For Indian American Family, Personal Life and Business Intertwine in Complex Ways

Narinder at the family’s store in Lindenhurst

Narinder at the family’s store in Lindenhurst, NY. (Photo: Long Island Wins)

This story comes to us from Long Island Wins.

For 38-year-old Punjab native Narinder Kaur, providing a life for his family means shouldering an intense responsibility: From eight in the morning until eight at a night, seven days a week, Kaur must be at his Lindenhurst convenience store, even on days he’s sick or when it’s a holiday.

His wife Gurpreet, who goes by the nickname Dolly, and his 3-year-old son Armaan miss him, but Narinder can’t close for a day or even an hour. He’s afraid that his loyal lotto clientele, who provide him with 75 percent of his business, buying small gifts, cigarettes, and beverages along with their tickets, will go elsewhere.

While the convenience store provides the Kaurs with a good living, the earnings can be unreliable, and as Dolly, 31, makes Indian spiced tea in their comfortable two-bedroom condo in West Babylon, she talks about the family’s hope that Narinder can shift into the wholesale business.

“Narinder could never work a regular job,” Dolly laughs. “He was born to be a businessman, but right now he’s not spending enough time with his family.”

The Kaurs aren’t the only Indian family on Long Island dealing with the demands of a start-up business: Indians account for 7 percent of all immigration to Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to a report published by Hofstra University’s Center for the Study of Labor and Democracy, and Indian-owned businesses tend to be among the most successful in the United States. The US Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners reported that Indian-owned businesses generated the highest revenue out of all ethnic groups surveyed.

Read the rest of the story on Long Island Wins.

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