'I haven't had a vacation in years'

When you're running a business on your own, it's tough to take time off.

From three employees, to just me

no vacation kevin kirk
  • Name: Kevin Kirk, 51
  • Company: The Heavy Metal Shop, Salt Lake City
  • Last vacation: 2009, Lake Havasu, AZ

I love running my own record shop, The Heavy Metal Shop, but the rise of the Internet hit my business hard. We had $228,000 in sales in 1996 -- our best year -- but only $80,000 in 2012.

What saved us was our clothing -- shirts and hats with our half-skull logo. Alice Cooper and Slayer have worn our brand.

I'm helping support two grandkids financially, one of the reasons I can't afford to go on vacation. At one point in the 1990s, I had three employees but these days it's just me running the store.

Now I work a second job as a meat cutter at a local grocery store from 4 a.m. to about 10 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

I haven't had a vacation since I went to Lake Havasu in 2009. But to relax, I try to get away for the day on my boat. On warm days, I ride my mountain bike to work with my 12-pound Dachshund Sydney in my backpack. And of course I love to see live shows. Even if you've had a really bad day, a great concert changes everything.

My store has been open for almost 26 years and I still love talking to people about music. There are always new kids coming up. And the good news is this year's sales already look like they'll be higher than 2012.

  @CNNMoney - Last updated August 09 2013 12:45 PM ET