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Residents Urge Boycott of Englewood Gas Station With 'Makeshift' Sign

By Wendell Hutson | November 6, 2013 6:39am
 K&D Fuel, 6700 S. Ashland Ave., is the target of a protest by an Englewood group that wants the business to install better outside signage.
Gas Station Signage
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ENGLEWOOD — Calling it "disrespectful," a neighborhood group is protesting the lack of enough signs at K&D Fuel at 6700 S. Ashland Ave.

Members of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood passed out fliers to customers earlier this week to show their frustration and to encourage them to boycott the gas station, which has been open for about a year.

While the station has what appears to be a printed sign on a banner, it doesn't resemble the huge lit signs common at the vast majority of stations.

"You can barely see that little makeshift sign hanging up there," said Patricia Cunningham, an association member. "It has no lighting, so at night it's hardly visible."

By not having better signs and "simply putting up a sign [the owner] made is disrespectful to the community," Cunningham said. "He thinks he can treat us any way he wants because this is Englewood, but he is wrong."

There are three other gas stations within a three-block radius from K&D Fuel and they all have what the association described as ''proper'' signs that are large and easy to see. That includes a Food4Less at 7030 S. Ashland Ave., a Mobil at 7059 S. Ashland Ave. and a Marathon at 7101 S. Ashland Ave. A Citgo station previously occupied the K&D Fuel site.

Lighting around the gas pumps at the 24-hour station, which also has a convenience store, is "decent" but could use sprucing up, Cunningham said.

But Bharel Patel, manager of K&D Fuel, said he would love to have a better sign but does not have the $20,000 it would cost to have one created.

"I have a sign outside. It may not be as flashy as some other stations but it shows our name and our prices for gas," said Patel, who declined to name his gas supplier. "I want to have a bigger sign outside as soon as yesterday. But until I get the money, I cannot do it."

Some customers at the station Tuesday didn't seem to care about the lack of signs or information on where the gas was coming from. They said price was the key; regular unleaded gasoline was being sold Tuesday at $3.59 per gallon.

"I could give a flying you know what when it comes to who supplies the gas," customer Jamal Funches said. "As long as it is cheap, I'm good."

The city doesn't require the station even have a sign outside that names the business, according to the city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department. They must, however, have signs showing how much it costs per gallon of gas, which K&D does.

Still, Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th) supports the residents.

"It makes no sense for any business to operate without adequate signage regardless if it is required or not," Foulkes said. "I support [the residents association] in protesting this business until it cleans up its act."

Foulkes said the city's Business Affairs commissioner promised to have an inspection of the station done "this week to check on the business."

Rosemary Krimbel, commissioner of the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Association member S.Y. Smith criticized the customers for patronizing K&D.

"Do people even know what they are putting in their gas tanks when they come here?" Smith said. "It seems like these types of problems only happen in the black community. If this station was Downtown or the North Side it would not be tolerated."

Added Cunningham: "Look at all these cars up here getting gas. "That tells you some people just don't care about how a business treats them, and that's really sad."