Andrew Davidson's ambition was always to run his own shop, and when he was made redundant two and a half years ago, he took the opportunity to buy premises in Lower Newtonards in Belfast.
"I'm really glad I did it ­ I love it," he says. "When I see some retailers with glum faces down at the cash and carry, I really don't understand it."
Even though the nearest experience he'd had of retailing had been as a paperboy, he says he always believed he would be good at it, and as he has nearly doubled turnover since he took over, it looks like he was right.
His store is fairly small and sells newspapers, confectionery, tobacco and a range of top-up grocery items.
He runs the shop with the help of three "girls". "I call them girls but one is older than me," he says, "and they can all run the shop when I'm not there." He opens the shop most days at 6am, and always locks it up at 9pm, but leaves at 2pm so he can pick his children up from school, returning after suppr at 6pm.
There is a small amount of passing trade, but the vast majority of his customers are local regulars.
He knows nearly all of them by name and says he can even predict when they will come in and what they will buy. "I know a lot of them because I went to school with them," he says.
Despite his local knowledge, he has been surprised by one line which has taken off in the store. "Someone came in the shop and asked if I sold cockles, so I thought I'd try them, and now I'm selling a tray of cockles a day. I think they are horrible, but they are good business."
Davidson has recently switched wholesaler after the Holmes depot just down the road closed down. Sadly, it meant the end of a handy arrangement, he had with one of the staff who used to pop in to the shop for his paper on the way to work. Davidson could hand him his order and it was usually delivered by 11am the same day.
Now he goes to Musgraves. He says: "It's big and it has got everything I want. It's not as handy, but it does have a bigger range than my last depot, and it's good to browse and see what's on offer."