The family sacrifice behind Narinder’s growing Sydney supermarket chain


  • Starting with a meagre $180,000, Narinder Singh’s chain of food stores has grown into a $50 million business.
  • Due to family circumstances, Mr Singh did not go to school beyond Year 9.
  • Mr Singh aims to open up 50 stores by 2030.

Narinder Singh was only 18 when he convinced his dad to sell their family home in New Zealand and trust him to invest the proceeds in Australia. Two decades later, he has big plans for the chain of grocery stores he owns and operates.

For Narinder Singh, the owner of QE Foodstores in Sydney, success did not come overnight.

Narinder’s family hail from Baghan, a small village in Punjab, India. His dad tried to make ends meet in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a few years but eventually made up his mind to migrate to New Zealand in 1996.

That move marked the end of Narinder’s schooling.

After studying only up to Year 9 in Dubai, Narinder was thrust into the working world in New Zealand to help his family get by.

“To meet the huge expenses of settling down in a new country and to pay off the mortgage of our new family house that my dad had bought in New Zealand, I started working in the farms for all seven days of a week with my parents,” he told SBS Punjabi.

Narinder Singh
Narinder Singh has grown his business to eleven food stores across Sydney. Source: Narinder Singh


Narinder explained that, like many traditional migrant parents, his dad wasn’t willing to take the risk of running a business.

He preferred to have a secure and stable income from the farms as a labourer.

But the teenager had big dreams and wanted to try his luck on his own venture.

He eventually convinced his father to sell their family home and allow him to invest the $180,000 (AUD) in a brighter future.

At 19, Narinder arrived in Australia, desperate to repay his father’s trust.

After studying the market for a year and working for various businesses, Narinder opened his first convenience store in Darlinghurst, Sydney, in 2002.

“I found it very hard to set up my first new business in a new country,” he said.

“The potential sellers considered it a big risk for a naive youth like me to start from scratch without prior experience running and managing a business.”

Things were hard early on with Narinder having to work long hours seven days a week. His father sent Narinder’s younger brother, who was only 16, to help share the workload.

But Narinder persevered.

“Starting from a small supermarket, I now own 11 food stores all over Sydney,” he said, adding that the business now employs over 130 staff.

If you keep following your goals with determination, the door of success will surely open up for you.

When most of the businesses were impacted badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, Narinder said QE Foodstores continued to provide fresh food to the community.

“We were lucky enough to keep our day to day business running as normal and didn’t switch over to online shopping at all,” said Narinder.

“The key to our success is the freshness of the items, easy access and the strong willingness to adapt to the requirements of our clients,” said Narinder.

And he still has big plans for growth.

“My vision is to expand my business from today’s worth of $50 million to $300 million by 2030, and to open 50 stores by then.”

To hear Narinder’s 20-year story of struggle and success, listen to the podcast.


Extracted from SBS Punjabi

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