying on his father's legacy and started handling finances, managing the three locations' employees, and running the day-to-day operations in Flint. In 2006 Joe decided to start doing tattoos as well because he feels that "if you own a tattoo parlor and you have the artistic ability, you should do tattoos yourself, so you know what your employees are going through."

The strong presence and lessons that Ron left behind is the reason that Joe and Robbie see to it that the three Electric Chair locations are run like one big family. In this family-like environment, the artists of varying styles work together and learn from one another. Besides working like a family, they're also able to relax like a family. The three locations come together for an annual camping trip and also celebrate holidays together.

Joe admits that he is often spread thin with the challenge of trying to be "everywhere at once." This is, however, made worthwhile every time one of their artists wins another award or is featured in another magazine layout. "I am amazed by the growth and improvement I have seen in the tattoo industry," says Joe, "and we will continue to provide the best quality work in Mid-Michigan as we look to expand to other locations in the future." As the business looks ahead, one thing remains clear: the Lash family will continue to carry on Ron's vision and legacy.

For more information, visit http://electricchairtattoo.com. The three locations are 606 E. Midland St., Bay City (989-992-8282); 11051 N. Saginaw Rd., Clio (810-687-6470); and 3104 S. Dort Highway, Flint (810-743-2603).

© Nick Starr, 2010