A former servo owner who barricaded himself in his Epping store for a month after a dispute with Apco turned sour has settled a seven-month legal battle with the company out of court.

In a statement released on Facebook last week Frank Eid, 65, thanked the Epping community for standing “by me since before and after my downfall at Apco”.

The past seven months had been “troubling”, Mr Eid said in the statement.

“I would like to inform you all the court has now finished and I will be moving on,” he said.

The statement received about 50 comments, many wishing Mr Eid well in the future and thanking him for his service.

Mr Eid said he now intended to retire after 40 years in the customer service industry.

Mr Eid became locked in a dispute with Apco last June because he wanted to sell his High St franchise, and a second Apco franchise in Settlement Rd, Thomastown, but claimed Apco “warned” away potential buyers, and themselves offered him a low sale price.

In mid June, VCAT ordered him to leave the store until a ruling was made.

The Epping and Thomastown service stations remain closed.

Mr Eid told Leader he could not discuss the outcome of the settlement because he had signed a confidentiality agreement.

Apco director Peter Anderson said the service stations would reopen.

“The matter has been settled and we are working toward reopening the sites and customers will get more competitive (petrol) prices in the area again.”

It was not known when the sites would reopen, however both would remain as service stations.

During the bitter dispute other Apco franchise owners released a signed letter in support of the company and its management of franchisees.

About 20 full time and part time staff lost their jobs as a result of the dispute between Mr Eid and Apco.

Extracted from Herald Sun