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Covington Offers Incentive for Silver Grove Business to Move to Town

The Covington city commission is expected next week to offer approval on an incentive package for M&M Service Station Equipment Specialists which, Tom West, the city's economic development manager, said plans to invest $3.26 million in buying and renovating a 100,700-sq. ft. building.

The company currently operates on Mary Ingles Highway in Silver Grove but West said that it plans to move its 48 employees to Covington with further plans to add 16 more.

M&M Service provides petroleum equipment, service, and sales for a variety of business related to gas stations and automobiles.

The building is at 315 East Fifteenth Street in the city's Helentown neighborhood.

Sherrie Keller, vice president of M&M Service, said the company plans to keep about half of the space for its offices and warehouse, retain the four small businesses that currently operate there, and lease out the remaining space. She said company officials are excited about the move.

"The building and its location are just perfect for us, and we look forward to being part of the city of Covington," Keller said.

On Tuesday night during the city commission's caucus meeting, where it reviews forthcoming legislation, West said that the proposal is for five years with a payroll tax rate of 1 percent. The city's regular payroll tax is 2.45%. 

The average salary at M&M, West said, is $62,000.

The incentive package includes a five-year set of time that the city calls a "retention period" without incentives.

The deal would collect roughly $770,000 in payroll tax revenue for the city over ten years.

The commission agreed to add the proposal to its consent agenda, a list of legislative items all voted on once, typically favorably, next Tuesday.

"This is an exciting development because it demonstrates that our citywide strategy truly is citywide," West said. "Over the past few months, we have had projects announced in Roebling Point, MainStrasse Village, Downtown, Latonia, and now the eastern neighborhood of Helentown. It shows that we aren't the only people who believe there are investment opportunities throughout Covington."

Keller said the family-owned company was started by her parents in 1989 "in an office off their bedroom" and now has locations in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana with clients around the world, and roving job crews that work around the country, including at military bases.

"We build gas stations from the ground up - actually, from underground up, when you consider the fuel tanks - and that includes the concrete, the dispensers, and the canopy and lights," she said. "We also do things like clean tanks and test equipment, and recently we added a team of electricians who install electric vehicle charging stations."

Keller said the company was outgrowing its current space in Silver Grove and was attracted by Covington's energy and geographic location - close to its clients and several major interstates.

"We're definitely in growth mode, both in number of employees and in the services we provide," she said. "We have a lot going on."

M&M Service hopes to complete the renovation and move in early 2021, she said. The new hires will include service technicians, construction laborers, electricians, and administrative staff.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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