May 24, 2024 by Rikki Thompson
A Day In The Life
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He’s a familiar face in Portadown town centre with a family business now spanning into the third generation. With his infectious smile, Robert Davidson is a name rooted into the fabric of Portadown. While his childhood aspirations of becoming a professional footballer for Liverpool and Northern Ireland didn’t materialise, Robert discovered his knack for business and communicating with people. And of course it made sense to follow in his Father’s footsteps taking over the family business on Bridge Street.

Robert Davidson is the driving force behind the renowned Robert Davidson Clothing establishment. The store is a go-to destination for Menswear, Ladies, Boyswear, and Schoolwear catering to nearly 40 local schools. Robert’s roots run deep in the town he describes as “the beating heart of the North”, while his love for the enchanting North Coast adds a touch of wanderlust to his charm.

Academic journey

Robert’s educational voyage was marked by excellence as he navigated through the halls of Edenderry Primary School, Killicomaine Junior High, and Craigavon Senior High between 1975 and 1988. His fervor for Physical Education and History illuminated his path, setting the stage for his academic achievements. It was during his pursuit of a BTEC course that the allure of Business Studies captivated him, igniting a passion that would shape his future ventures in the dynamic realm of business. This educational foundation laid the groundwork for Robert’s journey towards becoming a prominent figure in the business landscape of Portadown and beyond.

Following his BTEC course at Portadown SRC, he honed his skills by working in diverse neighbouring towns of Dungannon and Lurgan, gaining invaluable experience along the way. In the ever-evolving business landscape of today, marked by the rise of online shopping, Robert acknowledges the significant changes but remains steadfast in his belief in the power of personal connections. To him, fostering genuine relationships with customers, offering unwavering support, and a friendly demeanor are paramount.


Speaking to UrbanABC, Robert paid homage to his father Robert Simpson Davidson, describing him as “a man of remarkable dedication and courage”. It is apparent the his Father’s guidance has been a profound source of inspiration for Robert. While Robert humbly admits that he may never match his father’s unparalleled work ethic, he wholeheartedly recognises the immense sacrifices his father made to establish and nurture the family business. The enduring legacy of his father’s hard work and perseverance is evident in the solid foundation upon which the business stands today.

“I will always value the knowledge and wisdom my Dad imparted on me. He laid the foundations that still stand today and his example and the way he drove on through countless challenges will also be my inspiration. My Dad was always a man for all the people regardless of title or social class something he ingrained in me as a child and I’m a firm believer of today”.

One of the most striking examples of Robert’s father’s unwavering commitment is his fearless response to challenging situations, such as facing fire bombs head-on. Robert vividly recalls the extraordinary moment when his father bravely carried a fire bomb out of the shop into the street, demonstrating remarkable courage and selflessness.


Of course no business is without it’s challenges and Robert admits that alongside most businesses the COVID-19 pandemic was extremely tough. Speaking of the impact of the pandemic, Robert said “the Covid period was undoubtedly one of the most significant challenges faced by many individuals, impacting both business operations and personal life in various ways. The uncertainties caused by closures and the financial strain resulting from excess stock purchases created a sense of fear and instability in the business realm. On a personal level, the absence of regular social interactions and recreational activities made my life particularly tough. However, spending quality time with my loyal dog, who enjoyed having me around 24/7, and rediscovering my love for running were some positive aspects amidst the difficulties. I suppose for me it was about finding the positives in a world of negativity”.

“During this trying time, the support from the government and the implementation of forward planning strategies within the business were instrumental in successfully navigating through this period of turmoil. We were classed as an essential service. Therefore we were able to remain open to a degree. I wanted to make sure we were doing as much good for the community as we could. We ended up conducting 248 home deliveries to provide essential items like uniforms and pyjamas to those in need. This not only kept me occupied but also allowed me to contribute positively to the local community during a time of great need”.


Asked about advice he would give to others entering into the world of retail, Robert highlights the need to embrace the modern digital world we now live in but without losing the personal touch. “The biggest piece of advice would be simple make good connections with customers both personally and using social media via an online presence – but in a real way. Don’t be fake in business as people will see through it eventually. So really never loose touch with the public”.

Hobbies and interests

When it comes to juggling work and passion, Robert stands out for his unwavering dedication and commitment to community development through football. The hardworking individual wears multiple hats, not just at his day job but also in his role at the Irish Football Association. Working tirelessly in Club Development within the ABC Borough and South West Regions, he is the go-to person for clubs and volunteers looking to enhance their skills both on and off the pitch.

For the past 8 years, Robert has been the driving force behind empowering clubs and volunteers, providing support in areas ranging from mental health and wellbeing courses to setting up disability football programs within clubs.

“Basically I help Clubs and Volunteers within these areas develop themselves both on and off the pitch. I help with Volunteers, Mental Health and Wellbeing courses and also helping disability football set-ups within Clubs”.

With a solid foundation of 25 years as a volunteer in youth football, his experience and expertise are invaluable assets to the local community.


Beyond his professional commitments, family takes the top spot in Robert’s heart, with his three sons John 28, Andrew 26 now in the family business and Sammy 23 and wife Gail being his constant motivation. Despite the demanding schedule, his love for running shines through as he strives to fit in three 5-mile runs each week. From hitting the gym to engaging in 5-a-side football matches and enjoying games of pickleball, Robert finds balance in staying active and involved in various sports activities.

Adding to his rich tapestry of interests, Robert is an active member of the Hope Community Church in Craigavon, showcasing his strong sense of community and faith. Balancing work, family, sports, and community involvement, he embodies dedication, passion, and a true spirit of service.

Robert’s commitment to creating meaningful connections and delivering exceptional service sets him apart in the dynamic world of business. His dedication to providing a personal touch and building lasting relationships with customers remains the cornerstone of Robert Davidson Clothing’s success story. Through his ethos of genuine care and community engagement, Robert continues to make a positive impact, one customer at a time.

Read more on Robert Davidson Clothing here


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