The results are in! Here are the winners of Little Village’s 2018 Best of the CRANDIC competition in the Goods & Services category, representing voters’ favorite businesses and service providers in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area. Browse the winners in the other four categories here.
Best Retail Staff:
117-119 E College St, Iowa City
Best Vintage or Consignment Store:
117-119 E College St, Iowa City
Best New Business:
Willow & Stock
207 N Linn St, Iowa City
“The have the most beautiful, well-priced flowers in the area, and amazing customer service. You can tell they really care about the community and are passionate about what they do.”
— JoAnn L.S.
Most Trusted Plumber:
537B Hwy 1 West, Iowa City
Most Trusted Electrician:
TIE! Homewood Electric and Gleason Electric Company
4192 Alyssa Ct SW, Ste E, Iowa City
915 Robins Rd, Hiawatha
Most Trusted in Auto Sales:
Toyota of Iowa City
1445 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City
Most Trusted Realtor:
Phoebe Martin, Skogman Realty
2530 Corridor Way #302, Coralville
Best Tattoo Artist:
Anne Marsh, Iowa City Tattoo
393 E College St, Iowa City
Q&A with Anne Marsh
How did you decide to become a tattoo artist?
I have always been interested in art — though not always “fine” art. When I was a kid I was perpetually drawing, painting, working with clay or plaster or fabric, or anything I could get my hands on. It was kind of a weird path to becoming a tattooer, but ultimately I fell in love with the craft.
What was it like to hone in your style and establish a practice?
I joined the Nemesis/Iowa City Tattoo team in 2009. It was, and is, a really difficult thing to learn — it has probably been the steepest learning curve I’ve encountered, both creatively and professionally. It certainly made it easier to work in an established shop, and there was a lot around to inspire me. Most of my co-workers or mentors utilized some elements of either American traditional or black and gray semi-realism, and both those directions were interesting to me.
What are your favorite tattoos to design and execute?
My affinity for the traditional American tattoo style was a little bit of a surprise since it was so different from my usual artistic approach. I had previously worked with either realism, or flat stencil shapes on large canvases (very disparate bodies of work, actually). At this point I really like anything to do with flora or fauna, and particularly bringing in motifs found in traditional folk arts. I also have gotten really interested in pushing my black and gray work — probably not into a photo-realistic place, but definitely testing my boundaries. I have been super happy that I’ve gotten asked to do a few portraits — either people or pets!
How are you able to relate to a variety of clients, and make their vision a reality?
I think that while there is a growing demand for original and custom work, people are also finding value in applying meaning to a specific category of tattoos that tend to use the same design elements. And those tattoos may not be incredibly unique, but I can help to tailor them as much as possible to each client individually, to figure out why they’ve made their choice, what it means to them, and to highlight those aspects of the design. For other folks it’s more of a technical challenge to figure out how to combine all the aspects of their tattoos into one cohesive piece, which again involves identifying one or two major themes and using them as the focus. And some clients give me a broad suggestion and then let me run with it — those are fun projects because I get to do some outside-the-box thinking and it’s generally exciting to have total creative control.
I enjoy having a variety of clients, and it’s important to me that I work in such a way that I make sure people know they are safe and will have their voices heard. It’s also pretty vital to be an active part of the community, and to use the space we have to give back as much as possible, as with our Emma Goldman [and Planned Parenthood] fundraisers. That type of event is pretty common in Iowa City (and other tattoo shops) — I think I was first introduced to the concept of grassroots, community-oriented fundraising through benefit shows at some of the rock clubs and venues in town.
I think women and LGBT+ folks are definitely using tattoos as tools of empowerment. Tattoos can be a badge or a signifier, as well as a powerful way to practice body autonomy. I think it means even more to feel comfortable exerting that power in a space that has been traditionally cishet male dominated.
Lastly, how does it feel to know you’re regarded as the best tattoo artist in the area? You had a decisive victory!
I am super honored to be recognized this way — my clients are the best! They motivate me every day with fun and exciting projects, and it’s super rewarding to get to know them on an individual basis. My co-workers past and present have been incredibly inspirational — I’m generally just exceptionally grateful to be able to go to work every day and make tattoos!
Most Trusted Mechanic:
Dodge St. Tire
605 N Dodge St, Iowa City
“This is where I have been going for years! When I ask them to explain something they never make me feel dumb.”
— Kaitlin S.
White Dog Automotive
“My car has 263,000 miles and is still going strong — and they get a lot the credit for that. And they are the friendliest people.”
— Michele H.
“They’ve never ever done wrong, and have been able to laugh with me through some pretty ridiculous situations. For real, if your serpentine belt is gonna shred itself, it might as well be when they’re driving!”
— Jessica B.
“They do good work on a timely basis, they are honest and never try to convince you that you need more than is necessary. Family-run, and they care about your family!”
— Renee T.
Russ’ Northside Service
“We’ve trusted John and his minions for decades, and he’s never steered us wrong.”
— Daniel L.D.
Most Trusted Lawyer
Best Body Piercer:
Release Body Modification
110 S Linn St, Iowa City
Best Hair Salon:
212 E Market St, Iowa City
“I don’t see a therapist, but every six weeks I have an appointment with JoAnn at HABA.”
— Pete B.