Pangea's New Direction
Street-level location, a move upscale
"We're trying to take the industry in a new direction," says j.c.potts, owner of Pangea Piercing. "We're trying to position ourselves to be the jewelry store of the twenty-first century."
That's why potts (who spells his name all lowercase like e.e. cummings, only without a space in the middle) moved his body piercing business from its funky second-floor location on State Street to a new street-level spot on Liberty across from the post office. He gutted the place, spent $60,000 revamping it, and opened for business at the end of January. "Ann Arbor has a stunning amount of jewelry stores," he says, and he wants people to think of Pangea Piercing as one of them. The difference is that every piece of jewelry Pangea sells is designed to be worn through a pierced body part--and if you don't have that piercing already, Pangea will do it.
When Andrea Gross opened Pangea in 1999 in a house on Church Street, it shared space with a tattoo parlor. Potts bought the business in 2007, five years after it relocated to State Street. "For many years, piercing and tattooing were equivalent in the public mind, but we're working to change that," says potts, who is thirty-five and has fourteen piercings himself. "Things have gotten so mainstream at this point that it's just another thing you buy jewelry for, like your finger or your wrist or your neck or your ears."Potts says most of his clients on State Street were students, but since the move he's seeing an older, more up-scale crowd. "A lot of them had piercings back in the nineties, and a lot of them took them out, thinking, 'Oh, I gotta grow up, I got kids now,' and all this stuff. But there comes a time when you want to try and get [that feeling] back."
Prices range from $20 for a titanium stud to more than $1,000 for a diamond one. "We actually sell quite a bit of the
high-end stuff, especially with my age group," potts says. "When you're young you get the inexpensive titanium stuff, then you put them in a drawer when it's time to get a job. When you're over thirty and more set financially, you get gold and diamonds, which is the kind of jewelry you're wearing anyway."
Pangea Piercing, 211 E. Liberty. 997-0608. Mon.Sat. noon-9 p.m., Sun. 1-p.m.-8 p.m. www.pangeapiercing.com
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[Originally published in May, 2010.]