Putting family first has paid off for husband and wife Steve and Lesley Potts.
The couple decided to open their own business when daughter Emily arrived, and they started news agent and convenience store Breaking News, in Fielding Court, South Shields, in August 2011.
Now they have moved yards away, taking over a new unit with twice the floor space in order to expand the business and allow Steve to step away from the rat race.
“We started the newsagent because we were having difficulty with child care,” said Steve.
“Lesley could work the newsagent’s around our daughter.”
Recently the chance came up to take over a larger unit opposite the original shop – and the couple leapt at the chance.
It is a community hub, somewhere for people to come in and talk about everyone’s life.Steve Potts
“I used to work for a big corporate company – I did that for 17 or 18 years,” said Steve.
“When the gentleman opposite started talking about retirement, we put the plan in place to buy that business from him, to get me out of the corporate environment and give me a little bit more freedom – especially weekends off.”
For Steve, the secret to the business’ success is no secret.
“Truth be told, it is what we call a community business,” he said.
“It is a community hub, somewhere for people to come in and talk about everyone’s life.
“We have a lot of people we look after, customers with Alzheimer’s, so we know what they buy.
“There is a huge advantage to offering old-fashioned service – you can’t beat that. It does not matter how big you are – people will always go where there is good service.
“We employ five people as well as ourselves and they are all people from the local area.”
Customers may have more ways to get their news these days, but newspapers are still a core part of the business.
“There is still a demand for newspapers, still a lot of people for whom a newspaper is a key part of their day,” said Steve.
“And we still deliver – not just the Gazette but a variety of others too.”