Susan grow up with few Asians around her since her neighbourhood was predominantly Jewish and Caucasians. As is the case with her cousin, Swetal Patel, she recalls similar feelings of isolation. Life at home took on a special significance. She vividly recalls her childhood home: floral patterns on the couch, the pattern on the chinaware, their wooden console TV, her aunt's "murtis" [translation: god-figurines?], and their temple in the kitchen.
Unlike cousin Swetal and Rakesh, Susan is not involved with the Patel Brothers food business directly. Instead she is a designers and she prides herself on doing her research on design trends that cater to South Asian American women's needs. Susan reflects on all this and makes informed decisions about what type of textiles are sold in her store. Similar thoughtfulness is evident in the jewellery on display in her store. As a member of the local Chamber of Commerce Susan has become the voice of the community and a business leader. She expresses great concern about the declining state of the economy and how it has impacted businesses on Devon Avenue: “Some stores get zero business for multiple days at a time. It breaks my heart to when I see stores close their door on Devon.” According to a USA Today report by Judy Keen, "Patel believes immigrant-owned businesses are more likely to make it through the recession because owners often invest their life savings — and their lives — in them. 'Everyone works all the time,' she says. 'At the dinner table, all we talked about was business. It's all we knew.'"
Text by Holland Dvorak and Niyati Naik
Current problems on Devon Avenue
Her childhood recollections at the store
On growing up in the USA
On what changed her
Memories of her home