Best of CSU: Tribal Rites Based on Art, Personal Meaning and Quality

Tribal Rites Tattoo and Piercing is located at 632 S. College Ave. Photo by Mary Willson
Tribal Rites Tattoo and Piercing is located at 632 S. College Ave. Photo by Mary Willson

Tattooing for some is a way to make a statement, to keep memories close, or to show meaning to the world. For others, it is all about the art.

This mentality is what has kept Tribal Rites Tattoo and Piercing shop, located at 632 S. College Ave., on top since 1994. This tattooing and piercing mecca has won “Best of CSU” multiple years in a row, and this year is no different. Although, the shop is a little different lately—it is the good kind of different.


“We just bought it in August, but we’ve been here forever. It’s the same crew as always, now we just own it,” said Chad Williams, co-owner with Curtis Burgess. “Its nice to be able to really make it ours. It’s always been our shop. It’s a real small shop, and we’ve always taken a lot of pride in it. Our whole thing has always been to be the best.”

Additional jewelry cases, a shop makeover and a new hire in January followed the change in ownership, but the quality is just the same.

“We have really high quality artists. We are very particular about that,” Williams said.

Williams knows the quality artists he has, because co-owner Burgess is an in-sector star.

“We have people flying in all over the world to get tattoos here by him,” Williams said about Burgess. “He’s very humble though. His waiting list is about two years. I don’t think there’s anyone else in Fort Collins that is booked up that much.”

With a high-caliber staff, clean studio, and vast selection of jewelry, there is only one choice left to make for a tattoo-inclined student: what to get.

“The most important thing I tell people who are looking to get tattooed is to look at the portfolio. Look at the artists work, wherever it is you go to see the quality of artist,” Williams said. “A lot of people have this misconception that ‘oh what I want is little, I want it just like that so anyone can do that.’ I think you really need to find a really good artist no matter how big, little, important, not important.”

Tribal Rites offers tattoos, personal consultations, piercings, walk in’s when there are cancelations or when a student can be fit in and coupons in the Collegian. Tribal Rites does not offer lip tattoos, finger mustache tattoos, or other “fad tattoos.”

“We are really into the art of tattooing,” he said. “We really want to make good tattoos for people that will last a long time.”

Stop by the shop, situated between Go Joes and D.P. Dough between noon and 7 p.m. weekdays and noon and 10 p.m. weekends. Check them out on Facebook at, on Instagram or Twitter @tribalrites.


College Avenue digital editor Mary Willson can be reached at