skip to Main Content

History of Yatco Energy

The story of Yatco Energy did not start with nice suits, in a bank asking for a small business loan, or even in America. The story of Yatco started in Sierra Leone, Africa. It started with Tarek Yatim helping out his father in his general store. 

The Yatim family 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, Tarek would come home and tidy up the store, restock shelves, and when deliveries of 100lb. flour and rice bags came in, he would help carry them into the store. His father taught him 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 was first introduced to business. His first experience was with his father being his own boss and having family around to help him run his store. This idea would stay in his mind for many years to come.

Read More

In the early 1980s Tarek continued helping with the family store. His father started taking him into the city to meet vendors and teach him the ins and outs of the convenience store trade. A few years passed by and unfortunately, Mohamed Yatim passed away, leaving Tarek and the family, the business in Africa. Tarek was 18 at the time. The family decided it was best that Tarek take over the business. Tarek never wanted to go to college; he had his mind set on growing the family business to be even more successful than it was at the time.

In the late 1980s, as his sibling immigrated to America for college, Tarek 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.

Tarek and his family, eight people in all—lived in a small two-bedroom apartment in Roslindale, Massachusetts. He knew they had to find a way to make more money to support his 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 he wanted to jump in on the business. He also remembered the oil and petroleum shortages in Africa. He remembered how his father would wait long hours, sometimes even the entire day, to get just five gallons of gas for their car. He 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, 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. He traveled to Texas to attend Exxon Corporation’s training program.  His first location was an Exxon Station on Lincoln Street – Worcester, MA. The only staff was himself and family members. 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. He was financially savvy, saving money and spending it wisely so that he would have the chance to grow if the opportunity presented itself. He never took the store’s merchandise for free because he knew it could set him back and that it was not in the best interest of growing the company.

The business did grow. In just one year, their was so much success at their first station that Exxon granted him the rights to buy and open up another station on Park Avenue in Worcester. Within another year the success continued to grow. Tarek knew he could easily hire someone with experience to help him with running the third station, but he also remembered their past. Family business and loyalty to family was something that stuck with him.

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.