The City of Alameda offers a vibrant business-friendly environment anchored by a diverse set of thriving small businesses. Downtown Alameda is the commercial, cultural, and civic center of this island city and is an excellent place to start your business.
The following resources can help you to successfully start and operate a business in Alameda.
The Park Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) was first formed in 1981 and is managed by the Downtown Alameda Business Association. The Downtown Association serves as a support network and advocate for businesses operating in the Historic Park Street Business Improvement Area.
The Downtown Alameda Business Association offers numerous benefits and keeps business owners informed of important issues and trends in the community and local marketplace. The Downtown Association is overseen by a Board of Directors and an executive director who strive to promote a healthy retail/service climate as well as a district that is aesthetically pleasing and clean.
Businesses located within the Park Street BIA boundaries pay an annual assessment in combination with their license fee. You can contact the City of Alameda or the Downtown Association Office to learn more about BIA fees and benefits.
The City of Alameda's Façade Grant Program provides business and property owners with matching grants to improve their storefronts and enhance the city’s retail districts. Applicants may be eligible for matching grants for exterior painting (including murals), new awnings and signs, and refurbishment of architectural features.
View details and guidelines on the city’s website: www.alamedaca.gov/Facade-Grant-Program
Are you planning to build, or remodel an existing space? Put up signs, or change anything about your current building? Host a large event? If so, you may need a permit before you start work.
Visit the City's Permit Center (2263 Santa Clara Avenue, Room 190) to get more information about what’s allowed in your space and what kinds of permits you might need.
Learn more: www.alamedaca.gov/Permit-Center
View pending permit applications: https://alameda.buildingeye.com/planning
Mandatory Recycling & Composting - The City of Alameda is a fully opted-in jurisdiction of the County's Mandatory Recycling Ordinance. All businesses must have adequate recycling and composting service. Learn more about the requirements: www.recyclingrulesac.org/city/alameda/
Single-Use Bag Ban - Retailers, restaurants, and eating establishments are not allowed to provide single-use plastic carryout bags at checkout. The rules vary for the different types of businesses. Get details: reusablebagsac.org
Disposable Food Service Ware - All to-go food ware must be either reusable, recyclable, or compostable. If it looks like plastic, it is not compostable in Alameda's system. Read more about compliant food ware in the "Your Go-To To-Go Guide": www.alamedaca.gov/foodwarebooklet.pdf
Straws On Request - Effective January 1, 2018, commercial food vendors may only provide straws upon a customer’s request. Additionally, the straws must be compostable fiber. Learn more: www.alamedaca.gov/Straw-Free-Initiative
For more information on Alameda’s Green Initiatives, go to the City of Alameda Go Green web page.
Temporary Sign Ordinance - Regulations exist to uphold the attractiveness and appearance of the downtown district. View Alameda's Temporary Signage Guidelines brochure to learn about the regulations on the most common types of temporary sign.
Smoking Ordinance - Alameda is a smoke-free city. Smoking is prohibited in all public spaces within the commercial district. View up-to-date info and download "No Smoking" signs.
Flavored Tobacco Ordinance - The sale of flavored tobacco is banned in Alameda. All tobacco retailers in Alameda must obtain a City Tobacco Retail License. Review city FAQs and submit an application: www.alamedaca.gov/Tobacco-Ordinances
The minimum wage in Alameda is currently $13.50 per hour for all employees and employers, regardless of size.
On July 1, 2020, the minimum wage increases to $15.00 per hour. On July 1, 2022, and every July 1st thereafter, the minimum wage rate will be adjusted based on the increase in cost of living.
Learn more about Alameda's Minimum Wage Ordinance and download the official notice to be displayed at your business: www.alamedaca.gov/Minimum-Wage
The City of Alameda has partnered with a variety of organizations to help local businesses recruit, hire, and train employees. Resources include the College of Alameda's One Stop Career Center, Alameda County Workforce Development Board, and State of California Programs. View the list: www.alamedaca.gov/Employment-Resources
SeeClickFix provides citizens a tool for reporting maintenance issues. Try the most trusted, easiest way to get things fixed where you live and work including illegal dumping, street lighting, potholes, and more.
Check to see if an issue has been reported and submit a new request:https://seeclickfix.com/web_portal/
Please Note: For your submission to be routed directly to the Public Works liaison for Downtown Alameda, select "Graffiti - Business Districts".
Click titles to view page on City's website:
- Municipal Code
- Ordinances (Document Database)
- Live Video
- Starting a Business in Alameda
- Business Licensing and Permits
- Incentive Programs
- Business Associations and Improvement Areas
- Employment Resources
- Bid on City Contracts (RFP/RFQ)