Why Open a Business in Downtown Davis?

  1. Downtown Davis is at the cultural and economic center of an eclectic community that pairs a world-class university with the agricultural heritage of a quickly expanding City, striving to retain its small town-feel.
  2. Alive with activity seven days a week, Downtown Davis draws locals and visitors alike to experience fine food and wines, retail, services, arts and entertainment in an extraordinary and sustainable gathering place.
  3. It’s clean & green: Learn more about the City of Davis commercial food scrap program here.
  4. The Davis Downtown Business Association and Davis Chamber of Commerce provide support, advocacy and events that help drive foot traffic into Downtown businesses. Look at DDBA’s successful Shopping Promotions, Gift Card Program or popular 2nd Friday ArtAbout.
  5. Opening a business can be a time-consuming process, but there are people here to help! A small-town atmosphere means big-time personal service. Call the City of Davis, and speak to a real person. The City of Davis Business License department can answer questions via phone or in-person, Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm. (530) 757-5651.

How-To Guides

Learn the steps in setting up a small business in the downtown.  Gain insights from current downtown business owners and experts in the field.

Insert Videos and Other Resources Here.  Some possibilities:

  • Steps to setting up a small business
  • How to participate in the Loyalty & Marketing Program
  • Information about the Gift Card Program
  • Information about Professional Development Workshops
  • Forms

Davis Resources

City staff is available to assist you with selection of a business location and can connect you to other local business resources. If your business needs zoning approval or a building permit staff can get you through the process smoothly with our project review services. For smaller projects these services are free of charge and will help staff flag any issues early on. You can also request a fee estimate for larger projects. For larger projects there is a fee based pre-application process where you can get feedback from all City Departments, the Planning Commission or the City Council if necessary.

 Many consulting and internet based businesses can be operated out of the home. If you want to operate your small business from your home, you need to apply for a Home Occupation Permit. Home based businesses have some limitations and restrictions such as no commercial signage or direct retail sales. To review the list of permitted home occupations or to apply for a permit, call 530-757-5651 or visit the website here.

 Every person or organization conducting a business in Davis needs a Business License, including contractors with no fixed location in Davis. Applying for a Business License is simple. To download the Business License Application or to review Business License FAQs, click here. For additional information call the Finance Department at 530-757-5651 or visit All Business Licenses.

A building permit is required for activities like moving electrical outlets or changing wall and window locations. The building permit process can be fairly quick if you submit a complete set of plans that complies with all applicable development standards, ordinances, and the current building code. For more information about building permits or to download forms, click here or call 530-757-5610

All signs for Commercial businesses need to meet City Sign Design Guidelines. To  get sign approval you need to complete a Minor Improvement application, and pay a  fee. Most applications are reviewed and approved at the Planning Division counter  while you wait. Once your sign has been approved, the Building Division will let you know if you need a building permit to install it.  For more information call 530-757-5610 or view the design guidelines online.

Davis Chamber of Commerce

The Davis Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization whose mission is to promote, support, and advocate the general economic vitality of its membership and the quality of life for the community. For more information about the Chamber of Commerce, call 530-756-5160 or visit their website at www.davischamber.com

Small Business Development Assistance

The Northeastern California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Greater Sacramento region and the City of Davis have entered into a partnership agreement with the intent of helping Davis small businesses become even more successful. The SBDC offers one-on-one business management consulting services at no cost.

SBDC consultants can assist business owners with business/marketing plans, financial analysis and cost management, operations management, strategic website and e-commerce development, customer service, and business permits and licensing. The SBDC also offers low-cost and no-cost business management workshops throughout the year at the SBDC office in Sacramento.  Visit their website at www.sbdc.net for a list of current workshops and to learn more about the SBDC. To schedule an appointment with a SBDC consultant call 916-563-3210.

Yolo County Tools For Business

Yolo County provides fantastic tools for business, from Business Planning & Assistance to Funding Programs to Government Requirements.  You can find their list of tools at http://yolo.toolsforbusiness.info.