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Neighbors Ditch Corporate America To Open California Bed & Breakfast

The Campbell family has called Glen Ellyn home for many years. But one of its kin is setting up a new chapter in California with the friends that moved next door.

Ten years ago, two Carleton Avenue families--and best friends--had to say goodbye after many memories of raising children together on the same block. A new job was pulling the Pollock family away from Glen Ellyn to California. Now that the children are grown, the couples are ready to write a new chapter. "On Jan. 15, I got a call from David, 'What do you think if we go ahead and pursue a dream of ours?'" Without a reason to say no, Jim Campbell said yes, which meant his wife, Debbie, would have to quit her job as a school technology aide and Jim would have to leave a corporate job and pack up their home of 20 plus years for a new life in California as bed and breakfast owners.

"We've been living our lives for our kids like so many parents in Glen Ellyn do. We love that, and still love that life, but socially we weren't as active because of that," said Jim. "Our whole perspective in this whole venture is to just make friends for the rest of our lives."

But that new venture means leaving behind a town Jim has known his entire life. 

"Glen Ellyn is part of my DNA," said Jim. 

A long line of Campbells have called Glen Ellyn home since the 1900s. And Jim has lived on the same street, Carleton Avenue, for almost his entire life. Despite the storied history in Glen Ellyn, last Monday, Jim and Debbie put the moving truck in drive and set out West to pursue a dream with their old Carleton Avenue neighbors. Ditching out on corporate America and leaving the adult kids behind, the Campbells set out to run a bed and breakfast in Santa Ynez, Calif., near the Santa Barbara Wine Country.  

Jim said the two couples come from varied professional backgrounds that will enable each of them to contribute to the success of the soon-to-be eight-bedroom Edison Street Inn

"We're a corporate refugee dream team," said Jim. 

Jim comes from the marketing industry, his wife, Debbie, used to work in the food service industry for 20 years while at Barone's before working at an elementary school. Katie Pollock is a certified public accountant, and Dave Pollock used to work for a major sports retail chain in product development. All this experience is sure to lead to a successful venture, said Jim.  

They group composed a business plan and shopped around the idea to several banks in the Santa Ynez area. A bank approved of their plan and provided them with the funds to start their new vision. As of June 1 the group became bed and breakfast owners. The Campbells flew out for the weekend and the group got a test run as the owners. Jim, who was a music composition major said one night ended by passing out song books and jamming with customers. 

"There were guests who had been there six to eight, ten times [and told us], 'holy cow were coming back and we're bringing our friends.'"

And that's exactly what they want. The new motto for their Edison Street Inn is, "arrive as guests, leave as friends."

With that attitude Jim said, "I just don't think we could fail." 

Editor's note: Debbie Campbell was a technology aide, not a teacher.

PJ Cardona June 27, 2012 at 12:13 PM
That's great story! Best of luck to the new owners!
J. Burket June 27, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Great people, the Campbells. Will miss my sporadic visits with them.

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