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Trade Names: Capitol Oil focuses on customer service

Regan Coffey calls Capitol Oil Co. Inc. for a variety of needs, from heating and air-conditioning services to sewer line repair.

“These guys have been my go-to. They can handle everything I throw at them,” said Coffey, president of Advante Advertising in Richmond, who uses Capitol Oil at his home and for the rental properties he owns.

“Their customer service is off the charts.”

Brothers Edward and William Zacharias, who are now deceased, founded the family-owned business in 1963. Edward’s sons, Billy and John, and Bill’s sons, Kenneth and Michael, run the company today.

“We grew up around the business,” said Kenneth Zacharias, the vice president.

The brothers started the business at a Shell station at Brookland Park Boulevard and Chamberlayne Avenue. Before then, Edward had worked for Sinclair Oil and Bill for General Tire.

“When they opened, it was a service station. They were selling gas and repairing cars,” said Billy Zacharias, the company’s president.

Capitol Oil, now based in Chesterfield County, began adding services months after opening when the brothers bought an oil truck and began providing oil to customers throughout the Richmond area.

They added central air-conditioning services in the early 1970s and propane in the 1990s.

The company now provides heating, air-conditioning and plumbing services and sells propane and heating oil. The company delivers propane to customers from Charlottesville to the Chesapeake Bay.

“Propane has grown at a rapid pace,” Kenneth Zacharias said.

About 80 percent of the company’s sales are from residential customers, with the rest from light commercial clients. Its growth has been steady over the years.

Revenue at Capitol Oil grew 20 percent from 2007 to 2012, said John Zacharias, the company’s secretary.

The founding brothers eventually got out of the gasoline business after buying five or six gas stations, some operating under the name of Capco.

In the 1970s, they started Zacharias Bros. Real Estate, building, buying and renting apartment complexes and rental homes. The Zacharias family now owns that business.

“It is a separate business, but Capitol Oil manages the properties,” John Zacharias said.

The real estate business has about 600 rental units in 24 apartment complex buildings and in several rental homes.

The brothers began grooming their sons to take over the company in the late 1990s.

“They were standing back, but they had their voice in the business,” Kenneth Zacharias said.

Keeping customers happy has been the goal since the company’s founding, the co-owners said.

Michael Zacharias, the company’s treasurer, said that a customer told his father that he had seen him filling his home oil tank at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve back in the 1970s.

“That made a big impact on that customer,” he said. “A lot of our customers have stayed with us because of our customer service.”

Customer Jack Cummings of Richmond praises that service.

“They do everything they can to satisfy and please the customer,” he said. “That is their strategy and that is what they live by day in and day out.”

Martha Evans of Richmond feels as if Capitol Oil is part of her family.

“I have been dealing with them for about 35 years,” she said. “They are prompt and they see that my fuel is delivered whenever I need it.”

“I have been dealing with them for about 35 years,” she said. “They are prompt and they see that my fuel is delivered whenever I need it.”

“The reason why we have been successful is that we were taught to leave our personal issues at home,” Kenneth Zacharias said. “We get along as a family. We have a total of 15 kids between us and some of them are in the office with us. They are growing up in the business the same as their parents.”