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BP boycott bites local businesses

'They hurt me and my kids'

The Nassour family, Tony, Chahine, Antoine and Suellen. The couple say they would be forced to close their BP station if business does not pick up. Ryan Grannan-Doll. (click for larger version)
June 15, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — For a few area families, the BP oil spill has had as significant personal impact.

The Nassour family, of Southbridge, which owns the BP station on Worcester Street (Route 169), is struggling to support itself as business had dropped a staggering 40-percent since the April 20 oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The spill occurred 41 miles off the coast of Lousiana in the Gulf of Mexico, and crews are struggling to contain it.

Tony Nassour, who owns that station with his wife Suellen, believes the spill has caused fewer motorists to stop at his station, thus driving revenue down. High prices before the spill, he said, are also a factor.

"They hurt me and my kids. We have to make a living," Tony said of disgruntled motorists.

The Nassours don't see business returning anytime soon, but they have taken steps to help themselves. Tony said he had asked BP to lower its prices, which they agreed to do, and now they run 15-20 cents lower than their usual prices. They were charging $2.59 cents per gallon Tuesday, around the price of several other area gas stations.

Suellen said she had also asked BP to let them forgo paying rent for several months, but the company did not approve. Specifically, the Nassour family leases the business from another corporation, which leases it from BP.

While some motorists may think a consumer boycott of local BP stations is the proper response, Suellen said it only hurts the little guy.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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