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Cali Owings, Published August 27 2013

Petro Serve USA moving company headquarters from Moorhead to West Fargo

WEST FARGO – A company that has had its headquarters in Moorhead for about 80 years is moving across the Red River to take advantage of North Dakota’s business-friendly climate.

Petro Serve USA plans to move its corporate office from the current location on Center Avenue in Moorhead to property on West Main Avenue in West Fargo – the home of the long-closed Smokey’s restaurant.

Tax advantages were one of the biggest factors in the move, said Kent Satrang, the CEO of the cooperative that supplies fuels and operates convenience stores throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

“There are certainly tax advantages for the convenience store industry in North Dakota. It’s much more favorable,” Satrang said.

In particular, gas and tobacco tax rates are better in North Dakota, he said. For example, the tax per pack of cigarettes in Minnesota is $2.83 – the sixth-highest in the nation – while North Dakota’s is just 44 cents.

Petro Serve USA’s move comes during a time when the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce is tempting business owners across Minnesota by advertising North Dakota is “open for business.”

Petro Serve USA may be eligible for additional tax breaks for the project under the West Fargo renaissance zone program, which provides tax incentives to foster development in blighted areas.

The city’s Economic Development Advisory Board reviewed the project and will recommend approval to the City Commission.

Petro Serve USA will put $1.25 million into the project to develop the nearly eight-acre property and build a new office, according to documents from the city.

The proposed project has four stages starting with the corporate office.

The company already has an office about 10 blocks from the Smokey’s building. Satrang said other benefits are getting everyone in one location and the additional space. He expects to have about 40 employees in West Fargo.

Satrang said he hopes to complete renovation of the Smokey’s building into the new corporate campus by March or April.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599