Just when you think you’ve maxed out meeting inspirational Manx entrepreneurs, a couple more rock up.
Earlier this week we caught up with husband and wife, Simon & Caroline; Islanders, parents and serial entrepreneurs.
They have a seriously impressive portfolio of Island businesses and all of their businesses stay true to their ethos;
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly”
With each of their businesses they aim to break the ceiling standard on the Isle of Man, introducing City standard establishments to our island, these include; The Courthouse, West Coast Fitness Gym and Busy Bears Nursery.
The scale of their latest venture ‘Sunset Lakes’ is something to behold. The project has been a labour of love for just over fourteen years and is now just weeks away from opening.
In the beautiful setting of their new complex they told us more…
What inspired Sunset Lakes?
‘I was into fishing as a young lad and watched a lot of angling TV programmes as a kid.
John Wilson who was voted ‘The Greatest Angler of all Time’ in 2004, was a real hero to me.
In one of his TV programmes he talked about building an angling lake in his back garden.
I loved the idea, even as a young kid. What could be better than your own fishing lake?! It became a dream for me to do this too.
We went beyond just the lake and built 5 lakes plus a cafe, play area, holiday homes and an education centre, as you do!
In a busy, connected world angling is a great way to switch off. We’re working to make the experience even more convenient and relaxing by delivering lunches and refreshments to anglers around the lakes.’
14 years in the making, that’s some slog!
‘The development has only actually taken two years, the other 12 years were spent convincing the ‘powers that be’ that this would be a great facility for the Island; locals and tourists alike!
It’s a labour of love for me and has been a huge life lesson in perseverance.
“And that’s how many years I’ve been listening to chats about fishing!” jokes Caroline.
Has being parents influenced the project?
‘Definitely, we want to encourage our kids and others to get outside and enjoy nature in a beautiful and safe environment.
We have built an education suite as part of the development and have a qualified team of angling instructors to help families embrace the environment.’
‘There are some great family facilities on the Island but we wanted to create something with a different vibe. Something high quality and chilled out, the architecture was planned with this in mind.
Our kids have spent numerous hours playing in the park since it was finished.
There are full views of the play zones and angling lakes from our cafe and terrace area, so parents can kick back with a coffee or glass of fizz and enjoy the surroundings while their kids enjoy the adventure park”
How has the Island’s UNESCO Biosphere status impacted the development?
‘We’ve gone to great lengths to create our own biosphere and it’s great to see the new wildlife starting to move in.
4,000 trees have been planted to enhance the habitat, along with thousands of marginal plants and wildflowers. We’re really excited to see the flora come to life in the summer months.
The fish in the lake are not indigenous to the Isle of Man so we have special licenses in place and our biosecurity programme to protect the species.
We’re building beehives and we have plans for our own composting facility to recycle all of our own waste.’
What’s next for you guys?
“I think this is our last project, we want to enjoy this one”
Caroline said “There’s still loads of potential at Sunset Lakes, we’re working on wedding venue options, kids parties and more. We’re just excited to see as may Islanders as possible enjoying the facility!”
The incredible ‘Sunset Lakes’ will open in just a few weeks time, check back on Gef soon for further details.