American tourist gets Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls tattoo after trip to Wigan

Kristi Kimmel

Kristi Kimmel’s tattoo sits on her right arm (Image: Cavendish Press)

Most tourists who visit the north of England go to e.g. York Minster or Liverpool’s Albert Dock.

But not Kristi Kimmel. The 48-year-old from Maryland, USA, went to Uncle Joe’s Mintball sweet factory in Wigan.

She loved it so much that she decided to get a tattoo on her right arm,

“We came to visit friends in Wigan and my friend, Alice Kinley, took me to a sweet shop,” she said.

‘The bright red Uncle Joe’s tin with a smiling man drew me in. I picked it up and said, “I’ll get this”.

‘She told me they are made in Wigan and Wigan is known all over the world for this candy. She went on to say that they have been around for over 100 years. It made me love them even more.

‘When we got home I put the happy tin with all my memories on a shelf in my kitchen where I could see it every day. People asked about it and I enjoyed telling the story.

Kristi and Paul

Kristi and her friend Paul Phillips with their matching Uncle Joe Mintballs tattoos (Image: Cavendish Press)


Kristi is very happy with her new tattoo (Image: Cavendish Press)

Christ's tattoo close up

The picture shows the tattoo up close (Image: Cavendish Press)

uncle joe's candy factory wigan

Uncle Joe’s Mintballs factory has been in Wigan for a century (Image: Cavendish Press)

‘When I decided to start a sleeve tattoo, I wanted to include things that mean a lot to me. I got the idea to include something to represent Wigan and our precious friends and Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls were perfect.

‘I told Alice my idea and she said her nephew had a similar tattoo.’

Kristi has traveled across much of the world, including California, the Dominican Republic and Morocco, but Wigan is the only place tattooed on her body.

When she returned to Wigan last month, she was invited on a tour of Uncle Joe’s factory.

The best places to visit in Wigan

These are the best places to visit in and around Wigan according to TripAdvisor

  1. Haigh Woodland Park
  2. Fairy Glen
  3. Three Sisters Racing Circuit
  4. DW Stadium
  5. Wigan Roller Rink
  6. Mesnes Park
  7. Worthington Lakes
  8. Wigan Little Theatre
  9. Borsdane Wood
  10. Museum of Wigan Life
  11. Grange Farm
  12. Trencherfield Mill

And when the staff found out about her tattoo, she was presented with an Uncle Joe’s T-shirt and a little book that told the story of how the candies were first made and how the business has grown.

Uncle Joe’s managing directors, John Winnard and Antony Winnard, said: ‘We were delighted to find out why Kristi wanted to visit our factory and honored that she chose our logo to represent the warm and friendly welcome that she received at Wigan.

‘The city is sometimes looked upon unfavourably, usually by people who have never been, but we think it’s the best place in the world. We are simply delighted that Kristi agrees.’

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