Bahadur Singh, Salem OR
Life & Prosperity in Salem, OR
“In 1699, the Khalsa [the collective body of initiated Sikhs] taught you have to be self-dependent, do not beg from somebody, work hard and share your wealth with others. It’s kind of in our blood,” Bahadur Singh said about the tendency of Sikhs to own businesses.
In 1991 Bahadur Singh moved from India to California’s Bay Area, the location of a large Sikh population. A member of the Sikh faith, Bahadur has a long uncut beard and pulls his hair back in a turban, which unravels to be 23 feet long by 42 inches wide. Bahadur explains that after he moved to California, he worked odd jobs at convenience stores, a skin-care company and fast-food chains so that he would always be able to support himself. The business-owning tendency seems to be a common thread among Sikhs.
In 1999 Bahadur moved to Salem, Oregon. He purchased a building on Center Street and begun the convenience store Center Market. Today, there are currently 25 Center Markets in Oregon and Bahadur owns 13 of them.
Bahadur served for many years as president of the local Sikh temple, Dasmesh Darbar, the largest in Oregon. Here, he helped other Sikhs get into business. Partner in business Navneet Kaur speaks of Bahadur’s character, “He is an entrepreneur and has the courage to invest. We are not the only ones he’s helped. Most people who have worked for him are business owners now.”
Bahadur Singh helps members with money so they can have a stable life of their own, Navneet says. In October of 2005, Bahadur and others got a loan to purchase a former Lutheran church on Oakhill Avenue, which they turned into Salem’s first Sikh temple, Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple, the biggest in Oregon. This temple not only provided a temple closer in distance than Vancouver, Washington, but also drew approximately forty of the two hundred Sikh families in the state of Oregon.
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Bahadur Singh’s Business Endeavors
Bahadur Singh’s business ventures didn’t stop with his experience in Salem, OR. To get a sense of the man today, it’s important to reflect on his origins. Bahadur Singh was born in Punjab in northern India. Raised on a farm in the nearby state of Bhira, Uttar Pradesh (where the Taj Mahal is located). Bahadur learned a lot about hard work, family, and community. He is so grateful for the opportunities he has been able to take advantage of in the United States but he will always feel a loyalty to the place where he was raised.
His father, Sadhu Singh ji, passed away in 2012. As a tribute to his father’s memory and a way to provide aid to others in his hometown, Bahadur founded One Beat Dasmesh Charitable Hospital in 2014. One Beat is the only medical facility in and around his home town. He currently devotes most of his time on this project, visiting India several times a year to tend to his business and to see his four sisters. Starting this hospital has been a life-long pursuit for him. In 2014, everything came together. His networking endeavors and scouting for a building finally paid off. The hospital is currently thriving, providing around the clock medical care for their patients. It is registered with the UP government, has a 24/7 Emergency room and much more.
Hard work, innovation, and effective change. Bahadur Singh has a riveting entrepreneurial spirit that encapsulates these values. He enjoys creating businesses to both provide a need, whether that is a service such as medical care or a product such as convenience goods, as well as providing more jobs for those that need work. He sees the full picture of how business can help their clients as well as provide jobs for those that want to work.
As Warren Buffett says, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Bahadur Singh believes in setting a solid foundation for the future. Singh strives to do so in his community in Salem, OR and all the way back in Uttar Pradesh in India through his charitable efforts.