And he did, for about three months, before jumping straight back into the fray with a brand new frozen food venture, Cooltrader. "After leaving Iceland I had intended to retire but I felt the urge to get back into business," Walker says. "That wasn't the plan originally. "A lot of people from Iceland were contacting me asking if I was going to start again and whether they could join me, so I suppose I'm here by popular request. The opportunity to start again with a clean sheet of paper and without the baggage of the last 30 years was very attractive." Starting out in May, using his garage as an office and along with his former Iceland PA Kathy White and buying director Andy Errington, Cooltrader's first store opened in Wrexham at the end of July and looks likely to be the first in what Walker describes as a small chain of stores planned for the north west. The head office has already outgrown the garage, and now employing seven staff, has taken up a plush new base in the nearby Chester business park. "Obviously one store won't support the whole business, but we've got modest ambitions for it. I want to build a small chain probably around the north west and keep it private." The 2,500 sq ft Cooltrader store features mainly frozen food with some grocery and a small amount of chilled produce. The store layout is simple and uncluttered with freezer cabinets lining the majority of the walls and three aisles, with one wall of the store featuring a limited range of groceries. The format is not targeting any particular type of customer and Walker reckons it already has a broad mix of people shopping in the store. "Our business philosophy is simple," says Walker. "We make great play on the fact that there are no special offers, no bogofs, no deals. There are just amazing low prices all the time. We do not change our prices unless a product's cost price changes." This is communicated to customers with simple clear posters suspended from the ceiling promising honest value and amazing low prices on every product all of the time'. Other posters highlight the company's trading practices. Walker says: "The whole business is designed as a low cost operation. But we also pay the best retail wages in the area at £5 an hour. We had an advert in the local paper for £5 an hour and we had 370 people fill in application forms. "We work on the principle that if we pay staff 25% more then they're prepared to work 50% harder. So we pay more for a low cost operation." He adds that it also plays fair with suppliers which leads to knock-on benefits: "We have a secret weapon with suppliers: we pay them on time. We can get great deals from them because we pay them on the nail, and suppliers love it." Another distinctive element of the store's offering is the limited range. Buying director Andy Errington says this is deliberate: "The 80-20 rule states that 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your products, so we're only stocking the 20% of products that sell. We will only stock the volume lines ­ what sells in volume in the first place." Walker echoes this: "Which is the most popular cheese? Mild cheddar, so that's all we stock." The size of the store and back room storage facilities mean daily deliveries are required to keep the business well stocked to cope with what Walker describes as the "amazing demand". But when it comes to the exact figures he is elusive, offering only adjectives such as "wonderful" and "fantastic" to describe progress. The most direct competitor to Cooltrader is the nearby Iceland store in Wrexham, but Walker says that he views anyone who sells food as a competitor. However he is confident about Cooltrader's future and is currently fitting out his second store in Bootle, Liverpool. "We have modest ambitions ­ we just want to build a small chain." {{SPOTLIGHT }}