Office of Planning and Development


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Address:
City Hall - 25 West Street
Leominster, Ma 01453

Telephone:
Phone - 978-534-7525
Fax - 978-537-8112 (Plan & Dev)
Fax - 978-534-7575 (CDBG)

Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

 
Staff & Email:
Kate Griffin-Brooks, Director
kgriffin-brooks@leominster-ma.gov
 
Ellen Racine, Secretary for Planning and Development
 
Joseph P. Cataldo, Housing Rehab.
jcataldo@leominster-ma.gov
 
Dee Curran, CDBG Administration
dcurran@leominster-ma.gov
 
Sandie Chacon, Small Bus. Coordinator
schacon@leominster-ma.gov
 
Lisa Vallee, Economic Development
lvallee@leominster-ma.gov

 
Business Development
 
 
Overview

If you are interested in starting a business,
we are here to help you. The Business Development Office was created to assist entrepreneurs along in the process of starting
a new business. Please feel free to stop
down anytime to discuss your ideas further.
 

Starting a Business
Business Plan
Business Advice and Counseling
Financing
Promoting your Business
Other Helpful Links

     City Events
 
     The City of Leominster coordinates many
     community event mostly designed to
     promote small business. If you are
     interested in volunteering contact Sandie
     Chacon.

     Follow is a list of our annual events:

     June ~ Summer Stroll
     July ~ Art Stroll
     August ~ Ladies Night Out
     August ~ Kids Day
     October ~ Halloween Parade & Festivities
     November & December ~ Festival of Trees
     December ~ Winter Stroll

     Click here of our Calendar of events or visit
     Our Leominster Events website


If you are interested in starting a business, we are here to help you. The Business Development Office was created to assist start-ups, existing businesses, and businesses looking to move into Leominster in the process.

Starting a business can be overwhelming. This brochure is designed to make the process easier and includes many links and resources to help you along the way. We’ve also included several low cost or free resources. Please feel free to contact me anytime or call for an appointment. Contact Sandie Chacon in the Business Development Office at schacon@leominster-ma.gov or 978-534-7525 x 260.

Starting a Business

Zoning plays a key role when determining where to open a business. The first step is to contact the Business Development Office or the Building Department, 978-534-7517, to confirm the zoning. The first thing you should do is find a properly zoned location for your business. If you are planning to open a home based business, you must either be the home owner or have written permission from the property owner allowing you to run a business there. Bring written permission or lease to the Building Department at City Hall where you will fill out a business form. The Building Department can also assist with any necessary permits. Once the form is complete, you will then bring to the City Clerk’s Office where you will receive your Business Certificate. You are now ready to open your new business.

Business Plan

If you have not done so yet, it is strongly recommended that you create a business plan. A business plan is like a road map to your success. The process of writing a business plan helps you to define your business concept, understand your market, make good decisions and reach your goal. The number one reason businesses fail is lack of planning! A good business plan serves as a guide to operations but also communicates the company's purpose and vision. A business plan is also used to create the foundation of a financing proposal for investors, lenders, etc. This should be your next step after deciding what type of business you plan to start. There are several free resources available to you when developing a business plan.

Small Business Advice and Consulting

The Massachusetts Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) offer business counseling services and have hours at the Chamber of Commerce at 860 South St. in Fitchburg. This service is free of charge and it is not necessary to be a Chamber member. Both agencies provide one to one management and technical assistance counseling for prospective and existing small businesses. Both agencies are also available to discuss ideas, plans, and challenges and to assist with your business plan. Call (978) 353-7600 to book an appointment with the SBDC or a SCORE rep. For more information, visit North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce - Business Counseling or go directly to www.score.org and www.SBA.gov the SBDC.

The Twin Cities CDC Small Business Development office, 470 Main St. in Fitchburg, offers free assistance with business plan, workshops, training and support www.twincitiescdc.org. (978) 342-9561.

The Leominster Library is another great resource for entrepreneurs. The Library has designed a section specifically dedicated to entrepreneurs with a large inventory of books, CD and computer access. Visit www.leominsterlibrary.org for more info.

Prior to meeting with a business counselor you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

• Has your idea been thoroughly thought out?
• Is your product or service needed in the marketplace?
• Where are you going to locate your business?
• Do you know who your customers will be?
• How much money will you need to get started?
• Do you have money to put in to start up this business?
• Have you begun to develop a business plan?

If you are purchasing an existing business you may want to ask the following:

• Have you asked why the business is selling?
• Have you seen the financial statements (3 years) on this business?
• Have you inspected the inventory and/or real estate?

Financing

Revolving Loan Program: The Chamber of Commerce offers, through the Development Corporation, a revolving loan program designed to be an alternative loan source for both start-up and existing businesses. With this loan program, the Development Corporation makes loans to businesses who may not qualify through traditional sources. For information visit www.northcentralmass.com/services/chamber_loan_programs or contact the loan officer at (978) 353-7600 ext. 232.

Microloan Program: The Mircoloan Program, administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides microloans to start-up, newly established, or growing small businesses. Eligible borrowers can borrow up to a maximum of $35,000. For more info visit www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program.

SEED Corp.: SEED is a non-profit corporation certified by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and focuses on job creation by financing small businesses start-ups. SEED serves small businesses in all of MA and RI, making an average of 125 loans and providing technical assistance to over 750 existing and prospective entrepreneurs, annually. For more info visit www.seedcorp.com.

Promoting your Business

The Business Development Office is always looking for inexpensive or free ways to help promote your business. Please consider the following alternative low-cost/no-cost programs and resources as you look for ways to promote your business:

Leominster Small Business Association (LSBA) www.shoplocalleominster.com
Mayor's TV show “Inside Leominster”
Ribbon Cutting ceremonies
Business to business support events
Community Events specifically designed to promote Leominster businesses
Participating in fundraisers with schools, churches, and other organizations

Additional Resources and Helpful Links:

• Small Business Association: www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html Business planner
• Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) and Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) ; www.mass.gov
• Workforce Training fund: State awarded grant money for small businesses to hire and train their employees. www.mass.gov/wtf
• Click here for Comparing Business Entities (Partnership, Sole proprietorship, Corporation) www.irs.gov
• Better Business Bureau of Central New England; www.cne.bbb.org
• Attorney General, www.mass.gov ~ Central MA (508) 792-7600


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