On a whim, one couple moved from the Fargo-Moorhead area to Ottertail a year ago to run a resort. Jamie and Angie Nelson bought Shady Grove Resort, located on Rush Lake, and Blue Bubble Laundry—which they renamed to Wishy Washy Laundry—in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since moving to the area, Jamie and Angie have fallen in love with their new community and businesses. Prior to leaving the Fargo-Moorhead area, the two were working a lot on businesses they no longer enjoyed. They became burnt out. While looking for something new, the couple came across the resort business.

"I love it here, and I love the people," Angie said. "The people that come to the resort are fantastic…They're on vacation, and they're happy." Jamie has also loved meeting new people in the community and the peace and quiet that comes with the area.

According to Jamie and Angie, they chose the Perham area because it's a great location with a great school. Perham also seemed business-friendly, which is exactly what they were looking for.

Shady Grove Resort is located on the west shore of Rush Lake (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
Shady Grove Resort is located on the west shore of Rush Lake (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

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Despite their first year running the Shady Grove Resort being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, both believe it turned out well. They only had one or two cancellations a week. "We're grateful it wasn't more," said Angie.

The pandemic caused a lot of difficult unknowns. The two experienced a lot of cancellations on Memorial Day weekend, however the rest of the summer went fine. They even plan on adding another cabin and updating the resort's sign, which blew down in a storm last year.

The Shady Grove Resort has been in operation since 1932. Because of that, there are a lot of repeat guests who've been coming to the resort for 30 to 50 years. This really appeals to Angie and Jamie.

While they were looking into buying the resort in early 2020, they found out the previous owner washed the linens herself. Not long after that, the laundromat in Perham went up for sale.

"I said, 'Well, why don't we take some of our money and put it in the laundromat, since I'm going to be spending a lot of time up there anyway,'" Angie said. "The numbers just worked on it, and it just seemed like a good complementary business to (Shady Grove Resort)."

While renaming the laundromat, they chose the name "Wishy Washy" because that's the name of the laundromat where Dolly Parton met her husband.

In the future, Shady Grove hopes to offer more to do during the winter season (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
In the future, Shady Grove hopes to offer more to do during the winter season (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

In the future, the two are hoping to expand their businesses a little and make a few upgrades. They've added extra boat rentals and are always looking for new opportunities.

"(I'm looking forward to) getting to know more people around here…just being part of the community, I guess," Angie said. She and Jamie are incredibly grateful to be able to do what they do for a living. Faith is a huge part of why they're here, and, according to Angie, it feels like God has leads them where they go.

Jamie made sure to give his good buddy, Tim from Willow Wood Resort, a shoutout for always lending out his tools.

The Shady Grove Resort is located at 35686 Rush Lake Loop in Ottertail. They can be contacted at 218-346-6040.