New Business


Interested in opening a new business in Oak Forest? Download the New Business Information Packet for a step-by-step process to help make your dreams a reality! Inside you will find answers to common questions business entrepreneurs ask when starting a new business venture in the City of Oak Forest.

The New Business Information Packet answers questions like:

  • What do I need to get started? (Business Essentials)
  • Where can I open my business? (Zoning)
  • How do I open my business? (Occupancy)
  • What kind of sign can I have? (Signs)
  • What can I do for my grand opening? (Temporary Signs)
  • Who can I contact if I have questions? (Contacts)
Following each step in the New Business Information Packet will make the process as efficient as possible.

If you have any questions or need assistance as you complete each step, please call the Community Development Department at 708-687-4050 or email our staff.  

Click the link below to download your copy today!

Business License Application

To begin the process of opening a new business, complete and submit the business license application. Once the Community Development Department receives the completed application, a staff member will contact you to review the next steps.  

Signage Guidelines - Coming Soon

Facade Assistance Program

The Facade Assistance Program offers a level of assistance for non-retail and retail businesses to improve their visual aesthetics, landscaping and signage. The program is a matching grant program sponsored by the City of Oak Forest with the basic goal of making Oak Forest businesses look better and improve the overall appearance of our commercial corridors.  A landlord or lessee may apply for matching funding. The applicant and landlord would be expected to each cover a minimum of 2/3 of the costs associated with renovation, while the City of Oak Forest would cover the remaining cost up to the maximum amount permitted under program guidelines (currently $20,000). Also, a signed agreement between the city and the applicant must be completed for City Council to approve the grant.  

Grant funds are limited in terms of what is or isn’t covered. Grant funds cannot be used for trade fixtures or equipment specific to the business, but they can be used to cover a number of hard costs associated with a typical renovation of commercial signage – and even some soft costs traditionally not covered under similar programs in other communities.

Eligible costs include:
  • Upgrades/retrofitting existing signage, including electrical systems 
  • Installation of façade materials and landscaping 
  • Soft costs, such as architectural/engineering costs, landscaping plans and permit fees
Complete and submit the Facade Assistance Program application.

Development Opportunities

The city has quality development opportunities available whether it is commercial, industrial or residential.  

Home Businesses

The City of Oak Forest does not license businesses operated out of a home.  For more information on opening a home business, check the State of Illinois Business Portal.