Business Resources

Why Downtown Oshkosh?

Downtown Oshkosh is a great place to live, work and play. Local business owners agree downtown Oshkosh is good for business and good for their future.

Business Resources

New Business Guide

Business Resources Downtown Oshkosh

Opening a Small Business

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.

Starting A Business In An Existing Building

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.

Financial Assistance Applications

Business Resources Downtown Oshkosh

Recruitment Fund Grant

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:

  • Stimulate commercial growth and expansion.
  • Diversify the Business Improvement District’s economic base.
  • Attract financially and managerially responsible new business and capital.
  • Support start-ups and new venture businesses to enhance the entrepreneurial climate.
  • Assist in targeted recruitment efforts to prospective businesses.
  • Stimulate private sector investment to long-lived physical plant and equipment to increase productivity, create new employment opportunities and increase the tax base.
  • Assist in the overall goal of the downtown revitalization process and enhance the architectural identity found within the district.

Relocation

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!

Past Successes

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.

Application

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!

Apply here

Retention Grant Program

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.

Purpose/Mission

  • Improve the business climate in downtown Oshkosh.
  • Implement minimum standards to enhance the architectural identity found within this district.
  • Improve the front and rear facades and building conditions of existing businesses within the Business Improvement District in downtown Oshkosh.
  • Enhance the quality of life in the downtown Oshkosh area.
  • Encourage the development and maintenance of the buildings within the Business Improvement District.
  • Aid in improving the overall economic viability of the district.
     

Eligible Applicants

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.

Eligible Activities

  • Exterior facade renovations, including paint, windows and doors
  • Signage
  • Awnings
  • Structural exterior repair, including brick work
  • Exterior lighting 

Application

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!

Apply here

Mural Grant Program

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.

Purpose/Mission

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.

Eligible Applicants

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.

Eligible Projects

  • Painted mural on exterior wall
  • Mural Canvas, tile, or other material affixed to exterior wall

Application

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.

Apply here

**BID Map

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 info@downtownoshkosh.com.

Revolving Loan Fund

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 rob@oshkoshchamber.com.

Apply here

Free BID Gift Card Program For Businesses

Business Resources Downtown Oshkosh

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.

Available Properties

Business Resources Downtown Oshkosh

Are you interested in locating your business downtown?

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.
Retail/Office
For Lease
$1250 per month
Amanda Belville: 920-573-2474 or amanda@sparrlaw.com
1370 sq. ft

224 State St.
Retail/Office
For Sale
$1,605,000
Robert James: 212-972-3947
41,000 sq. ft

21 Waugoo Ave.
Office
For Lease
Sandy Prunty: (920) 573-1126
More Information

100 N. Main St.
Office/Retail
For Lease
$1,099-1,570 per month
Steve Lichtwald: steve@daymarkapartments.com

210 N. Main St.
Office
For Sale ($340,000) or Lease ($12.50 per square foot plus utilities)
Gary Eake: (920) 420-1304 or ge@gebroker.com
Check out the video here
More Information

217 N. Main St.
Commercial
For Sale or Lease
$799,900
52,260 square feet
Paul Peterson: (920) 517-3905 or (920) 230-2620 or paul@petersonpropertieswi.com
More Information

438-440 N. Main St.
Retail
For Lease
4,200 square feet
Alexander & Bishop Real Estate
Peter Jungbacker: (920) 233-7219 ext. 24

404 N. Main St.
Office
For Lease/Variety of Suites
Starting at $12.50 sq. ft.
Steve Hoopman: (920) 216-1083 or hoopmans@firstweber.com

City Center Executive Suites
Office Suites (192sf)
For Lease
$15/sf
Controlled access
Jessica Felker: (920) 233-5050 or jfelker@northnet.net
More Information

300 State St.
Retail or Office
For Lease
$950 per month (includes heat and water)
Priscilla Kieckhaser: (920) 235-7539

203 Otter Ave.
Office Suites (200, 300, 400)
For Lease
Starting at $200 per month
(920) 517-8672 or CopperHallOshkosh@gmail.com
More Information

Black Teak Properties
Multiple commercial spaces for lease!
(920) 230-8325 or info@blackteak.com
More Information

 

To add your property listing to our website, please email info@downtownoshkosh.com

MemberCO

Mission

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.

MemberCO Facts

  • MemberCo is a committee focused on marketing and event planning for Downtown Oshkosh.
  • Membership dues are $35 per year for BID district businesses, $60 per year for businesses that fall outside of the BID district.
  • The MemberCO originated as a small group in 2006, and has since grown to more than 40 active members.

