TOMORROW morning, Bill and Robyn Knight will be able to sleep in for the first time in 20 years.
Their Maryborough business, the Inconvenience Store, is closing its doors for the last time tonight - meaning they will no longer have to rise at 3.30am to make pies and sandwiches.
Mr Knight said it was a difficult decision to shut up shop, but a combination of rising costs, overwhelming paperwork and age meant it was the only sensible decision.
"The costs of running a business have gone up so much," Mr Knight said.
"Before amalgamation, my rates and water were $3000 per year; now they're $5000.
"Three years ago, my electricity bill was $350 a month in summer; now it's $460.
"It all adds up to a lot of sausage rolls and pies that need to be sold, and we just started to wonder if it was worth it."
Mr Knight said the local economy was in a "shocking" state, with many of his customers forced to move away for work.
"A lot of regulars have gone to the mines, so we only see them once every two or three weeks, when we used to see them every day," he said.
The strong loyalty of the people who shopped at the sandwich bar and knick-knack store meant some customers had taken news of the closure badly.
But it will be even harder for the Knights, who openly shed a tear at the thought of saying goodbye.
"Our social life is the shop counter," Mrs Knight said.
"When we came here, we knew no-one, and they've embraced us. You can't buy that."
However, the retirement may be short-lived.
Mrs Knight said if all went well, she would open her oldwares business in the shop in about six months' time.
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