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Brothers work in family store & on CSU degrees
Sunny Singh rings up a customer at Discount Market in between studying for his classes at California State University Stanislaus. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
It isn’t uncommon for Parminder Singh to throw out a hello to a customer that saunters through the doors of his family’s Discount Market.

For the last three years, it’s been that friendly approach that has helped his neighborhood convenience store – tucked away on Union Road just south of the Union Pacific railroad tracks – become a staple for those along the busy corridor that stop in for everything from a gallon of milk to a bag of ice on their way home from work.

And when it comes to the day-to-day operation of Discount Market, it truly is a family affair that keeps the steady stream of customers that are on a first name basis with the staff returning almost daily for their sundries and even for the conversation that they’ve grown accustomed to.

“Almost everybody that comes through here live within walking distance, and that gives us a chance to know them and what they want and that helps us give them the service that they enjoy,” Parminder Singh said. “It’s what the customers enjoy, and we enjoy making that available for them.”

But this isn’t your typical family-owned market.

The trio of brothers – Parminder, Sunny, and Jetinder – help their father with the day-to-day operations in between their studies at Stanislaus State University where they’re majoring in a variety of subjects that deal specifically with their hands-on experience gained at the store on a daily basis.

While it might be Parminder who is operating the register for a portion of the night, it isn’t uncommon to see Sunny behind the counter hitting the books for an upcoming test that could very well land him his own store one day.

When it comes time to trade off, it’s Parminder who focuses on human relations texts, learning all that he can about inventory and the same merchants and vendors that filter through the store nearly on a daily basis – whether it’s to stock the beer section that draws plenty of customers on Sundays now that football season is here or figuring out exactly how much soda is needed to keep the coolers stocked.

The hands-on experience, he said, only helps him and his two brothers operate father Manjit’s store to the best of their ability. It is with the knowledge that they hope to someday parlay into an expansion and possibly their own store.

“One of the great things about doing this is getting to know people, and having the chance to take the classes at Stanislaus that will only make our work knowledge better is a great thing to be able to do,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll be something really big for our family someday.”

Discount Market is located at 502 N. Union Road, and is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to either 12 or 12:30 a.m. depending on the customer traffic. They can be reached at 825-5733.