Is the party over for BVU upperclassmen?


Kylee Deering, News Editor

Local Storm Lake bars are experiencing a decline in attendance by Buena Vista University (BVU) students, but nobody seems to know why. Newer students to BVU have heard the stories of the “good old days” from seniors and alumni, but there seems to be a shift in that scene.

Local bars started noticing a gradual decline in attendance when each new school year starts. This decline has had an effect on the bar atmosphere, and business, according to Puffs owner Steve Swanson.

“I don’t think the change has happened only this year,” said Swanson. “It has been going on for the past three or four years. There has been a steady decline in numbers, and it gets a little worse each year.”

Manager of Malarky’s, Monty Reinking, agrees the decrease is steadily occurring. Both bar owners agree it’s negatively impacting business.

“It has affected business,” said Swanson. “Obviously, less people in the bar means less revenue.”

Not only that, but Swanson has noticed the affect it’s had on the number of job applicants Puffs gets. He claims more customers equates to more tips, which is a huge selling point for employees applying. Smaller crowds means just the opposite.

Nobody can point to exactly why bar attendance has declined, and both owners have plenty of guesses, but Swanson believes there’s a reason to point towards social media.

“I think social media is as big of a reason as any,” said Swanson.

“It used to be that if kids wanted to go to the hot spot, they had to go out and find where that was. Now, you can instantly find out what everyone is doing by looking at Facebook or Twitter or by texting. People tend to stay home until they know others are out. One other thing affecting business is the absence of the “drunk bus.” People are afraid, as they should be, to drink and drive. There’s too much to lose. And not having transportation has caused people to stay on campus to have their fun.”

In previous years, both Malarky’s Pub and Puff’s Whitecap Inn have offered cheaper drinks as a way of enticing college kids out to the bars. Malarky’s hosts many different events, and performances. Puffs runs a happy hour every day from open until 7 pm, also offering one-dollar beers and two-dollar drinks on Fridays from 5-7 PM.

Swanson says he doesn’t believe he’s ever had a group of BVU students take advantage of that deal. On Saturday nights, Puff’s hosts a tailgate potluck along with the drink specials, with little participation from students and townspeople alike. Puffs has tried karaoke a few times with no luck.

Moving forward, Swanson thinks free transportation might be a positive draw.


Correction: A previous version of this story listed Monty Reinking as the owner of Malarky’s. He is the manager.