Friday saw a steady and curious flow of patrons stop by the brand new Viking Plaza on North K Ave on their grand opening day to check out the new bait and tackle shop and learn more about the collection of businesses already set up in the property.

“We had an overwhelming show of support from the community and from local businesses,” Chris Enos, owner of Viking Bait and Tackle said. “Everyone from shoppers to avid fishermen came in wanting to see our place and check out the space. There were a lot of warm wishes for us going forward.”

From 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., shoppers enjoyed snacks and signed up for door prizes while they browsed Vinton Bait and Tackle, the Vinton Ving Tsun Kung Fu Studio and Just Like That Creations by Jasmine Pottebaum.

“Sam, the owner of ‘My Credit Guy’, pledged $500 to give the first 50 customers $10 off an order of $25 or more. He was raised in Vinton and was thrilled to see a business like this return. The flower shop downtown brought us a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We had so many people excited that we were bringing back live minnows and bait for fishing in Vinton.”

Pottebaum started Just Like That Creations in October of 2019 out of her home as she balanced raising four kids and her ambition to create signs, clothing and masks. She got a car at Viking Auto when Enos and business partner Jason White were discussing buying the former Bright’s Piano building to expand their car lot and offer new businesses. Her business occupies the southern section of the property as she welcomed patrons on Friday.

“I just kinda happened upon this and felt it would be great for me to expand my business,” Pottebaum said. “I like the creativity that comes out of this. People love to support small businesses because they know they are making someone’s dream come true.”

Just Like That Creations also features creations from Tama County artists in addition to Pottebaum’s own wares. Pottebaum hopes to build her businesses up further and reach out to other local artists to feature their wares.

“It’s cool to be a part of something like Viking Plaza,” Pottebaum said. “The Viking family welcomed me with open arms. I love being in this building with them.”

The grand opening was a success in Enos’s eyes because of the amount of traffic the event created for the businesses and raised awareness of the kung fu studio, which opened its doors this past fall. Enos recognized that plenty of work still lies ahead for Viking Plaza. The bait shop plans to “drastically” increase their inventory in time for spring when fishermen are back out on the water once again. Several interest parties have reached out about remaining available space at Viking Plaza. Enos also created Viking Music Studio, which will provide a space for local musicians to host lessons for music students to practice in.

“I think one of the probably the most exciting things for me is that my family and my friends have commissioned Brian Parr to create a new corn statue for us,” Enos said. “It will go somewhere on the property. I’m excited because this is something I’ve always wanted. I love this town and I’m thankful for the support people have shown us already. I was born here and just love being able to open Viking Plaza for Vinton.”

Additional businesses moving into Viking Plaza will be featured in Vinton Newspapers once arrangements are finalized. According to Enos, local music teachers and Viking Plaza are collaborating together to figure out an effective schedule for music lessons.

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