Business Resource Center
The City of Lake Forest is one of the most distinctive communities in the United States and home to over 1,200 businesses, ranging from small, boutique shops to large international corporations. With convenient access from Interstate I-94, Route 43, Route 60, Route 41 and two Metra rail stations connecting Lake Forest to downtown Chicago and Wisconsin, and 30 minutes from O'Hare International Airport, Lake Forest is the ideal business environment. Lake Forest boasts a five year average retail occupancy rate of 95.4%, low property taxes, and high personal incomes. As an added benefit to business owners, the City of Lake Forest does not require local business licenses.
Five Thriving Business DistrictsThe Central Business District is located on the east side of Lake Forest and is over 100 hundred years and continues to thrive. It's approximate area includes all businesses along Western Avenue from Alden Lane to the north and Vine Avenue to the south, with Oakwood Avenue on the west side and McKinley Road on the East Side. It includes the Metra UP-N Lake Forest Station, City Hall, and many businesses including grocers, service-oriented businesses, offices, and boutique shops. Historic Market Square is in the Central Business District. Market Square was designed in 1917 by Howard Van Doren Shaw and is considered one of the original shopping centers and the most automobile-friendly place in America. The Central Business District is also home to the Deer Path Inn.
Sunset Corners is located on the west side of Lake Forest on Waukegan Road. It is home to Sunset Foods, Sushi Kushi Toyo, True Value, and many other retail and service-oriented stores.
Forest Square is located on the west side of Lake Forest on Waukegan Road. It is home to Starbucks, Lou Malnati's, Jimmy Johns, and many other retail stores, service-oriented businesses, and offices. In 2021, Forest Square welcomed The Station and Everett Farm, two new restaurants to the area. It is also adjacent to the Metra Milwaukee District North (MD-N) train line.
Conway Park at Lake Forest is located on Route 60, just east of I-94. It is home to many international corporations such as Abbott, Chicago Bears, Conway Farms, Pfizer, Idex, Pactiv, Tenneco, Trustmark Insurance, and many other regional firms. In 2021, Conway Park will be home to a new hotel, The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel.
There are three Lake Forest businesses located on the southern border along Route 41. They include Britt & Carter Company, Life Storage, and Lou's Garage.
Please learn about the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce! Visit the website.
For Prospective BusinessesLake Forest is a business-friendly community, welcoming new businesses and corporations and supporting its established businesses and a strong relationship with its supportive Chamber of Commerce. If you are considering opening a business in Lake Forest or making changes to your existing establishment, we encourage you to contact Cathy Czerniak, Director of Community Development, to discuss your plans. Other local resources that may be helpful to you include:
Lake Forest Library Community Resources for Starting your Business
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Lake County Partners
Chicagoland Small Business Development Center