With an owner aged 26, Leckhampton convenience store could either be in the hands of the young entrepreneur of the year, or the grip of the foolish impetuousness of youth. Martin Pashley will tell you he is very much the former, and I'm inclined to agree.

Martin's academic qualifications were achieved at Cardiff University where he studied sports management, but he soon realised sport was for fun and management was where his ambitions lay. He tells me he always wanted his own business, so when his partner's career took her to Gloucestershire, he made up his mind that this was the time and the place to go it alone.

What he wanted was a sandwich bar, and he was within 24 hours of snapping one up when the deal fell through. Luckily, sport came to his rescue. His squash partner told him he was being mucked about by the prospective buyer of his c- store, so Martin stepped in. A business loan from Alliance & Leicester fell through at the last minute, but he managed to scrape together enough cash from friends and family and took over in July. Four months in and Martin is happy with the twists of fate that led him to the store. "I'm so glad I got this rather than a sandwich bar," he admits. "There is so much more to a shop like this one."

He ain't kidding. The shop, as it was when he took it on, is your classic CTN, with about 1,000 sq ft of floor space. Its only real handicap is that it is a strange L shape, which means that a lot of the shop is hidden from the front door. I should confess this is my local paper shop, and although I often come here for sweets and magazines, it wasn't until I did this interview that I realised it sold bread, milk, booze, sarnies, and much more. The layout had hidden all this from me.

When I arrived, Martin was marshalling a team of shopfitters as they ripped out fixtures and shelves in preparation for opening up the front windows. This scored huge brownie points with me. The painted-out window may give him a bit more shelf space but the impression it gives is of a shop stuck in the 1970s. The open window is much more welcoming. If he really wanted to step outside the comfort zone of a local c-store, he could consider an external fruit and veg stand, and even move the front door to open the store up.

But he has made a good start and was indeed making changes as soon as he took the business on. He has put in a hot coffee machine, for instance, which is doing well, but I think would be enhanced with a flask of fresh milk. The rise of the high-street coffee chain has led to people expecting more than a sealed milk sachet. Fresh milk would make a world of difference.

He has a counter display of hot pies, hot sausage rolls and hot cakes, but what makes Martin so much fun to talk to is his enthusiasm and the way he spots business opportunities. It didn't take him long to realise hot fresh croissants would probably appeal to his Sunday morning customers who popped in for a paper and a coffee. Sure enough, they sold like hot cakes.

Martin has also thought carefully about fresh snacks. Some shopkeepers find making sandwiches time and labour-intensive, and Martin has found a solution in a company called Country Choice. It supplies bake-off raw baguettes, some fillings, and even packaging a sort of instant fresh baguette kit, which looked tasty and, according to Martin, is selling well.

Many small shops have made disastrous forays into DVD rental, but Martin has created a sort of 'evening in' corner, selling drinks, snacks, popcorn. He will still face stiff competition from cheap, post-based DVD rental firms, but must be given credit for trying to offer alternative services to his local customers, especially as there is a large Midcounties Co-op 40 yards away. Having a different offer will help him pinch its customers, but is also making sure his prices are competitive, too. "I've managed to entice a few bargain hunters in by selling cheaper milk," he says.

Martin admits he is new to retailing and values the support he gets from already being a Mace shop. While he doesn't use Mace exclusively, it gets the bulk of his trade, and is helping to develop the shiny new exterior. The refit is needed to update the store, but he also needs to make sure he stands out to passing trade. He is on a key rat-run from the M4 to Cheltenham so the traffic flow is huge. He gets a load of passing trade for snacks, papers, sandwiches and drinks, which is a miracle because there is absolutely no signage to invite shoppers to stop. Thankfully, new signage is part of Martin's current main plan. And perhaps he should install mirrors to help shoppers see round that blessed corner.

I envy Martin. He is full of new ideas but also has got the business making money right now. This store is giving him a great launch pad for all his ideas.