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Tools for Existing and Prospective Oak Park Businesses

Securing Financing for Your Small Business

The OPEDC will work with business owners to find a viable option that will address the needs expressed for financial support. Community Development Financial Institutions like Allies for Community Business and locally focused banks like Old Second Bank and CIBC can often meet the needs of entrepreneurs. OPEDC does not provide its own small business financing at this time.

Click here for a relevant blog post about tips for approaching a lender.

Identifying a Storefront Location

Are you looking for a new location for your business or wish to find sites for development? Please contact Eric Mazelis, OPEDC Economic Development Manager, at e.mazelis@opdc.net, or take advantage of our LocationOne database.

Ensuring your Location is Properly Zoned

Before signing your lease in Oak Park, it’s important to make an appointment with the Zoning Administrator at the Village of Oak Park. They will determine if the space you’ve chosen is zoned appropriately for your business. 

For more information, visit oak-park.us/village-services/planning/zoning.

Securing Permits, Inspections, and Business Licenses

The Village of Oak Park just made it easier for you to apply for permits, schedule inspections and apply for business licenses with VillageView

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Joining the Chamber of Commerce and Getting Involved in Your Local Business District

The Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce is a member organization serving businesses in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and the surrounding areas.  The Chamber provides leadership, information, events, workshops and opportunities for networking and relationship-building, putting on hundreds of events per year.  Their resources help businesses thrive in Oak Park. Visit their home page to learn how they can help you.

Browsing Village Programming for Additional Support

Commercial Facade Improvement Grant Program

The Village of Oak Park established the Commercial Facade Improvement Grant Program (C-FIP) to promote reinvestment in commercial buildings. Grants are being made available by the Village to qualified property owners or commercial tenants in recognition of the positive impact that new façade improvements can have on the appearance and vitality of the community. Funds are limited and will be designated to those projects that fully complete the Village’s application process prior to all grant funds being designated.

Questions regarding the Village’s Commercial Façade Improvement Grant Program can be directed to Cameron Davis, Assistant Director, Development Customer Services Department, 708.358.5421. Applications for the C-FIP program are available at Village Hall.

If you are interested in starting up a business in Oak Park, expanding your existing business into an Oak Park storefront, or are an existing Oak Park business seeking additional support or connections, please reach out to Eric Mazelis, OPEDC Economic Development Manager, at e.mazelis@opdc.net