What MemberCO Offers

  • Monthly meetings providing educational sessions, networking opportunities, and discussions about downtown event ideas and other issues
  • Membership input on MemberCO agenda items
  • Advertising and promotional opportunities for your business
  • Awareness of services and products available in downtown Oshkosh

MemberCO Meetings

Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at 8:15 a.m. All meetings are temporarily virtual.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Jessie Meidl, Downtown Oshkosh BID Manager at (920) 303-2265, ext. 11 or email info@downtownoshkosh.com.

Business Announcements

Business Resources Downtown Oshkosh

BID Business Monthly Updates

June 2020 Update
May 2020 Update
April 2020 Update
March 2020 Update
September 2019 Update

Not located in the Business Improvement District Boundaries, but want to be included in various marketing and program initiatives? 
Check out our Partner Program

COVID-19 Resources

Business Resources Downtown Oshkosh

 

For the Community

 

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:

  • While SOME retail stores have begun to open their doors, and SOME restaurants/bars have too, and SOME service businesses have as well – Please check individual business websites & Facebook pages for their current operating status & hours. Some businesses are selecting to remain closed but still operating online sales with curbside pick up or delivery options.***
  • You can STILL order take out and delivery from local establishments.
  • You can STILL shop online or via phoneMany Downtown retailers have online shopping available; our local and independent shops will help you get what you need via phone, Facebook, or other methods, if necessary. 
  • You can STILL purchase gift cards to spend later. Right now we are offering a $10 gift card for every $50 Downtown Oshkosh gift card purchased!

Together, we can continue to support our downtown businesses! ❤️

REMINDER: Follow our Facebook for ongoing updates.

 


 

For Businesses

 

Resources for Reopening

CDC

IRS

SBA

State Resources

Local Resources

Other Available Grants & Loans

 

Business Strategies

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.

Retailers

  • Online Sales – If you don’t already, create an online sales platform, whether as a standalone offering on your existing website or –
  • Delivery Options/Curbside Pickup – allow customers to pickup online orders at the curb or have them delivered locally. Consider creating delivery bundles to make this cost-effective. Learn-to knit kits, craft-in-a-box, movie-watching-pjs-for-the-family, etc. –
  • Themed bundle options work well: Bookstores might have mystery lovers bundles, biography lovers bundles, kids bundles, etc.
  • Pet stores – Create bundles of everything their pet might need for a 2 to 3-month period: dog food/treats/toy bundles, cat food/litter/catnip bundles. It’s not anything they wouldn’t buy anyway; you’re just bundling up enough to last a while.
  • Toy stores – Create bundles for families to stay busy: game and puzzle bundles, arts and crafts bundles, construction toy bundles.
  • Vacuum stores – Create bundles with vacuum bags and cleaning supplies to keep the house disinfected and safe.
  • Membership Pricing – create pre-paid membership programs to spur cash flow now with a promise of future regular engagement. Wine of the month club, Knitting club, etc. Nearly any retail good can be bundled into a monthly membership option
  • Online Forums – knitting circles, tutorials, home shopping events, story hour from the bookstore
  • Customized Online Services – personal shopping, home design consultations, etc.
  • Not sure what your customers need? Practice personal clienteling. Take a look at the Top 20% of your customers and have your employees call them up and ask what they might need – then deliver it.

Personal Service Providers

  • Online/Virtual Appointments – therapists, health care, etc. can utilize online appointments (Facebook Messenger has one scheduling option) to schedule virtual appointments to those that can’t come in person.
  •  Membership options can provide cash today and future customer loyalty. A vet membership can cover basic vet care with a monthly fee, people can pre-book future massages, facials, haircuts or other services at a discount to bring in cash today.

Fitness Facilities

  • Live stream fitness classes to those at home. –
  • Offer virtual training or form correction to those at home.
  • Host a monthly challenge for users to upload screen shots or watch photos of their at-home workouts to log minutes for prizes.

Restaurants

  • Delivery/Curbside Pickup – allow customers to order ahead for delivery or pickup. See the resource guide at the end of this document for setting up delivery partnerships. 
  • Family Meal Options – consider a family meal option that packages a family-friendly meal (main dish and sides) as a dinner-to-go option. 
  • Continue your existing bar trivia events with online live-stream options (after, of course, coordinating for pickup of growlers-to-go). 

Arts & Cultural Institutions

  • Custom curated/celebrity live-stream tours of venues or displays.
  • Author or artist discussion chats. 
  • For individual artists impacted by closed studios, illness or canceled events, the following resources may be of assistance: 

 

 

Online Sales

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

Facebook:

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.

Instagram:

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/

 

Increasing your Social Media Presence

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).

     

    New Business Guide Financial Assistance Applications Free BID Gift Card Program For Businesses Available Properties MemberCO Business Announcements COVID-19 Resources Join us for First Fridays!