Business Retention & Expansion

Keeping Businesses Strong
A healthy and vibrant local economy depends on the well-being of a community's existing firms. That is why we want to help you survive and grow in Oak Forest. If you are successful, the entire community benefits because:
  • 65% - 80% percent of all new jobs are created by existing firms
  • Businesses that stay competitive are more likely to remain in the community and possibly expand
  • Keeping an existing business is often easier than recruiting a new business
  • Potential new business owners will talk to existing business owners
In the short term we can:
  • Demonstrate support for local businesses
  • Help solve immediate business concerns
  • Establish an early warning system for business closings, relocations, and / or layoffs
In the long term we can:
  • Improve the local business climate
  • Increase the viability of local businesses
  • Establish and implement a strategic plan for economic development
  • Support entrepreneurial activity by uncovering local buying habits and supply needs
The Business Retention & Expansion Program
The Business Retention and Expansion Program is designed to gather information to help the city better support business expansion, job retention, job creation, and increased investment in the community. As part of the program, Community Development staff will visit local businesses to obtain comprehensive information regarding the opportunities and challenges that exist for local business owners. The visits are geared toward small and large businesses so that everyone can participate in the economic renewal process.

After the site visits, businesses will receive help with particular issues. The data collected through the program will be used to create a long-range economic development action plan, which will include specific objectives, action items, and target dates. The plan will be shared with the business community.

The city's Business Retention and Expansion Program is right for you, if you:
  • Want a single point of contact for the many business services throughout Oak Forest
  • Need an advocate who can walk you through necessary approvals and permits
  • Do not know who to contact at various local government agencies
  • Are looking for information on regional, state, and federal programs to improve your business
The Process
Schedule a Site Visit
The business visitation team will use a specially-designed questionnaire to obtain information on the needs of each business, issues it may be facing, and its future plans.

Participate in Follow-Up Visits
Community Development staff and the Economic Advisory Council will conduct regular on-site surveys to continue to evaluate the needs of the business and address its concerns.

Provide Data for Action Plan
The Economic Advisory Council will develop an economic development action plan to address opportunities and obstacles that surface through the visitation program as well as many other initiatives. This plan will outline the most pressing issues identified by the business community.

Attend the Appreciation Event
The Economic Advisory Council will hold at least one business appreciation event annually. The event will promote networking through business education sessions.