Do you want to open up a small business but aren’t sure where to start? Have a SCORE representative help you today! SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE is a volunteer group of retired men and women who provide small business assistance through free one-on-one counseling.
If you are interested in receiving assistance from SCORE, set up an appointment today.
If you are looking to sign a lease, buy a building, or start work on your business, you may need to work with certain city departments.
Follow this guide to learn who you should contact at the City of Oshkosh.
If you have any questions about starting a business in downtown Oshkosh, please contact Kelly Nieforth, City of Oshkosh Economic Development Specialist at (920) 236-5045.
The Downtown Oshkosh Business District flows with rich heritage and economic opportunities for entrepreneurs. The BID invites you to explore financial assistance offered to qualifying business applicants. To further promote our diverse downtown environment, we are excited to offer the Downtown Oshkosh Business Improvement District Recruitment Fund Grant (RFG).
This grant offers financial assistance to new business ventures or relocating establishments. The downtown environment has grown over time, and we are happy to support our progress in any way possible. The RFG program awards up to $5,000 to individual businesses to assist with relocation to the BID, or fund an expansion project for a business currently located within the BID district. The mission of the funds is to:
Are you thinking about relocating your business to the downtown Oshkosh area? Over the last several years, we’ve invested in infrastructure, developed a new unified brand identity and created a community-centered series of events that regularly draw in the public. We are also continually updating and improving our unique downtown. Click here to view a map of the BID district to find out if your location qualifies for the Recruitment Fund Grant. Better yet, we invite you to come to downtown Oshkosh and explore all we have to offer. We think you will be pleasantly surprised!
From 2003 to 2020, over 60 businesses received financial assistance through the RFG program. The grant has leveraged more than $4.5 million dollars in private investment. We’ve distributed more than $267,000 creating and retaining more than 365 career and job opportunities in our downtown environment.
Think your business would make an excellent addition to our downtown environment? We encourage you to view our RFG brochure, or download our application today. Invest in downtown Oshkosh; invest in your business!
The Downtown Business Improvement District established the Retention Grant Program. The grant may be utilized alone, in conjunction with the Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corporation Revolving Loan Fund (if requirements are met), or with any other private financing. The Retention Grant cannot be used in conjunction with the Recruitment Fund Grant. If any business has been granted money from the Recruitment Fund Grant, they must wait two years (the span of the grant) until they can apply for the Retention Grant.
The Retention Grant program is available to any downtown Oshkosh property owner located within the Business Improvement District boundaries. The program is also available to tenants of such buildings given the property owner’s written consent. Eligible applicants must be open for a minimum of three months and provide a signed lease of two years.
Interested in applying for the Retention Grant program? Please review our brochure and download our application to apply. Grants are awarded to eligible applicants on a first come first serve basis while funds are still available. Don’t delay, apply today!
The Mural Grant Program has been established by the Downtown Oshkosh Business Improvement District (BID) and may be utilized alone, or in conjunction with the Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corporation Downtown Impact Fund, Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau, and/or with any other private financing.
The purpose of the mural grant program is to encourage exterior artwork that contributes to the beautification and economic vitality of the Downtown Oshkosh BID.
The Mural Grant Program is available to any Downtown Oshkosh property, lying within the Business Improvement District boundaries. All projects must have written consent of the property owner.
Interested in adding a mural to your building? Please review the City of Oshkosh Mural Ordinance, and complete the City of Oshkosh Mural Application before applying for the grant. After your mural application is approved, you may apply for the Mural Grant Program as long as your mural is being placed within the BID boundaries.
Before applying for any of our offered grant programs, please make sure your business is located within the boundaries of the Business Improvement District. The area is indicated on this map by the green and black dotted line.
For more information, please contact us at (920) 303-9200 ext. 101 or email@example.com.
Looking for another kind of assistance? The Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corporation (OAEDC) offers the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for those who are looking to locate their business within the Business Improvement District, but who fall outside this area.
The RLF promotes local economic development in the Oshkosh area, with an emphasis on the central business district. The fund is designed to promote and foster entrepreneurial expansion, as well as expansion and retention of the workforce and business opportunities in the Oshkosh area.
Through the RLF, the OAEDC provides loans of up to $25,000 on favorable terms tailored to meet the needs of qualified borrowers for eligible projects that are matched by a qualified lender loan.
For more information about the Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corporation’s Revolving Loan Fund, please contact Rob Kleman at (920) 303-2265 ext. 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Downtown Oshkosh Business Improvement District offers a gift card program exclusively for the downtown environment! We believe this is the perfect opportunity to allow the downtown area to continue to thrive by offering a program that fits all your shopping and entertainment needs.
