Cooperation Benefits All in Iowa Recreation Area
For Brett Krantz, Jenn Westphal and their dog, Sophie, a trip to the Coralville Reservoir in eastern Iowa and Bobbers Grill has become somewhat of a summer routine.
"We're out here almost every weekend," said Krantz, 29, of North Liberty, Iowa. "With the dock and the restaurant all right here, it's just so convenient."
Bobbers Grill and Scales Pointe Campground owner Kris Kay says that convenience, as well as a unique entertainment experience, is necessary to keep people coming back, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.
Kris Kay and her husband, John, have owned Bobbers and the campground since 2007, and they collaborate on the entire Scales Pointe recreation area with Scott Andersen, who owns Scales Pointe Marina. In addition to camping sites, boat docks and the restaurant, Scales Pointe has a playground for children, a sand volleyball court where they hold an adult league three times a week,and a view of Coralville Lake that's hard to beat.
Kris Kay said the camping sites at Scales Pointe have always been a big hit and Bobbers is becoming more and more popular each year, but it's due, in part, to their determination to make the recreation area a local entertainment destination.
Because it's located at the end of Scales Bend Road, about four miles off of Highway 965, a trip to Bobbers Bar and Grill is rarely just an afterthought, Kay said. Instead, she and her employees have to make it a go-to spot for fun and leisure.
"We're not on anyone's drive home," Kay said. "So we have to make them want to come out here."
They've done that by offering an ongoing slate of entertainment, including live music on the Bobbers patio nearly every Saturday, and annual events like the Blues Fest, Ms. Bobber's Competition and the North Liberty Salute to Summer.
"There's a strong demand for something like this," Kay said. "We're the only private campground on the reservoir. That gives us an advantage."
This summer has been particularly busy, she said. The campground's 91 sites have been full nearly every weekend, some with people who stay all season.
"It's just like a family out here," she said. "Some people camp out here all summer long, from April to October. With boaters, it's the same thing."
For the first time, Bobbers will close for the winter along with the Scales Pointe Campground, Kay said.
Both will close for the season Nov. 1 and reopen March 1, 2012.
She said the couple has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the land, to expand the campgrounds and docks in recent years, but she said they're always mindful of how high water can impact their plans.
"We have to be extremely careful," Kay said. "We're working on future expansion, but being where we are, we do flood."
Kay recalled the five feet of water that stood inside Bobbers Grill after the 2008 flood and closed the restaurant for about a month.
"We reopened on July 4 serving Bloody Mary's out of the back of a semi-trailer," she said.
Through it all, Kay said they've relied on their customers for support and success.
"We have the best customer base ever," Kay said. "That's what I enjoy the most."