New Business

Interested in opening a new business in Oak Forest?  Please review the following information carefully so that we can help you 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.  

Business License

Your first step is to complete and submit a business license application.  Once we receive the application, we will follow up with you to review next steps.  

Signage - 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.