Downtown gift cards can be purchased in any amount and redeemed at any participating business within the greater downtown area. Users will have the freedom to redeem just a fraction of the card value, or the full card value at any participating establishment.
The gift card program offers maximum flexibility with more choices than any other gift card on the market. The downtown Oshkosh gift card program is accepted by more than 50 businesses located in the downtown area.
Take a look at the available office and retail spaces located within the Business Improvement District. If you would like more information on a property, please contact the building owner/broker directly.
215 Market St.
$1250 per month
Amanda Belville: 920-573-2474 or email@example.com
1370 sq. ft
224 State St.
Robert James: 212-972-3947
41,000 sq. ft
21 Waugoo Ave.
Sandy Prunty: (920) 573-1126
100 N. Main St.
$1,099-1,570 per month
Steve Lichtwald: firstname.lastname@example.org
438-440 N. Main St.
4,200 square feet
Alexander & Bishop Real Estate
Peter Jungbacker: (920) 233-7219 ext. 24
404 N. Main St.
For Lease/Variety of Suites
Starting at $12.50 sq. ft.
Steve Hoopman: (920) 216-1083 or email@example.com
300 State St.
Retail or Office
$950 per month (includes heat and water)
Priscilla Kieckhaser: (920) 235-7539
Black Teak Properties
Multiple commercial spaces for lease!
(920) 230-8325 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To add your property listing to our website, please email email@example.com
The BID MemberCO is a group of volunteer business owners and downtown activists committed to goodwill community partnerships, working for the greater good of our downtown. We accomplish this through effective promotions and specialized events, which draw consumers to our downtown.
Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at 8:15 a.m. All meetings are temporarily virtual.
For more information, please contact Jessie Meidl, Downtown Oshkosh BID Manager at (920) 303-2265, ext. 11 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BID Business Monthly Updates
Not located in the Business Improvement District Boundaries, but want to be included in various marketing and program initiatives?
Check out our Partner Program!
The safety of Downtown Oshkosh residents, workers, and visitors is of the utmost importance to us. We want you to know that we (and the businesses within the Downtown Oshkosh Business Improvement District) are monitoring recommendations/updates from government officials surrounding COVID-19 and implementing safe reopening guidelines from WEDC and the CDC.
With all the changes around us, we want to remind everyone to still support local Downtown Oshkosh businesses! Operating status and hours differ for each business as they prepare their store fronts to be safe for you and their employees.
Here’s a few tips of how to navigate the changes and continue to support local:
Together, we can continue to support our downtown businesses! ❤️
REMINDER: Follow our Facebook for ongoing updates.
Resources for Reopening
Other Available Grants & Loans
Tips from Wisconsin Main Street
Retail & Service Business Strategies
Retail and service businesses may need to be creative to accommodate new customer habits. Considering the needs of home-bound customers can help shape effective strategies for your business is essential for maintaining even a minimum of sales during the next eight weeks. Consider the following list of potential strategies, grouped by business type, to identify strategies that may work for your business.
Personal Service Providers
Arts & Cultural Institutions
Developing an online marketplace has always been a sound strategy for downtown businesses hoping to grow their customer base, but it is now an essential tool for attracting home-bound customers with more time for online shopping and social media exposure. If your business is not already selling via online platforms, the following tips and links provide information to get you up and running quickly. Additional detailed instructions are available in the resources section at the end of this document.
Example Marketing Materials
Product Catalog – Links your ecommerce store to your Facebook profile to sell directly on Facebook. Buy now and shop buttons are available to customers. Alternatively, buying via comment to Facebook posts and direct sales via Paypal can work as well, or a combination of online and virtual shopping sales.
Shoppable Posts – When selling on Instagram, you can connect product catalog like you can on Facebook since the platforms are linked together Selling on Social Media: A Complete Walkthrough https://sproutsocial.com/insights/topics/selling-onsocial-media/
Create social media graphics using Canva! Canva is a free web app that allows you to edit photos, add text and more.
A new marketing campaign for Downtown Oshkosh! Every First Friday of each month will be a night dedicated to art, music and awesome dining and experiences downtown. If your bar or restaurant has live music, your business features an artist/gallery or or you’re offering a discount at your store, we will list it on the First Fridays page on the website. This campaign is meant to show off all that Downtown Oshkosh has to offer. The first ‘First Friday’ will kick off in March (March 5th) and will go from 4pm-9pm. If your business will be open and offering something for the community that evening, please fill out the contact form below.
Examples include: Bourbon/beer tasting, featured artist/gallery, in-store specials, themed dinner (Indian, German, etc.), featured musician, etc. Your business can feature and promote anything and we’ll feature it on our website and other advertisements (Oshkosh Herald, flyers, social media).