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More work in store may mean more success
Bhupinder Singh rings up a customer at Pete’s Beer and Wine Mart – the business he launched three weeks ago in the Pete’s Market building at 905 W. Yosemite Ave. Singh has operated the Foster’s Freeze location across the street for the last 12 years. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Bhupinder Singh spent seven years working for Kodak before his job was transferred out-of-state and he was forced to find something else locally that would keep him close to his family.

So he did the next best thing. He bought the Foster’s Freeze franchise on West Yosemite Avenue and went into business for himself.

And now that he has successfully operated the throw-back restaurant complete with walk-up ordering windows for the last 12 years, the father of two has tackled another project that he’s always kept in the back of his mind as something he’s wanted to try – running Pete’s Market directly across the street.

For three weeks, Singh has been working tirelessly to manage both businesses while he learns the ins and outs of the market trade on the fly – having to work with more than seven vendors that supply his new store compared with the one that outfits his restaurant with everything he needs.

It’s a learning curve, he says, but it’s also a labor of love.

“It’s hard work when you’re in business for yourself, because you have to make sure that everything is the way it’s supposed to be. The days are long,” Singh said. “Right now I have a daughter who is going to college at Berkeley and wants to be a doctor, and a son who is almost there and also wants to be a doctor.

“They realize how hard I work, and hopefully they’ll do the same in their lives.”

During his days at Foster’s Freeze – which can at times stretch out to 14 hours – Singh always eyed the once robust and popular neighborhood market that has slowly declined since the original owners sold the building as a business opportunity.

He never thought that the opportunity would ever arise where he’d get the chance to open up his own store – one he’s calling Pete’s Beer and Wine Mart. He wasn’t sure if it did come that he’d be ready to tackle another business opportunity with almost all of his time dedicated to running Foster’s Freeze.

The fact that the restaurant is now moving into its busiest time of year stretches the owner – who oversees operations at both businesses with his wife Rajovinder – pretty thin.

“Sometimes it’s a headache, but you have to deal with that if you want to succeed. You have to be confident and you have to be calm if you get fed up, or you’re not going to make it in business,” Singh said. “I never thought when I was working at Kodak that I would one day own two businesses across the street from each other, but that’s where I am today. It wasn’t easy, and it’s not easy, but in order to succeed in business and in life you have to work hard and that’s what I do.”

Pete’s Beer and Wine Mart is located at 905 W. Yosemite Avenue, and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The business can be reached at 249-0458. Foster’s Freeze is located at 906 W. Yosemite Avenue, and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 823-5691.