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HEATH, Ohio -- After 45 years spent helping Englefield Oil Co. grow from a handful of rural stores to a chain of 126 convenience stores, Vice President of Operations Ed Stephens is retiring from the company, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
"Ed has been such an important part of our company's success and growth. Not only has he been a fantastic leader, but he also helped teach my boys, Bill IV and Ben, the business," said company founder Bill Englefield III. "[Ed] understood his role as an executive in a family business and provided the knowledge and stability to successfully transition the company to the next generation."
When Stephens joined Englefield Oil in 1967, the company was operating seven full-service gasoline stations. He helped Englefield Oil enter the convenience store business in 1975 with its first Duchess Shoppe, as well as adopt self service, pay at the pump and scanning.
"I don't think there are a lot of individuals who have had the ability to successfully navigate such a dynamic industry as Ed has over the past 45 years. He has been such an integral part of our company, and we will surely miss his daily presence," said Bill Englefield IV, the company's co-president along with his brother Ben. "Much our company's success is the result of Ed's steady leadership and we will be forever grateful to him."
Fellow Co-President Ben Englefield said Stephens taught them the business from the ground up. "It wasn't always easy, but it provided Bill and me with a deep respect for the importance of each and every person and function in our organization," he said.
Stephens is looking forward to retirement, but said he will miss Englefield Oil and the great people he has had the pleasure of working with throughout his career -- people he has come to consider true friends.
"It has been quite a run," he said. "It's time for me to pass the torch and spend more quality time with [my wife] Judie, my children and grandchildren. I will miss Englefield Oil and wish the organization nothing but continued success for the next 50 years."
Englefield Oil Co. started in 1961 with three service stations. Today, the retailer operates 126 Duchess Shoppe stores throughout Ohio and West Virginia, employing 1,500 people with annual sales over $1 billion. The company distributes BP, Marathon and Valero fuels.