Starting or Expanding a Business in Manchester
Step one: Develop a business plan
A viable business plan demonstrates the legitimacy of your business and is essential for financing purposes. If you need assistance developing a plan, the U.S. Small Business Administration's guide on how to create a business plan can be a very useful tool. If you have an initial plan in need of refinement, the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is available to assist via weekly open hours in Downtown Manchester’s WORK_SPACE. CTSBD provides advising services in all aspects of business formation, management and growth including access to capital, business plan development, financial management, operations and marketing.
Anyone interested in starting or expanding a business in Manchester is encouraged to contact Shelly Kohler, SBDC Advisor at Michelle.koehler@UCONN.edu to set up an appointment. For more information on CTSBDC or to register for business advising, visit GrowCT.com, Facebook.com/GrowCT, Twitter.com/GrowCT and LinkedIn.com/company/ctsbdc.
Additionally, you may need to file a trade name for your business. Please refer to the Town Clerk’s website to determine whether this is necessary.
Step two: Choose a location
Choosing a proper site is important for the success of your business because the location and facilities must comply with zoning regulations(PDF, 5MB) and building codes. It can also be useful to refer to Manchester's zoning map(PDF, 7MB) to determine the best area for your business. It is always advisable to make sure your type of business is allowed at your desired location – contact the Zoning Enforcement Officer at (860) 647-3057 if you have questions regarding your project.
If you are still seeking a location, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center's SiteFinder can help you find available properties. The Town Planning & Economic Development department is also available to assist and can be reached at (860) 647-3044.
Step three: Contact Planning & Economic Development
If your business requires development of a new building, expansion of an existing building and/or significant site work, Planning, Zoning or Wetlands permits may be required. Any new developments should also be in compliance with Manchester’s Plan of Conservation and Development(PDF, 3MB) and Wetlands Regulations(PDF, 275KB) .
Contact the Town department of Planning & Economic Development at (860) 647-3044 to discuss possibilities for your business. Staff will answer any questions you may have about the process of opening a business in Manchester and will advise you on how to proceed.
Step four: Review the necessary building permits and inspections
The Building Inspection Department reviews building plans for code compliance, issues building permits, and does construction, while the Fire Marshal’s office performs fire alarm/suppression inspections. Remodeling, repair, demolition, and new construction cannot be started at your business until permits have been acquired. For a list of potential permits you may require, please consult this page.
Once your property gets final occupancy approval, you are ready to open for business.
Congratulations, and welcome to Manchester!