Follow Us

An exclusive interview with Gurmale Singh Grewal by Anupama Gopalakrishnan

“What makes a home”, my friend asked of me? I said, “Beautiful colors, well-defined furnishings, and my private space and yes loads of antique pieces”. Well, to some, the definition of a home is a roof over your head, and the space you call your own. To the Singh family, a home is definitely where the heart is! To Gurmale S. Grewal, "A house is not merely a place to live, it is a place that defines your spirit." Add love, and there you go - there arises the end product called a "home"

What is the story behind Gurmale S. Grewal? What makes ‘Singh’ a well-known name within the real estate industry? What makes Singh the most obvious choice when it comes to renting an apartment, building a home, choosing a senior apartment or selecting an office space in Southeast Michigan? 

Success is not achieved overnight and behind every successful individual, family, or company there is a great story to be shared. No doubt about that! Miindia explores the path of success behind Singh….Why do you think Gurmale S. Grewal is one of the most prominent and loved people in our community? Let's find out…

Gurmale, is CEO of Singh Development Co., Ltd. based in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Since 1973 Singh has been actively developing, building, and managing residential apartments, independent and assisted senior living communities; single family homes and subdivisions; commercial properties, retail centers, and industrial properties. 

Throughout the past 30 years Singh has evolved into a second generation family owned and operated company. The Singh family includes Lushman, Jeat, Tahil, Pargat and Darshan with Gurmale at the helm, who is in actual fact the youngest of four brothers. Today Singh is one of the largest and oldest Indian-owned companies in the United States.

The story of Singh actually begins in 1922 when Gurmale’s grandfather, Sarwan S. Grewal, left his village of Sahouli in India and headed to Stockton, California. In 1928 Sarwan left California and settled in Detroit. Sarwan became involved in real estate, investing and eventually acquiring an eight-story hotel in Detroit. 

This became the catalyst for his purchase of the Wolverine Hotel (the site of Comerica Park), a 16 story building with 450 rooms. At the same time, Sarwan remained very close to his family in India. He provided financial support for them to buy farmland, and in 1956 he built his family a large 6,000 sq. ft. house in their village of Ludhiana.


In 1961 Sarwan brought his grandsons Tahil, Lushman, Jeat and Gurmale to the United States from India to receive their education. When Sarwan passed away in 1968 his grandsons, who were still completing their education, unanimously agreed to finish their education and carry on in their grandfather’s footsteps after college.

Gurmale received a degree in business in 1972 from Wayne State University, and his brothers pursued higher education upon completion of military duty.

On his grandfather's excellent business acumen, Gurmale states, "my grandfather was my motivation and inspiration". 

“Yes. It was tough. Every business will be a struggle initially". Being an Indian in this business requires a lot of determination "Indians are usually accepted as doctors or engineers. And yes, being in the real estate industry requires some credibility and lots of courage when selling land, investing money, etc. Fortunately, the late Sarwan Singh did lay the groundwork for his grandsons. But, in order to keep the authenticity and the label flying, one needs to be persistent and work hard at it. "

Gurmale remarked, "If my grandfather put in 100% of time and energy to get something going for us, we need to put an extra 100% to keep our credibility going". Which is how a “Tradition of Excellence” began and still continues today. Singh is also “sensitive to it’s customer's needs and wants which is what strikes a chord between us and our customers” commented Gurmale. 

When asked how and what kept him going through the process of getting established, Gurmale replied in an easy tone: "guts, courage, a strong vision, being able to anticipate opportunities before they become obvious, the ability to be analytical and solve problems and to make decisions without all the facts with intuition.” In addition “Singh's ongoing success is attributed not only to a hard-working and dedicated staff, but also to our united and extended family". Gurmale firmly believes that Singh’s growth and accomplishments are credited directly to the diligence and dedication of his brothers, nephews, and key employees. “I am merely the navigator of this fine-tuned work engine called Singh. "Our strong family values are extremely important, and have guided many important decisions here at Singh". 

“spending more time with children and family makes you a better businessman as we tend to develop respect while we are attentive to their needs and concerns”. Singh’ s professional and dedicated management team is at the core of its operation. This management team is actively involved with the day to day operations and effective marketing of each development. Talking about the three core elements that make “the Singh signature for success” Gurmale replied "Honesty, persistence and standing by your commitment" He further adds "make sure you pay your bills on time". One significant negative element Gurmale stressed about youngsters today was "the rush to get rich overnight". Speaking about the nature of risk taking, Gurmale in an assertive tone said "We all know how to manage people, but at the end of the day, when you are ready to take any risk, it takes courage to make a decision. And whatever decision it may be, it takes even greater determination to stand by that decision". 

A nationally ranked builder/developer, Singh has been recognized, and twice honored, for its outstanding achievements by the Building Industry Association as recipient of their Developer of the Year and Young Builder of the Year awards in 2001.

When talking about branding the "Singh" name, Gurmale explains that the power of any business lies in its brand name. People need to instantly associate themselves with the product and for that purpose Singh (meaning Lion) was very easy to pronounce and instantly brings the "family" concept into the minds of many people. It is a bit unusual, but the Singh mantra worked

A religious person by nature, Gurmale attributes his whole "sense of being" to his Guru - Guru Gobind Singh. He believes that the Sikh faith has always given him the strength to pursue his goals. "The Sikh faith", according to Gurmale, has always led him to believe that his life should be used to leave the world a better place after you have gone" 

Questioned about how he balances his business and home life, Gurmale at once remarked, "my wife has done all the hard work in raising our children". As husband and wife they realized that God has given them children who are very precious. And so, “children need to be treated more importantly than yourself, business or any other material element for that matter." exclaimed Gurmale.

Gurmale has always placed family as the most important aspect. He has faithfully attended all his childrens’ sporting activities and is involved in family outings. Contrary to popular belief, Gurmale asserts “spending more time with children and family makes you a better businessman as we tend to develop respect while we are attentive to their needs and concerns”.

Gurmale loves visiting India and his extended family at least once or twice a year. "I am very connected to Punjab and I go back to my village to review some projects that I have started. 

Gurmale, his wife Jagdev, their three children, his brothers and nephews, reside in West Bloomfield. Free time allows Gurmale to run with his family, on average he runs 30-35 miles per week. He has successfully completed the Free Press Marathon four times.

By Anupama Gopalakrishnan


Copyright ©