Sharmila Patel lives in Te Atatu with her husband Bharat, children Rathin, 17, Ragi, 15, and pets Rocky and Bella. She talks to reporter Vanita Prasad about work at Westside Superette.
Work starts early for my husband and he leaves at 6.30am to set up the shop. Bharat puts the newspaper ads up outside, checks the breads, and arranges the till before the superette opens at 7am.
He's lucky because he has two friends Edi and Paul who help him set up and they start the day out with a coffee.
We have the before-school rush and then the milk man comes to restock our supply.
I come into the store around 10am and then me and Bharat take turns manning the counter. After the morning rush we deal with the suppliers and check our stock. We have a consistent flow of customers through the day.
There's never really a point when you're just sitting there doing nothing. It's hard work and there's always something that needs doing whether its re-stacking the shelves or filling the lolly bags.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are really busy with us for two reasons - Lotto and payday.
Having Lotto has been really good and it keeps the customers coming in.
We've had four first division winners over the 20 years we've been here. The last big winner was in 2008 so I think we're due for another one.
It's fantastic when that happens and on the Sunday morning we know straight away if we have a big winner because it appears on our system. We always wait looking forward to seeing who the winner could be.
The big winners react different ways. One woman was so excited she was jumping and jumping and had to call her friend. Another winner was shaking.
We've got a lot of familiar faces who are always telling us they don't want us to leave. Sometimes if we go on a holiday they will ask when we are coming back and sometimes they think we've left and it makes them upset.
That makes me feel like working more, it makes me feel stress-free.
My children grew up in the dairy and now they help out after school. I think many Indian families own dairies because of the lifestyle.
While running the business you can look after the kids, cut down grocery expenses and the whole family can help work.
You can also afford to give you your children a good education if you save enough money.
We have the after-school rush and many people stop in on their commute with the motorway traffic that comes along Te Atatu Rd.
Lollies, chips and icecreams are still firm after-school favourites.
In between running the dairy I manage to cook full lunches and dinners for the family every day.
I don't know how I fit it in but I just do.
We close the dairy at 8.30pm so it's a long day at work. Apart from our holidays, we work those hours every day of the year apart from half a day on Christmas.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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