The Dheers have been working for quite some time — half a century, to be exact.

They’ve been running their women’s clothing store in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, on Ontario Street, for 35 years, but have been store owners for 50.

“We worked hard, there’s lots of ups and downs, but Ontario Street is the best — it gave us a lot of love and I think we did good,” said Swaran Dheer.

The Dheers came to Montreal from India in the 1970s.

They opened up their first store, Miss India, at Plaza Ontario in 1974, and then they bought another building down the street in 1985.

They called it Boutique Swaran and moved into the apartment with their two boys, right on top.

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“Living upstairs and then working downstairs on the weekend — and helping out your family, your parents, succeed,” said their son, Kesh Dheer. “It was definitely an eye-opening experience.”


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The family says adapting to life in Montreal wasn’t necessarily easy.

But Swaran learned French quickly, the family immersed itself in Quebec culture, and the store quickly gained a clientele and lifelong friends.

“I went at their place, at their home, she has a lovely home,” said Nicole Hetu, a client and friend.

“I can go and live in their basement,” she laughed.

And for the couple’s sons, the store has brought them more than just a roof over their heads.

“It gave us more respect for how hard it is to earn a living, coming to a new country, seeing their side, seeing their hustle and hard work,” said Kesh.

After all that work, the couple says it was time to slow down and start their next chapter.

They will soon be grandparents to twin girls.

“To enjoy with my grandchildren, with my husband — and go on vacation, I hope,” said Swaran.

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