He spent 25 years learning how to buy, fit and sell carpets at Capstick Carpets in Appleby.
Now, Andrew Lees has bought the family firm with his partner, Jo Gurney, for an undisclosed sum from former mentor Patrick Leach.
This heralds a new era for the Appleby business which has traded in the town for more than 70 years.
Mr Leach, who has run the firm for 25 years alongside his wife, Marion, has welcomed the sale, saying he is pleased to see new blood coming into the company.
He added that a number of businesses across Appleby have seen younger generations step up and take the lead — something he says is a positive move for the future of the town.
Andrew, 41, began working for Capstick Carpets before he had even finished as a pupil at Appleby Grammar School, and at 16 was taken on as an apprentice.
Having learned the trade from the bottom up, he is now looking to modernise the business. His partner, Jo, brings to the table a head for figures with a professional background in accountancy which is hoped will make the sums add up in their new venture.
“We are just excited really, doing something for our children is the main drive, we can be our own bosses and have something as a family business as well,” Jo said.
Jo, 39, will also help to run the shop while Andrew concentrates on fitting, pricing and measuring for new orders.
The new owners are keeping on all current staff members, which fluctuates in number up to 12.
First established in 1950 as WH Capstick, named after founder William Capstick, the business was based at Westmorland House, Appleby, which is now the Spar shop.
It was taken over by his son, also named William, and retiring owner Mr Leach started working at the shop himself as an apprentice in 1973.
Twenty-five years ago he bought the business and moved Capstick Carpets to its present home at The Sands.
With such a long history in the town, Andrew and Jo intend to keep the Capstick Carpets name as they believe the branding is strong.
They are looking to modernise and attract a wider customer base.
This will include changes inside the shop, new rug ranges and forging links with new stockists as well as possibly expanding to offer a selection of soft furnishings.
The couple live in Appleby with their children Poppy, 11, and eight-year-old Henry.