South Shields businessman celebrates 40 years in Quarry Lane store after moving from India 'for a better life'
A 78-year-old businessman is celebrating his 40th anniversary in his South Shields much-loved store after moving thousands of miles away from his home town in India for a better life.
Harinder Singh, known to locals as Paul, opened Singh’s Wine Store on Quarry Lane on April, 30, 1981 after leaving the city of Amritsar to start a new life in the UK.
Paul became the first turban-wearing business owner in South Shields at the time before being welcomed by local residents and bringing up a family in the area.
Mr Singh has continued to run the store for the past 40 years while raising his two daughters, two sons, and being delighted at the arrival of four grandchildren.
The 78-year-old moved to Loughborough in 1964 and found a job in a chemical factory where his scientist brother Amarjit worked.
He said: “Moving from India when I was only 21 was a big step for me, but seeing my big brother being successful inspired me to believe that I could do it myself.
"It was difficult leaving my parents and other siblings as such a young age to travel thousands of miles away, but it was the best decision I have ever made.”
Paul started out by selling everything from cold cuts of meat, bread, milk, and other everyday essentials before taking telephone orders and delivering goods to elderly residents.
The store was run by Paul and his wife Ranjit until she suddenly passed away in 1992.
After the death of his wife the wider community rallied around to help him with his business and young family.
The store remained open during the pandemic but Paul’s family ran the shop on behalf of him while he shielded in the first lockdown with his granddaughter Anjali, who raised just under £2000 for charity at her father’s post office.
He added: “The last couple of years have brought new challenges and I found shielding very difficult as I’m not the kind of person to stay at home, I love being in the shop and seeing regular customers every day, some of which have visited daily the past 40 years.
“Perhaps there will be a point when I’m ready to have a rest and play shop with my granddaughter at home but for now, I’m determined to keep going!”