BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — On a winter night in 2005, Scott Biddle was on The Village Idiot stage, singing and playing guitar with the band Simon Carter when Heather Carpenter walked in.
“I noticed her right away, but I didn’t remember her, so it was butterflies all over again,” said Biddle, who had occasionally run into Heather in the years after both graduated from Anthony Wayne High School.
Heather, who preferred the punk rock scene but rarely went out, reluctantly joined a friend that night. She noticed Scott right away.
“He had a mohawk and a pink shirt,” she said. “I’ve got respect for a guy who can rock a pink shirt.”
A year later, Heather and Scott were married and on January 20 celebrated their 15th anniversary. While in New Orleans for a tattoo convention in November, the couple renewed their wedding vows.
Amity Ink, the Maumee tattoo and piercing shop the couple opened on November 29, 2019 with “financial guy” Nick Baker, is just across the street from The Village Idiot and reflects the Biddles’ shared love of art and friendship.
“Amity means friendship,” reads a sign hanging in the shop at 306 Conant St. Named for the fictional town of Amity Island in the Jaws films, the brightly colored storefront is filled with Jaws-themed memorabilia and retro furniture.
“This is the kind of place where kids come in to get their ears pierced,” Heather said. “We didn’t want it to be scary with skulls and dark colors.”
“We want our clientele to feel at ease. I would say that a larger percentage of my clientele is female,” Scott added.
Growing up, neither one thought about opening a tattoo parlor.
“I always thought I’d have a shop in Maumee, but it would be a skateboard shop,” said Heather, a 2000 graduate who remembers 306 Conant St. as the home of Woodward Photography, where she had her senior class photos taken. During her senior year, Heather took a photography class, and six years ago, she opened Heather Biddle Photography.
Scott, who has played in many bands over the years, is a guitarist and singer for the Skittle Bots, a ’90s cover band.
While Scott graduated from AW in 2002, he grew up in Maumee, where his grandfather Richard Huff-man was Wayne Trail Elementary principal for years. Scott recalls accompanying his grandfather as he was involved in the Maumee Elks, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and as a Maumee City Council member for 12 years. After graduation, Scott trained as a graphic artist and created logos, band posters, labels and tap handle designs for the beer industry.
Eventually, Scott decided to combine his graphic arts expertise with his love of tattoos.
“I was 17 when I got my first tattoo – a gargoyle on my back. Mom was fine with it. Dad, not so much,” Scott laughed.
A rite of passage for tattoo artists is to put ink on their own skin.
“You have to trust your own hand to put something on your body,” he said. More nerve-wracking was applying ink to Heather, who was his first customer. Under the sleeve of her shirts is a coffee cup, Scott’s first tattoo. In the seven years since, he’s tattooed many people.
Scott now manages a shop that is home to four tattoo artists and three professional piercers while Heather handles the client contacts and promotions.
“I pop in to water the plants,” said Heather, who is also busy with their three children, ages 5, 9 and 13.
With its comfortable atmosphere, Amity Ink draws in many first-timers who want to start small.
“These can be postcards, bumper stickers or statements of faith. It can be a daily reminder of something simple or devoid of meaning. It’s OK to get a tattoo that just looks cool,” Scott said. “Sometimes, I’ll steer people from trying to insert meaning into the tattoo. If you’re 20, your values and life expectations are completely different than when you’re 40. Sometimes, it’s daunting to find something relevant at 20 and 40 and 60, so consider it a snapshot of where you were in that moment of time.”
He points to his own tattoo of Austin, Texas – which he sees as a reminder of the time he was there.
“I’ve been getting tattoos for 21 years. I don’t have any that I don’t like,” said Heather, who got her first tattoo – a butterfly – at age 18.
As Amity Ink begins its third year of business, the Biddles talk about how the shop has been a hub for fostering friendships with new people and old friends alike.
“We’ve engulfed the vibe we wanted to create,” Heather said.
“I didn’t think that Maumee would be so welcoming, but I think we’re in our dream spot,” Scott added.