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History of Yatco Energy

The story of Yatco Energy and the Yatim Brothers did not start with nice suits, did not start with a bank asking for a small business loan, and did not start in America. The story of Yatco started in Sierra Leone, Africa. It started with four young boys helping out their father in his general store. Two brothers were born in Lebanon, and two in Africa. They had a strong tie to their culture identity and traditions.

The Yatim Brothers lived in an upstairs apartment above their store. Their father, Mohamed Yatim, owned a modest business called “Mohamed Yatim’s General Store.” They sold almost everything you could need: tires, rice, coffee, household goods, flour, and a plethora of goods for all your village needs. After finishing up a hard day at school, the boys would come home and tidy up the store, restock shelves, and when deliveries of 100lb. flour and rice bags came in, they would team up to help carry them into the store. Their father taught them the importance of good work ethic, loyalty to customers and family, and to know that in time you can grow anything to be successful. This is where Tarek, Hassan, and Khalil were first introduced to business. Their first experience was with their father being his own boss and having family around to help him run his store. This idea would stay in their minds for many years to come.

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In the early 1980s Hassan and his older brother Fouad moved to the United States to attend Suffolk University. Hassan had the hope of running his own business like his father one day, he studied business. He also drove a taxi to help support his brothers that soon would be joining him. During that time Tarek and Khalil stayed back to continue helping with the family store. Their father started taking them into the city to meet vendors and teach them the ins and outs of the convenience store trade. A few years passed by and unfortunately, Mohamed Yatim passed away, leaving his sons Tarek and Khalil and wife Naziha, the family business in Africa. Tarek was 18 at the time and Khalil was only 15. The family decided it was best that Tarek take over the business, while in the fall Khalil moved to the U.S. to join his other brothers and attended college. Tarek never wanted to go to college; he had his mind set on growing the family business to be even more successful than is was at the time.

In the late 1980s, Khalil traveled to the United States with nothing but his old pleather suitcase that needed to be duct taped together and the words “To America” written in Sharpie on the side. He decided to attend the same university as his brothers, Suffolk, and studied Biochemistry. It was always his dream to be a scientist and work in a laboratory. As for Tarek, he stayed in Africa, and at age 21 married his wife Khadijeh. They had two boys. Tarek worked hard using the tools and lessons that his father taught him and had the two most successful years of the general store. But in 1992 war over the blood diamonds erupted and he, his wife, two sons, and mother came to the U.S. to join his brothers.

Despite the business’s success in Africa, the brothers were stuggling financially, having left everything behind to start again in America. Tarek and his family, along with their mother, Khalil, Fouad, eight people in all—lived in a small two bedroom apartment in Roslindale, Massachusetts. They knew they had to find a way to make more money to support their family and working multiple part-time, minimum wage jobs was not the answer. So why gas stations? Part of it had to do with the influence of other people in their home country. Many Lebanese were seeing an opportunity to run gas stations and convenience stores and they wanted to jump in on the business. The brothers also remembered the oil and petroleum shortages in Africa. They remembered how their father would wait long hours, sometimes even the entire day, to get just five gallons of gas for their car. They saw this as an opportunity to become very successful in the land of rags to riches. So after long discussions and a meeting one night in the small Roslindale apartment, Hassan and Tarek decided to drop everything and open the first station.

As simple as it may sound, it did not start with just the turn of a key. They traveled to Texas to attend Exxon Corporation’s training program.  Their first location was an Exxon Station on Lincoln Street – Worcester, MA. The only staff was themselves. They would work 17 hour shifts a day running the cash register and making the calls to get gas in on time, doing what was normally the job of five or six people. Dinner was eaten sitting on milk crates behind the register because there wasn’t the time or luxury to eat dinner at home. They were smart with their money, saving it and spending it wisely so that they would have the chance to grow if the opportunity presented itself. They never took their own merchandise for free because they knew it could set them back and that it was not in the best interest of growing their Company.

 Their business did grow. In just one year, they had so much success at their first station that Exxon granted them the rights to buy and open up another station on Park Avenue. in Worcester. Hassan adopted this as his location, and Tarek stayed on Lincoln Street. Within another year their success continued to grow. At this time Khalil had been working in a laboratory and applying for a doctoral program at Texas University when Exxon offered them another station. Tarek and Hassan knew they could easily hire someone with experience to help them with running the third station, but they also remembered their past. Family business and loyalty to your family was something that stuck with them, so they went to their younger brother Khalil and asked him to take over the newly acquired Marlboro location. Dreams of being a scientist were faced with reality. Khalil wanted what would be best for his family in the future, and he saw and knew the success that he and his brothers could have if they joined in on this venture. So he packed his bags for Texas, not for the university but for the training program, and despite being allergic to gasoline, joined his brothers.

From that point on Yatco was like an oak tree: growing slowly but strongly, with each year a new acquisition made their business more secure, more profitable, and more representable. The Yatim brothers grew their business so large that in 2012 they were approached by Gulf Oil Co.—they had switched most of their stations over to Gulf at this time— and asked if they would start the distribution of Gulf branded gasoline so that they could control the flow of product to their own stations. Being the smart and savvy entrepreneurs they had been since high school, they saw this as an opportunity to grow even more. This is when Yatco Energy opened their distribution side of their business, delivering branded and unbranded gasoline to not only their stations but to many other stations in the New England area.

Yatco Energy’s distribution business was a huge success, offering their customers the lowest prices and the best service for all their gasoline distribution needs. In 2016, they decided to partner with Questron Lubricants so that they could provide motor oil and other automobile fluids to their customers.

As of today, the Yatim Brothers have 20 stations in the lower New England area and are planning to open more. They currently distribute gasoline throughout New England, with more locations in the future.

Yatco Energy has, and still is, a successful family run business providing the best service and product to their customers for the past 25 years. They were built on trust, loyalty, and family and everyday they work to keep those ideals alive in the work that they do.