Hard work pays off for corner store owners
WORKING seven days a week, 16-hour days, all starting at 3am.
That was working life for Alan, 53, and Sonya, 50, Longmore when they bought a corner store business.
But the long hours and hard work have all paid off for the couple, who now enjoy work two days a week and have the best of both worlds.
The pair has owned Billman's Store for seven years and love every aspect of it, even the long days in the beginning.
"We used to get down to the shop at 3.30am and prep. We'd stop at 11am when staff would take over and we'd have a few hours sleep," Alan said.
After seven years of hard work, Alan says that business is booming and he and his wife work only two days a week and have the time to travel.
But it wasn't easy making the business a success, with challenges like supermarkets moving into the region and the Global Financial Crisis.
"Everybody took a hit during the GFC," Alan said.
"You have to adapt and change. We saw what had changed and what people wanted and we adapted to progress the business.
"We have one petrol bowser now. We used to have two but we had to change."
And when it comes to the competition of bigger retailers in town, Alan says that some competition is great.
"Once again we adapted to it. We open at 4.30am each morning and have the people that are going to work and coming home from work," Alan said.
"Business is doing quite well. You keep things reasonably priced and we have good quality food and our staff are fantastic."
Alan and Sonya couldn't imagine owning any other business, as they know their customers personally after nearly a decade of service.
"We have had regular customer for years. Even Ken Billman who owned the original store still comes in."