Chris Simmons of Lucky in Love Tattoo in Temple poses for a portrait on Tuesday.

After years of fighting to open a tattoo shop in Temple, Chris Simmons is finally getting his wish as he is set to open Lucky in Love Tattoo in Temple this week at 2416 Exchange Place, near Wings Pizza N Things and Hobby Lobby.

Simmons played an integral role in the Temple City Council’s decision last October to lift its ban on tattoo parlors within the city limits. He spent the better part of three years petitioning for the right to open a shop in the city. A native of McGregor, Simmons has lived in Central Texas his whole life and considers Temple home. He said it hasn’t quite set in that his struggle has come to a close.

“It’s still a little bit surreal. I’m just so excited to be able to do it in my hometown. I have a lot of pride in that,” Simmons said.

Once he receives final paperwork from the city, Simmons hopes to have the shop up and running Wednesday. He said the shop has already seen a large response from potential clients.

“People are very happy and very eager to be a part of it. We’ve had an overwhelming amount of people who are interested in what we’re doing and want to see for themselves,” Simmons said.

Simmons has had a shop in Morgan’s Point for three years, but believes his new location will be a boost to business.

“I feel like there’s good visibility here and there’s a good amount of commerce,” Simmons said. “I’ve been in Morgan’s Point which is a slower pace out there sometimes, so it’s nice to be able to see a little bit of the hustle and bustle of the city and be a part of that.”

The shop’s manager, Brandon Beck, is confident the shop will thrive in its new location.

“This road here has tremendous amounts of traffic. I know that people who come down here for other businesses are going to come (to the shop), and people who come here are going to go to all these other businesses,” Beck said. “I think this entire area is going to get just a little bit better because we’re here.”

Not everyone has been eager about tattoo shops coming to Temple, however. The decision to overturn the ban passed by a vote of 3 to 2 at the Oct. 20 Council meeting. Councilman Tim Davis said at the time that he voted against the measure because of the number of calls he received from constituents opposing tattoo shops. But Simmons said he hasn’t faced any adversity about his new location.

“The other businesses here are very excited that we’re here,” Simmons said. “In the little bit of time that we’ve been showing people the business, they’ve seen that a lot of people are coming here. We had this entire parking lot crowded the other night with people who just wanted to see the shop.”

Adjacent to the shop is Wings Pizza N Things, owned by Mike Dent. Dent he’s supportive of Simmons and his efforts to own a business in Temple.

“I don’t have tattoos, but I certainly support it. It’s another reason to keep people here in Temple,” Dent said. “Instead of going out of town to get tattoos, this will keep people here.”

Simmons said there are a lot of misconceptions about tattoo shops and people who have tattoos, but he’s hoping his new shop will reverse those thoughts.

“One of my best clients is a minister here in town, and he refers people from his congregation to us,” Simmons said. “There’s not really a type of person who gets tattoos. You can’t really put a stereotype on any type of person.”

For the time being, Simmons is satisfied with the progress he’s already made is excited about owning his business in Temple.

“We’re just really happy to be a part of local history here. We feel like we’ve made a difference,” he said. “To be able to come through this on top and everybody be happy is just an amazing thing.”