It’s just as well Andrew Davidson was able to have his first family holiday for several years in September, because Christmas provided very little opportunity to put his feet up.
His shop, in the town of Comber, nine miles outside Belfast, only shut for Christmas Day, and even then his customers were not to be denied a bit of shopping.
He says: “We had relations staying on Christmas Day, and there were two young babies in the house. In the morning we ran out of Calpol, so I popped down to the shop to get some, and by the time I had deactivated the alarm a queue had formed behind me.”
He served the customers and went back home, but he returned to the shop later for some cream and batteries. Again, he had barely switched the lights on when more customers popped in. “They
were delighted we were ‘open’,” he says.
Davidson has started the new year with a new storage facility at his shop. He paid £1,300 for a shipping container, and then had to get a crane to lift it over the shop and position it at the back. “The crane cost £160 for just five minutes’ work,” he complains.
But he points out that it still worked out much cheaper than building an extension, and when he no longer needs it he can lift it out again and sell it.
“I do plan to build an extension one day, but not in the immediate future, maybe in about five years’ time,” he says.
Davidson is always on the lookout for new product lines and his latest discovery is bagged coal.
He says it has been a steady business and he is now extending into home-heating oil in 25-litre drums.