Economic Development Update: April 2016
The City of Lake Forest is one of the most distinctive communities in the United States and home to over 1,200 businesses. From quaint shops in the historic downtown to several national and international corporations off of bustling I-94, Lake Forest is home to several of Chicagoland's most popular retailers and a wide assortment of four-star and casual dining establishments. Current retail vacancy is around 3% in Lake Forest, so if you are in need of assistance in finding retail space, please contact the Office of Economic Development.
As one of the largest communities in Lake County, Illinois and located 30 miles north of Chicago, Lake Forest business owners enjoy easy access to major interstate highways, O'Hare International Airport, the Waukegan Executive Airports, and passenger railroad systems.
Meet some of Lake Forest's local business owners:
Lake Forest welcomes new businesses and is committed to helping new and existing businesses prosper. Whether you are a business looking for a new home in Lake Forest or are already a member of our community, a number of resources are available on this city website. If you are considering opening a business in Lake Forest, please e-mail Susan Kelsey, Office of Economic Development, as she would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
An online calendar for information on cultural and community events available in the Lake Forest community can be accessed on the web site hosted by the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce.
(Photos provided by Bloom & Focus, Kerri Sherman)
The City of Lake Forest has several business districts:
Historic Market Square is located on the east side of Lake Forest in the central business district. Market Square, designed in 1917 by Howard Van Doren Shaw is considered one of the original shopping centers and most automibile friendly place in America.
"I have worked in downtown Lake Forest since I was 15 years old. At that time I worked at Konradt's florist on Laurel. I knew all the good customer's by name. I didn't know then that one day my sister and I would buy out my father and run/own the Forest Bootery. The most impressive thing about owning a business in town is that those same good customers from Konradt's were still shopping with us at the Forest Bootery. I have fit babies in their first walking shoes brought in by grandma. I love to hear the stories of how grandma was fit for her first walking shoes at the Forest Bootery too. Market Square's history is rich and is is the true heart of a town."
Cara, Forest Bootery
Settler's Square is located on the west side of Lake Forest on Waukegan Road. Settler's Square is home to Sunset Foods, Postnet, Lake Forest Hardware, Ferentinos, Sushi Kushi and many other retail stores.
Forest Square is located on the west side of Lake Forest on Waukegan Road. Forest Square is home to Starbucks, Robeks, Grand Cru, Gifted, Lou Malnati's, JImmy Johns and many other retail stores.
Conway Park at Lake Forest is located on Route 60, just east of I-94. Conway is home to many international corporations such as Abbott, Brunswick, Chicago Bears, Conway Farms, Hospira, Idex, Pactiv, Tenneco, Trustmark and many other corporations.
For a list of Lake Forest businesses, visit the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce Directory here.
Play. Shop. Dine. Rest.
FOR CUSTOMERS/VISITORS: Easy shopping, 24/7 at local Lake Forest businesses. Connect and shop on any device. For a unique experience, connect with local businesses on social media and receive special promotions and discounts. For more information about local businesses, contact the City of Lake Forest Office of Economic Development. CLICK HERE to connect to Virtual Lake Forest.
FOR LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS: Local business can take advantage of the new Virtual Lake Forest and sell products on the Virtual Lake Forest page through one of four channels. Use this step-by-step guide to create your own eCommerce shopping platform.
1. Facebook Shopify
2. Google inside business video
3. Amazon local shopping cart
The Virtual Lake Forest is an online business directory and shopping mall, bringing customers to your store 24/7. As a Lake Forest business owner, your listing includes your business photo, address, contact information, business hours, facebook link and ecommerce link.
NEW and available right now: Add your panoramic virtual tour inside your store to Google Maps. Simple load the Google Streetview app, take the photos and upload to Google Maps. If you really want to have fun, purchase the Google Cardboard goggles and view your store in virtual reality (VR).
Stay tuned for the new Virtual Lake Forest shopping experience. Shoppers will be able to move their avatar within a virtual environment and interact in real time with other users. The Virtual Lake Forest offers an extraordinary commercial tool for giving brands a newer and fresher look. If you would like to join the pilot program, contact the Office of Economic Development. Pilot program participants to date include: the Lake Forest Shop, Kiddles Sports and the Lake Forest Bookstore.