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HEATH, Ohio -- The co-owner and co-president of Englefield Oil Co., a convenience store operator based here, is speaking out against any boycotts of BP-branded gas stations or convenience stores, saying it will not hurt the major energy company, but rather, will harm local companies such as his, and their employees, the Newark Advocate reported.
"They aren't hurting BP at all," Ben Englefield said in the report. "Most are owned by independent businessmen like myself."
Englefield is the second-generation to lead the independently owned and operated company, which purchased 43 BP stations in central Ohio last year. In total, the company operates 127 stations and sells BP gas at most of its more than 100 Duke and Duchess locations, according to the report. Englefield has annual sales of more than $300 million, with around 1,600 employees.
"I'm as sick as anybody about what's going on in the Gulf," Englefield told the paper. "We're under contract with BP and BP has been a very reliable supplier. Now, all of a sudden, the BP sign is like a skull and crossbones."
Protests against BP at Englefield stations have been limited so far, although the owner of a BP gas station in Columbus reported oil thrown on the BP sign and a dead animal carcass covered in oil near the front door, the report stated.
The boycotts and protests have had some affect on Englefield, according to the report.
"Overall, our volume has been hurt some," Englefield told the paper. "It's not a lot, but something we're going to go back to BP and ask for reimbursement, because it's not our doing."
Employees at Englefield stations have occasionally endured verbal harassment from angry motorists, first because of rising gas prices and now because of the oil spill, Englefield said in the report.
"I wish I had an alternate idea for them," Englefield said.
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