In this study we investigate retail entrepreneurs' exit intentions by focusing on their job satisfaction, job-related stress, customer orientation, and dispositional optimism. We develop and test four hypotheses with structural equation modelling on a sample of 365 retail entrepreneurs. Our results indicate that dispositional optimism is a substantial driver of retail entrepreneurs’ customer orientation and job satisfaction. Dispositional optimism also decreases their job-related stress. We also find that both customer orientation and job-related stress mediate the relationship between dispositional optimism and job satisfaction prior to exit intentions. Finally, we found that job satisfaction has a mediating effect on the relationship between job-related stress and exit intentions.