Today’s Samo students wouldn’t recognize the Vike’s Inn of 80 years ago. After many years of financial ups and downs, the Vike’s Inn, established in 1931, will be celebrating its 80th anniversary with a grand re-opening, featuring many new products and a brand new logo.
According to ROP teacher Teri Jones, when the Vike’s Inn first opened, it was a bustling place, particularly in the ’40s and ’50s. It was a hub of student activity, and even had a malt shop and soda fountain. However, when the Vike’s Inn was moved from the History Building — the main building at the time — to it’s current location behind the administration building in the mid 1960s, sales began to drop rapidly and it was no longer an exciting place. The decline in sales continued throughout the next few decades.
“It became the store that you never went to unless you had to,” Jones said. “In the ’80s, there was only one person running all ASB finances and the entire store by themselves. By the early ’90s, it was losing a lot of money. The district hoped that it wouldn’t lose more than the budget of $12,000 a year, but they were really losing more like $15,000.”
It was in 1993 that an ambitious group of students decided it was time to take the reigns and change the Vike’s Inn to make it more attractive to the student body.
“My entrepreneur students in 1993 wanted to take it over, and they did in 1994. They started making profit immediately,” Jones said. “When the students are running it, they’re not only learning about entrepreneurship, there is also no longer a $12,000 budget item. We hold our own every year and we don’t cost the district anymore.”
After the ’90s, the Vikes Inn was back on its feet and becoming increasingly successful as the years went on. However, in recent years, sales began to fluctuate. Once again, Jones and her students decided to take action.
“Our sales were down dramatically last year, but they have risen substantially this year. Then we realized it was just time for a change, for something new, ” said Jones. “With this grand re-opening we now have a new logo, a new look, and we’re bringing in new merchandise.”
Samo alum Jenny Nicolas, who currently works in the Vike’s Inn, has seen the improvements made over the years, and feels optimistic about this years re-opening.
“Back in ’97, they mostly just sold postcards, envelopes and bus cards, and they didn’t sell anything like drinks, cup o’ noodles or t-shirts,” Nicolas said. “It wasn’t really well known by the students then, and I think all of these new changes will be really good.”
Even Samo students of today are looking forward to the grand re-opening, especially the ones behind the changes, the ROP business students.
“Hopefully it will make more people want to come, and will shed some light for those people who hang out in the Science Quad and never come to that part of the campus,” ROP business student Joey Bravo said. “It also might help to raise some school spirit.”