From HVAC to kayaks. - RTO 9

Zack Fiddis loves the outdoors – especially paddle sports – but it wasn’t until five years ago that he made it his career.

He’d been working as an HVAC mechanic and living in Bowmanville, but he and his wife, Kiley, wanted a change of scenery, a more immediate connection to nature.

Then, as if it were posted just for him, Zack came across a listing for a home and business for sale on the same piece of rural property, backing onto a lake: Frontenac Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Centre.While they hadn’t planned on buying a business, Zack and Kiley knew it could afford them the lifestyle they wanted.

“We wanted some level of freedom to make our own choices,” Zack says. “We decided to quit our jobs, sell our home, buy this, and make it a full-time thing.”

It was a leap of faith, but they took the plunge, beginning a new chapter running a business that’d been operating for more than 30 years. Part retail, part tourism, Frontenac Outfitters has it all – from sales and rentals to lessons and even camping.

“It feels good when you have someone who’s new to canoeing or kayaking come in. You get them set up, and when they come back in a month or a year, you can see how excited they are that they’ve found this sport.”

“It’s a fun environment. A lifestyle career.”

Zack believes the possibilities are endless for people who want to work in outdoor tourism. With the right training and certification, you can be an asset anywhere in the world. But for him and his family, there’s no place like home.

“You’ve got the convenience of being accessible to cities like Kingston, Toronto, and Ottawa, but with all these back lakes and parks. There are so many opportunities for outdoor recreation.”

At the end of the day, it’s hard work running a business, but Zack keeps his eye on what inspired him in the first place.

“I get to help people love the outdoors as much as I do. What’s better than that?”

Interested in a career in tourism?

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