Some friends play games, some go into business together.

Some do both.

In February a group of Jamestown residents banded together with hopes of reopening the vacant Lakeside Marina at the Jamestown Reservoir. The Jim Marina opened to the public in May.

"I had thought about doing it last year but I wanted to have somebody to go into business with just so I didn't have to dedicate all of my time there," said Luke Anderson, part-owner of the Jim Marina, said of leasing the building. "Some of the couples were out and we were playing bingo and just started talking and they expressed some interest in it as well. We chatted about it for a couple of weeks and kind of decided to throw our hat in the ring. We made a proposal to the county and here we are."

Anderson and his wife, Kelly, were joined by Dusty and Sheena Neys, Matt and Karina Goehner and Eric and Kristi Ova in the business venture. The previous owner, Mike Kessler, occupied the building up until October 2018 at which time Stutsman County put the building up for lease.

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"It's great," said Nicole Meland, Stutsman County auditor and chief operating officer, of the new business. "They are attracting a lot of people out there and it's nice to see that it is being utilized and people are enjoying the reservoir. It's been really nice because it has been so quiet out there for the last several years so to see interest kind of boom back up is really nice.

"It's nice for the campground as well. Those people are able to get food and other things they might want so that is helpful as well. It's hard for the county to provide some of that stuff just with staffing. I hope people go out and enjoy it."

The group of business owners signed a lease agreement with the county from March 3, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021.

"Our family has always spent a lot of time on the lake and on the reservoir and we just thought having it closed during that year was just too valuable of a resource to have unused," Anderson said.

Anderson said he and the rest of the business partners started small scale - serving some limited menu items, gas and ice. As business has picked up, Anderson said the group has begun talking about creating a full menu. The Jim also has supplies for campers occupying the Lakeside campground.

"We have camping supplies like stuff for smores and firestarters," Anderson said. "If there is something that they may have forgotten on the way, they could get what they need without running across town."

The Jim is a resource not only to out-of-towners spending the weekend at the campground but also to the locals.

"The community has been super supportive and it's just kind of blown up," Anderson said. "They have been very patient and have worked well with us. We've had some people come in and say 'Man, I have never seen it this busy out here.' I would say that based on the numbers we have seen it has highlighted the reservoir and some of the possibilities that are out there."

Positive responses from the community were welcomed by the group that was unsure of what business would look like in the midst of a global health crisis.

"I think to be quite honest we were nervous opening this year with the pandemic going on 'cause it's maybe not the best time to open a business," Anderson said. "But we were surprised. The outdoor seating option provides that distancing opportunity. The marina offers just a look at the reservoir from a different perspective. We feel strongly about the future."