WEST ENGLEWOOD — A gas station with no signs has some residents upset and feeling disrespected by an owner they say does not care about the community.
"If this station was anywhere else but Englewood, it would have a sign up," said Leslie Snow, 31, an Englewood resident. "I get so tired of these businesses opening up in black neighborhoods providing poor customer service and thinking they can treat us any type of way."
In November, some residents protested and urged consumers to boycott K&D Fuel at 6700 S. Ashland Ave. because it displayed what residents said was "poor signage."
The station at 7050 S. Damen Ave. has been operating since 2003, and, up until two weeks ago, had displayed Marathon signs, according to Mohmmad Alrub, a station manager, who said his brother is the owner. The station's most recent city inspection, which is displayed inside, listed Marathon as the business name.
"We are in the middle of changing the business name. That's why there is no name outside. But there will be signage up next week," Alrub said. "This used to be a Marathon station but, since we are changing the name, Marathon removed their name."
He said the new name would be Midwest.
The nonprofit Sustainable Englewood Initiatives questioned how a business could be allowed to operate without signs.
"I guess having your name on the outside for customers to see is not a requirement by the city," said John Paul Jones, president of the organization. "It does seem strange, though, that this happens often in black communities. ... I would not do business with anyone unless I knew their name."
According to the city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department, a gas station is not required to have a sign outside bearing the name of the business. However, it must have signs showing how much it costs per gallon of gas, which the station does.
Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), whose ward includes the station, was unavailable for comment.
Esau Samuel, who lives in Kankakee, laughed when he realized there were no signs.
"I only stopped here because I was about to run out of gas. I did not realize it had no name. What's up with that?" he said. "This is why I live in Kankakee and not Chicago. Nothing makes sense in Chicago. This city has high taxes, crime, unemployment and no-name businesses. I feel sorry for people living in Chicago."
Not everyone was upset about the nameless station.
Tasha Hawkins, 37, said she lives two blocks from the station and grew up in Englewood.
"I really don't come here to get gas. I come here to get a few things every now and then," she said. "Frankly, I could care less if it has a name hanging up or not. As long as it has what I want at a reasonable price, I am good."