Ever fancied a bit of archery on your lunchbreak?
Now you can thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Connor Warden.
The 28-year-old explained how he came to run a city centre archery retreat having been office-bound for most of his working life.
He said: “I had a couple of office jobs here in Northern Ireland. The whole time I was doing office work I was wanting to try something different. I had a blast in New Zealand for a year, but I still was doing office work out there.
“I met my girlfriend out there, she’s from Slovakia. Our Visas were running out and she can speak a few languages but I can only speak English so we Googled ‘English speaking countries in Europe’ and ended up in Malta.”
You might not be surprised to learn Connor ended up in an office job again, but then something happened that changed the course of his career path.
“I’d done a bit of archery before and I started going to Malta Archery which is run by an amazing bloke called Armin,” he continued.
“I went that often that it got to the point I was helping out and doing a bit of teaching. Armin became a good friend and has been full of good advice.”
Connor’s father suffered a heart attack which took Connor back home to be close to him. Thankfully he’s made a great recovery, but it was back in Belfast that Connor made the brave move to go it alone in business.
He said: “Based on what Armin taught me I set up my own archery business. I found these amazing premises tucked away in a side street in the city centre. They were perfect and the rent isn’t too bad.”
Connor’s Instinct Archery NI is housed in the same building in College Court along with Hench Gym and Catalyst Arts.
He explained the ethos of his company: “What I’ve tried to do is create a set up where people can drop in and casually and comfortable shoot a few arrows at a very affordable price.
“People get put off by the kind of Olympic-style archery with big heavy bows you get at archery clubs. I’m not knocking archery clubs – they’re the next step up from what I’m doing if people want to pursue the sport further. What I’m running isn’t an archery club, it’s somewhere where people can just turn up and within five minutes they’re shooting arrows at a target.
“It’s a great way to de-stress at lunchtime. We’ve got standard targets to start you off and tennis balls to aim at for the sharp shooters. We can also incorporate moving targets and I’m hoping to get a giant dartboard for a bit of craic.”
Of his new business Connor said: “It’s been sporadic, but that’s what I like about it. It keeps you on your toes. You never know who’s going to come in the door. I’ve always been a wee bit philosophical. You’re a tiny wee person on a very big planet, you might as well have a bash.”
Instinct Archery is open from 12noon to 7pm, Monday to Friday and from 1pm to 6pm at weekends. It costs £5 for a 30 minutes session. You’ll find more information at instinctarcheryni.com