Why open your business in the 49th Ward?
Because Rogers Park is quintessential Chicago! We have the lake, great transportation and people from all walks of life and from all around the world, making it a rich cultural stew – all in a village setting.
Here are some of Rogers Park’s advantages:
- Businesses will find a inter connected neighborhood with a highly educated population. Businesses that get involved with the community are successful.
- Rents are reasonable, generally ranging between $12 and $24 per square foot.
- In many retail categories, such as restaurants, entertainment destinations, and apparel and accessories, competition is minimal.
Do Your homework – Create a business plan
Determine your location – Does the space serve my businesses needs, does the zoning classification for a space permit my business and allow my business to get licensed, does the lease offered make sense. Email Michael Land or call 773.338.5796 to discuss the current zoning for the property, any prospective changes in zoning for a property, or any restrictions on businesses associated with the space.
Rogers Park Business Alliance engages in numerous activities: marketing, location, networking, and technical assistance to area businesses and entrepreneurs. Prospective business owners are encouraged to work with Rogers Park Business Alliance before opening their business in Rogers Park for business plan reviews, access to market information and lender referrals and assistance with permitting, license and leasing issues.
A number of small business lenders are available to provide start up and expansion capital.
Depending on the type of license, a business owner might be able to apply for a business license online, in other instances the best way to start is with a business consultant at 312.74GOBIZ, or 312.744.6249.
If you decide to establish a storefront presence, please understand Alderman Moore feels it’s most important for business owners to consider how they present their business to the community. In residential real estate it is referred to as curb appeal. If you want to appeal to reach a wide range of local shoppers, a tasteful storefront is important to a business’ success.
Believing businesses translating the notion of curb appeal to how they present themselves to the community are the most successful, below are certain “best practices” the Alderman prefers that a business do regarding its presentation to the community.
See these photos for examples of attractive storefronts of successful businesses.
Please note that businesses seeking a public way use permit, which is required for a sign, flag, canopy, or awning, are required to adhere to the following.
- Keep the signage simple with the business name, what the business offers in general terms, and contact information, phone, email and website. Too much information is clutter, and detracts from the message. Depending on the location of the business, there might be funds available to help with the purchase of the signage, through the Rogers Park Business Alliance.
- The business must hire a “licensed sign erector” to get the building permit required for the sign. Understand that zoning limits the total square feet of signage a business can have.
- Businesses that want to install signs or canopies over the sidewalk, are required to get a public way use permit that the Alderman approves. He prefer to sign off on public way use permits for signs that are along the face of the building, and straight or retractable framed canopies and awnings made of canvas with simple signage (see above), and will not sign new permits for internally lit signs that are perpendicular to the building, or new canopies that are vinyl, underlit, and using rounded frames.
- Businesses should not use LED or neon lightsframing their windows. The Alderman considers them eyesores. The city is considering regulating these lights and may make them illegal, so a business owner would be wise to save money and put it into better marketing efforts.
- Carefully consider security options and consult the ward office or the Rogers Park Business Alliance, at 773.508.5885. Alderman Moore believes accordion style security grates send the wrong message about our community. Strong windows, well-lit storefronts, cameras and alarms are preferred. If a business is having problems with loitering, The Alderman advises the business to call 911, with the caller identifing themselves as the business owner or business staff.
- Comply with the city’s window sign ordinance, which limits the amount of signage per window to 25% of the window. If it’s more than that, it will trigger a requirement to get a sign permit for the window signs. If a business is considering window signs, please make certain the signs are professionally made with large font and fewer words.