Surjeet Singh Notay and his family have been running local convenience store Notay’s based in Batley on Oakhill Road, for the past 46 years. Notay’s is not just a business to him and his family, but a legacy started by his grandad.
Surjeet, or Surj as he is fondly known by customers and friends alike, has been in the spotlight recently for his generous offers such the 1p shopping deal and cutting prices to 1966 levels. The 1p deal, which was run in partnership with Snappy Shopper consisted of a litre of fruit juice, a six-pack variety bag of crisps, a loaf of bread, and four apples, all for 1p if you spend £7 on the Snappy Shopper app on things you need, and you get the meal deal from Notay’s as a ‘top up’.
Customers were able to download the Snappy Shopper app and were able to access the deal and free deliver through there.
“It was a very popular campaign. I had never done deliveries before since that offer and we manage to increase deliver orders by 30%. Since then we’ve started doing deliveries on a permanent basis and it’s helping us as an independent retailer, but also our customers who can’t get out. So, everyone wins”
This isn’t the first time Surj has stepped up to help the community. It wasn’t too long ago, the world was hit by Covid-19, with lockdown and panic buying there was a struggle for those isolating to be able to get hold of their essential shopping. Surj once again stepped up and helped his local community by offering free deliveries and ensuring supplies were coming through at prices before panic buying.
The 41-year-old shop owner was even rewarded for his efforts from customers with knitted creatures and cakes. The care and affection Surj’s customers have for him, is evident, just by standing in the store for a few minutes, as a joyful atmosphere greets you, with Surj knowing all his customers by first name as they walk in.
“I get this from my grandad, who bought this shop over four decades ago.” Said Surj
“My grandad worked very hard, he and my grandma set the foundations for us to continue their legacy of hard work and giving back along the way.” He added.
Growing up life was tough for Surj, who attended Batley Grammar School as a youngster.
“I was the first Sikh, turban wearing child to attend Batley Grammar School, which at the time South Asian children were a minority.” Explained Surj
“The film Terminator had released back then, so it was quite easy for the kids in my school to tease me with the name turbinator. It wasn’t an easy time at school, and equally at home, as our shop windows used to get smashed and graffiti on the walls. We lived through the National Front era, with less than 5% of our area having coloured people live here.
“Now things are different the population is mixed where you will see equal amounts of brown people and white people”
Despite all the crime and racism growing up, this hasn’t deterred Surj from helping those in his area.
“Well, I’ve been taught kindness goes a long way and if you look at our area now, it’s a diverse community where all get along and support one another and I am pleased to be someone in a position who can give back.” Surj told Asian Standard
“Notay’s Convenience Store is more than a business, it’s my grandad’s legacy and it’s our duty to help.
“I belong to the Sikh faith and just like all other faiths we are taught to be kind and do Sewa (selfless service). My grandparents did it and so did my parents, so it’s instilled in me, that no matter how people treat you, one must always treat others with respect and kindness.”
As the cost of living crisis is beginning to hit households hard, Surj is trying to come up with innovative ideas and special offers to help his locals deal with rising costs.
His 1966 offer is one such initiative. As the World cup football has started, the former Batley grammar student has decided to cut prices for a bit to help people struggling with the cost of living and enjoy the World Cup.
Surj wants his customers to be able to host celebrations without ‘breaking the bank’. He wants people to feel nostalgic for the last time the men’s team won in 1966 and so has pushed back prices on many items to 1966.
Surj says this not only helps the pocket, but keeps spirits up as well, during what is looking to be a tough year ahead for all.