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Hidden Gems: Meet Justin Campbell of SmashtheGas (AKA SmashdaGas)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Campbell.

Hi Justin, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born and raised in Tampa, FL. I had a fun and fulfilling childhood, thanks to my parents, grandparents, and support system. However, I felt like I wanted to discover more about life beyond the area I grew up. This influenced me to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. I was able to network and develop relationships with people from different regions of the U.S., which I still value to this day. I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and I am currently employed in a skilled nursing setting where I help individuals adapt to life with disabilities. I have served both the Adult and Pediatric populations. I enjoy helping others, which led to the development of SmashDaGas. It also has played a role in other businesses I have in development, including our newest project: House of Harmony. We aim to address homelessness in the Tampa Bay area by providing safe and affordable housing to individuals in need.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
“Smooth Seas has never made a great sailor.” I truly believe life is about 10% of the things you go through and 90% of how you respond. Sure, I’ve had some challenges along the way. Becoming a father while starting graduate school was definitely a challenge. My son will be eight years old next week, so looking back on it, I think I made it through those earlier times of his life relatively well. I truly feel that you must have a healthy belief in yourself and the things you want to accomplish. The world has plenty of people who will doubt you, so you owe it to yourself to not be one of those people. That is, of course, easier said than done. When I didn’t pass my National Board Exam to become a licensed, registered Occupational Therapist, I surely had a bit of self-doubt. I’m not used to failing something that I have 100% effort towards. I had to realize my errors to correct them. Now the rest is history and I have been a licensed certified Occupational Therapist going on four years now.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about SmashtheGas (AKA SmashdaGas)?
Our business is based on entertainment for individuals in the Tampa Bay Area. We offer rentals of Polaris Slingshots, which have been the talk of the town during the pandemic. People are looking for safe, socially distant activities and this definitely qualifies. I have always been an outdoor type of person, so it was only fair to develop this type of business. Not to mention, the Tampa Bay area has seen a dramatic increase in tourism and transplants from other regions. We have rented vehicles to individuals from Boston, Little Rock, Scottsdale, and many different cities. The tropical climate of this area has been one of the biggest tailwinds for the growth of our business. We are not the only individuals who offer this service, but we are undoubtedly the best. Our accessibility is what sets us apart.

When dealing with other similar businesses, they have one pick-up/drop-off spot. They have one pick-up/drop-off time. Apart from those times, the businesses don’t offer any communication beyond that. That can be difficult for people, not to mention tourists from different regions of the country. With our business, we offer delivery and flexible pick-up/drop-off times. But most importantly, we offer a direct line of communication. On our business page, our business times state 24 hours and we mean it. I received calls at 12 a.m. from renters. Questions ranging from how to properly store the vehicle overnight to what are some fun things in the area I can do while I am in possession of the slingshot. We truly offer a direct line of communication at all times, in addition to friendly customer service. Check our reviews and client cams from satisfied customers!!

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
This question requires a separate interview entirely. The better question is what things I don’t like about the great city of Tampa, FL. However, I will stick with the assigned questions. I love so many things about Tampa. But the thing I love the most is the innovation aspect. We are included in countless lists and rankings from prominent platforms, such as Forbes and Niche. We are even ranked number 2 best city for “homebodies.” Go figure! But it is definitely well deserved. There is so much talent and creative innovators in this area that it is impossible to be inspired. Cathy Wood, founder ARK Investments, moved her headquarters to the Tampa Bay Area. She said the deciding factor between this area and Miami was the amount of untapped innovation. The hottest hedge fund manager in the world stated she moved her HQ from New York to this area because she envisioned a new Silicon Valley. I’ve only been screaming it for the last ten years to anybody who would listen.

The Tampa Bay area is the place to be. According to RedFin, we are ranked as the number 3 city that people are trying to move to. That isn’t an accident. The thing that I like least is the small minority of people that doesn’t see the vision of how great Tampa is and can continue to be. This isn’t a knock on Tampa by any means. But if more people buy into the vision, the better off we all will be. I am still shocked by residents who say “there isn’t anything to do here.” Or, “I’ve done it all.” That lets me know quite a bit about that individual. College Football National Championships, Wrestlemania, NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Super Bowls, Tom Brady/Giselle. For crying out loud, Elton John made it a point to include Tampa as a destination on the final tour of his career! Tampa is the place to be and I can’t say it enough.

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