HEATH, Ohio -- After 45 years of helping Bill Englefield III and his family grow the business from a handful of rural stores to a chain of 126 locations, Ed Stephens decided it was time to retire from one of the country's largest, privately owned chain of company-operated convenience stores.
The company, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, owes much of its success to the steady hand of leadership provided by Stephens for most of its history, said the company.
"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," Bill Englefield III said.
Ed StephensStephens 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, the company said. Ed helped to teach us 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." said co-president Ben Englefield. "We will truly miss Ed, and we wish him and his wife Judie a wonderful retirement."
When Stephens joined Englefield Oil in 1967, the company was operating seven full-service gas stations. He experienced the challenges of the oil shortages of 1972 and 1978 and a trucker strike in 1979. He helped Englefield Oil enter the c-store business in 1975 with its first Duchess Shoppe, adopt self service, pay at the pump and scanning.
"I don't think there are a lot of individuals that have had the ability to successfully navigate such a dynamic industry as Ed has over the past 45 years," added Bill Englefield IV. "He has been such an integral part of our company, and we will surely miss his daily presence. Much our company's success is the result of Ed's steady leadership, and we will be forever grateful to him."
Stephens said that while he is looking forward to retirement, he will miss Englefield Oil and the great people he has had the pleasure of working with throughout his career: "It has been quite a run. I have enjoyed working with three generations of the Englefield family and the many other great people, both employees and business partners, that I have come to consider true friends. It's time for me to pass the torch and spend more quality time with Judie, my children and grandchildren. I will miss Englefield Oil and wish the organization nothing but continued success for the next 50 years."
Bill Englefield III started Englefield Oil Co. in 1961 with three service stations and an office in the basement of his home. Today, Englefield Oil operates 126 Duchess Shoppe stores throughout Ohio and West Virginia, employing 1,500 people with annual sales of more than $1 billion. The company distributes BP, Marathon and Valero Fuels and Shell and Pennzoil motor oil and lubricants. In addition, the company operates Taco Bell, Subway and Long John Silver restaurants and offers its famous Duchess Deli, made fresh deli sandwiches and subs.