KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — An East Tennessee tattoo artist had dreamed of owning her own shop, and after many years of planning and a lot of hope -- she finally decided to realize that dream.
"To see it actually come to life and unveil around you... it's amazing and it's almost unbelievable sometimes," said Stacee O'Mary.
O'Mary's dream of opening her own tattoo shop was finally in front of her. Located in North Knoxville at 107 Cedar Lane, BeautiMarx hopes to be a one-stop shop for people wanting piercings, tattoos, tooth gems and other cosmetic services.
Before she could open shop, her team had a lot of work to do on the long-vacant building.
"When we came here, it was a disaster. It had been closed down for several years. We new it was going to be a lot of work" O'Mary said.
And a lot of work is exactly what they put in -- gutting the whole building, repainting it, and weatherizing it, all so she could open in just a matter of weeks.
"It's really indescribable to be honest. I'm sitting here playing with words trying to figure out which word is truly going to explain how it makes me feel, and it's really a feeling that I've never experienced before" she said.
To seal the deal and make her business recognizable -- her team worked to paint a eye-catching mural on the side of the building. Not just a few days later, though, a vandal tried to ruin their hard work.
Her dream almost came crashing down -- or so vandals thought -- after they broke the front windows and sloppily painted over the mural.
"When I got here it broke my heart, you know, because it's…this is my baby...I cried majority of the day because it's just awful," she said.
The months-long work dedicated to fulfilling a dream felt as though none of it mattered.
"For someone to disrespect it and destroy something we have worked our butts off for is debilitating almost", said O'Mary.
The last thing she is going to do is to allow this bad act of humanity stop her from reaching her lifelong goal, though. Her team worked to quickly fix the damage and repaint the mural.
"This was a little setback, and we're just going to focus on going forward," she said.
Despite the 'hiccup' along the way, O'Mary says BeautiMarx still plans to open on time later in July.