Kris Buchanan

Tattoo artist Kris Buchanan works on fellow Bodean's employee Amy Bingham who is getting a sand dollar inked on. Buchanan, a native of Florida, is raising money to help people affected by Hurricane Michael.

A local tattoo business is inking for a cause — helping to raise money for the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Michael. It's a goal brought about because one of the tattoo artists has ties to one of the hardest-hit areas.

Located on South U.S. 27, Bodean's Tattoos has a selection of gulf-inspired designs ready for customers, each offered for $50. Staff say the the money raised will be hand-delivered by one of their own within the next few days.

Anyone willing to participate can show up today. Tattoos may be offered Friday and Saturday as well, as time becomes available.

Kris Buchanan of Bodean's is originally from Port St. Joe in Florida and has heard from family and friends about the devastation in the hurricane-hit area. She said her own house seems to be okay, but her grandmother's home was destroyed. Also, her neighbor's mother, who is 90 years old, lost her home.

"It's an older community," she explained. On top of that, most of the community's economy is tied to tourism, and with many of Port St. Joe's residents talking of moving away, the area is facing a possible economic crisis.

"It needs all the love it can get right now," she said. 

Another of the artists who works there, Amanda "Bean" Bullock, posted on Facebook to announce the fundraiser, and within minutes the business had customers willing to help.

Bullock and Buchanan said they had done six tattoos in the 90 minutes since the post went up.

One of those customers was Watsekah Wheeler, who picked out a design saying "Stay Strong." She said she wanted to get the tattoo because she wanted to help Buchanan's hometown.

Plus, she wanted the reminder to herself to stay strong. "It's a reminder for me that no matter how bad you think you have it, somebody else has it a lot worse, so just stay strong and keep going," she said.

Buchanan said she appreciated the support from Somerset. "It means a lot to me that my community up here that I've been in for 10 years has been so willing to help."

She said she had plans to visit her hometown before the hurricane, but it means even more for her to return after the storm. Next week she will hand-deliver the money raised by Bodean's, with her plans being to take it to either the town's Sheriff's office or a local charity.

"One way or another I will be making sure this is going where it can take care of the people in that area," she said.

The sampler of designs from which people can chose to get for the fundraiser is available on Facebook or for viewing at the business's front desk.