Opportunity for Small Businesses Looking for Vacant Store Fronts in Chicago

The rise of e-commerce precipitated the decline of storefront small businesses, particularly retail businesses.  Add the Covid-19 pandemic to the mix in 2020, and many other small businesses and restaurants closed as well.  These closures affected the entire city, from the humblest streets all the way to the Magnificent Mile.  As a result, the City of Chicago has a large number of vacant storefronts.  Earlier this month, however, the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection announced a plan to combat this.  As part of this Small Business Storefront Activation Program, the city is giving 15 community groups approximately $3 million in funds to support small businesses.

Each community organization may identify vacant storefronts in their respective communities and then attempt to bring in small businesses.  The idea is to fund retail areas and help bring in pop-up shops, indoor farmer’s markets, art galleries, and other new retail sites.

The organizations receiving grants are, alphabetically:

  • Calumet Area Industrial Commission
  • Coalition For a Better Chinese American Community
  • DishRoulette Kitchen NFP
  • Garfield Park Community Council
  • Greater Chatham Initiative
  • Greater Southwest Development Corporation
  • Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce
  • Midway Chamber of Commerce
  • Portage Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Rogers Park Business Alliance
  • The Far South Community Development Corporation
  • The Magnificent Mile Association
  • The Puerto Rican Cultural Center
  • Uptown United
  • West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce

If you are looking for assistance starting a small business and would like to receive a grant through the program, you can fill out the application here: Storefront Activation Program Small Business Interest Form.