Day in the Life: Store owner

My morning
I wake up just after 5am and I am showered, dressed and ready to go within 20 minutes. I usually have cereal and a coffee for breakfast – I can’t function unless I have eaten.

I own two Costcutter stores – I normally spend the first part of my day at the Ellon store, the bigger of the two stores. I took on this store 12 years ago, prior to that I was the manager for 12 years. Some time later in the day I’ll go to my Mintlaw store – a smaller shop which I have owned for 24 years.

Derek Ritchie

I get to work for around 5.40am and I have regular morning tasks such as taking in the newspapers and filling the coffee machine with fresh milk as well as daily deliveries to check in. We will have a number of simultaneous deliveries including bread, and morning goods from various local bakeries and fruit and vegetables from another local supplier.

I turn on all the lights, unlock the doors and make sure the tills are ready to go – I have a few members of staff working at one time and they will arrive for 6.30am and will oversee different tasks such as organising the newspapers or stocking the shelves and getting the shop ready for when we open at 6.30am.

My staff are very rarely ill and are also very loyal – most of them have worked with me for many years so the turnover of staff is very low and I do all of the hiring myself. I employ 55 staff across the two stores.  

There are various daily orders to make which will have been noted from the previous night’s stock take. I will have suppliers ringing at different times throughout the morning so I always make sure I have the orders prepared and I have made my online orders.

Just before we open I will check the fresh food counters are ready and when I am happy everything is looking good the doors open and we welcome our first customers of the day.

My lunchtime
I will always take a lunch break, even if it is just for 20 minutes to sit and eat a sandwich and do the crossword. It is important to have a break.

My afternoon
By the afternoon, I am already beginning to think about the next day. I will order from local bakeries and make sure there will be enough fresh milk for the following morning. It is crucial that all our shelves are fully stocked for our customers and I ensure that the staff keep all the shelves full.

I will leave the Ellon store between 4-5pm to go to the Mintlaw shop and I will stay there until around 6pm. Normally on a Monday I will work the evening shift and leave at around 8pm. The Mintlaw store is a smaller shop without office staff so I balance cashing up the tills with orders for fresh food, bread and milk.

We pride ourselves on customer service and we have many regular customers – you can set your watch by some people, who will visit the store a couple of times a day. It is nice to have a chat and a bit of banter with people to brighten up the day.

My evening
In the evening I am normally exhausted from work so after walking my two cocker spaniels I will sit in front of the television, occasionally with a glass of malt whisky.

I always try to take one day off a week, normally on a Wednesday and in the evening I will attend Rotary club meetings as I am an active member. I am also on the National Retailer Board for Costcutter and attend regular meetings in Birmingham along with other retailers from across the country. The Costcutter directors attend and we discuss future plans and any issues we may have.

Being a shop owner of two stores, I am always busy and never bored – it is a very fast-paced job. I am always running about, up and down the stairs (which you think would keep me fit). People don’t realise how much is involved – I have between 10-12,000 lines to sell which takes a lot of work to get together, particularly as we source locally wherever possible. Our deliveries from Costcutter come three times a week and can include unloading between 100 and 1,000 boxes in one delivery so there’s never a moment to stand still.

Back to listing