A BANTRY businessman has opted for a major change of career by finally pursuing his dream of a job that involves working outdoors.
Toby Campbell, who runs Fast.net print and stationery in the town, is hoping to sell his well-known business in order to swap office life for a career that will create a glamping (glamorous camping) facility, capitalising on the area’s stunning scenery.
Toby first landed in West Cork nearly 20 years ago with big plans for a career involving some kind of outdoor activities.
But, having met his wife Liz while hill walking, followed by engagement a year later, and a son the following year, the couple opted for a stable, permanent job in the printing business.
‘The original business provided internet access for the public, colour photocopying and a graphic design service,’ recalled Toby.
Not only was it his mother-in-law who introduced him to Liz, she was also instrumental in helping the couple to establish their business in Bantry – but it was all a far cry from Toby’s original game plan.
As the years went by the business and the family grew (daughter Hannah was born in 2003), the couple’s next big idea was the launch of the ‘Bantry Grapevine’ a popular local magazine full of local news and advice on a wide variety of topics.
The business moved to New Street in 2003 and then to its current location on Bridge Street in 2005, when Toby took the opportunity to expand into retail stationery.
Now employing four staff and providing a wide range of services, Fast.net is well established in Bantry.
However, after nearly 18 years in business, Toby is looking for a buyer for his beloved ‘baby’.
He has decided that it is time to get back on track to pursue his dream.
And, since the couple are no longer looking after his mother and father-in-law who have passed away, and their own children are now almost big enough to ‘fly the nest’, Toby believes the time is right for a change of direction.
‘I’m like a bear with a sore head if I’m not busy,’ Toby told The Southern Star.
‘So outside of work I volunteer for Bantry Lifeboat as company secretary and coxswain, and last year I received an award for 15 years’ service.’
He has also been chairman of the Bantry Town Traders and is currently company secretary for West Cork Chamber.
‘I really believe there are great opportunities for Bantry and the bay, especially for people looking for adventure,’ he said. ‘Selling the company will help me realise my original dream of working in the tourist sector and with outdoor activities. I’m very encouraged by the success of the Wild Atlantic Way which has provided a very noticeable increase in the number of visitors to the area all year round.’
Toby’s next business venture will involve tourist accommodation and he is currently researching the new surge in glamping, with the intention of setting up a small offering to start with, at his own home, outside Bantry. ‘As an active member of the Bantry Walking Club for the last three years, I can see opportunities for walking guides locally, so I’m hoping to qualify as a mountain leader with Mountaineering Ireland.’
He added that he has seen a lot of changes in Bantry over the last 20 years. ‘But I really believe the future is looking brighter than ever. The two new supermarkets and the availability of new retail space in the town is going to attract new business and more people to the area, so I think the time is right for a change,’ he added.