Jimmy Gettings, who is just weeks away from his 81st birthday, also insists: “I’ll keep going as long as I can. I don’t want to retire.”
His La Mirage Picture Framing Shop, in Alma Street, Hartlepool reopened on Monday, April 12, following the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.
After a slow start, he said he enjoyed a brisk trade on Tuesday and added: "It’s been non stop.”
Mr Gettings, who lives in the town, said chatting and laughing with his customers motivates him to keep going.
He added: “It’s meeting people and talking to them and having a good carry on with them.
“A lot of my customers have been coming in since I started all these years ago. It’s really good to get back in it again. I’ll keep going as far as I can. I don’t want to retire.”
The Hartlepool United fan is currently undergoing cancer treatment after the illness was diagnosed in 2019.
It can be controlled with medication and it hasn’t dampened his spirit - with a holiday to Egypt planned for later this year if restrictions are eased further.
He said: "I just think about my holidays and what I’m going to do and just enjoy myself."
The pandemic hasn’t put off Mr Gettings from running the shop – even after he and partner Paddy Horsley contracted coronavirus in late October 2020.
Mr Gettings, who has run his business for more than 30 years, said: "We were really ill. We had it for about 10-12 days and then it went. We just looked after each other.”
After recovering, Mr Gettings returned to the shop in December before the next raft of restrictions forced him to close down again until this week.
With lockdown restrictions now lifting, the businessman hopes to be able to celebrate his birthday in greater style this year and to go on his annual holiday to Bulgaria as well.
“When you get to this age, you live for the day,” he said.