Doing Business in Northampton
- Starting a Business in Northampton
- Site Selection
- Tax & Financial Incentives
- Opportunity Zones
- Local & Regional Business Resources
Starting a Business
Starting a new business is a significant commitment. Learn about what you need to do and who can help!
Finding the Right Location
Determine what kind of location you are looking for based on your business model. You can fill out our Site Selection form if you'd like help searching for potential locations. Once you find a space that meets your criteria, you should consider the following:
- Check with the city to see whether your business is already allowed in that location
- Consider what improvements the building may need before you can open for business. Constructing new walls, installing signage or awnings, and other renovations always require building permits.
- Depending on the prior usage, there may be other changes required. For example, you may need to make the building accessible or add an additional bathroom.
Zoning & Land Use Permits
It is important to confirm that your business will be located in the proper zoning district. The Office of Planning & Sustainability can help identify appropriate zoning districts for your business. Some businesses are also allowed as home occupations. Please contact the Office of Planning & Sustainability for more information.
The Building Department issues commercial, residential, mechanical, and zoning permits. Anyone seeking to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, or demolish a structure or install a sign must first obtain a building permit. Before any work starts, a building permit must be obtained and prominently displayed at the job site. Please reach out to the Building Department to let them know of your plans so that they can guide you in the direction to obtain all applicable permits.
Once you've decided on a location you'll need to decide on your business structure and register your business. This means, should you be a sole proprietor? An LLC? A corporation? The Small Business Administration compares the different options on its website. Once you decide, you will be able to determine what formal paperwork, if any, is required.
- Business Certificates - The city clerk issues business certificates for registering a business in Northampton. A business certificate is commonly referred to as a D/B/A form or a "Doing Business As" form. A business certificate must be filed when conducting business in Northampton under any title (business name) other than the real name of the individual, partnership, or corporation.
- Corporations - New for-profit and non-profit corporations must register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of MA. This can be done online with the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. Existing corporations and trademarks in Massachusetts can be searched online at the Secretary's corporate divisions section of its website.
- Employer Identification Number - An Employer Identification Number (EIN) also known as a federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. This number is used for both federal and state tax purposes. To obtain a federal EIN, you must file an application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Applications can be made online or by phone at 1-800-829-4933.
Additional Permits (if applicable)
- Health & Human Services Permits (Food Establishment, Tobacco Permits, Body Art Permits, etc.)
- License Commission Licenses (Liquor, Entertainment, Common Victualler Licenses, etc.)
- Department of Public Works (Utilities/Trench, Curb Cuts, Stormwater, and other Public Works Permits)
- Fire/Rescue Department (Fire Safety, Hazardous Materials)
State & Federal Taxes
Most businesses or their owners are required to pay income tax on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Other taxes that might be required are unemployment tax, worker's compensation, payroll tax, and sales tax. It is your responsibility to inform yourself and to comply with the state and federal tax filing requirements.
Site Selection Resources & Services
Real Estate Websites
The websites below offer listings for light industrial, warehouse, retail and office properties. Access is primarily free although some levels of data access is fee based.
Real Estate Brokers
|Real Estate Brokers & Address
|Goggins Real Estate
79 King Street, Northampton MA 01062
|Pat Goggins, (413) 531-1659
44 Conz Street, Northampton MA 01060
|David Murphy, (413) 584-5700
|Coldwell Banker Community Realtors
112 Main Street, Northampton MA 01060
|Wiiliamson Commercial Properties
59 North St. #2, Northampton, MA 01060
|John Williamson, (413) 374-4372
|Jennings Real Estate
73 Chestnut Street, Springfield MA 01103
|Jonathan Little, (413) 731-7770
351 Pleasant Street, Suite A, Northampton MA 01060
1441 Main Street, Springfield MA 01103
|Samuel D. Plotkin Associates
1350 Main Street, Springfield MA 01103
|Delap Real Estate
158 North King Street, Northampton MA 01060
Property Ownership/Management Firms
|Firm Name & Address
|Abuza Brothers Management, Inc
181 Main Street, Northampton MA 01060
|Dimension Realty, LLC
174 Florence Road, Florence MA 01062
|Hampshire Property Management Group
150 Main Street, Northampton MA 01060
|Pine Street Enterprises, Inc.
221 Pine Street, Florence MA 01062
Single City Tax Rate with No Commercial Rate
Northampton is one of the few larger communities in Western Massachusetts that offers a single tax rate for commercial and residential real estate. This keeps our commercial tax rate lower than many communities our size or larger. In many municipalities, their commercial tax rate may be as much as 35% to 40% above the residential rate.
Municipal Vacant Storefront Program (MVSP)
Businesses or individuals looking to lease and occupy a vacant storefront (in the approved Northampton Vacant Storefront District as having been vacant for at least twelve months) may apply to the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council with the support of the city for refundable Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) tax credits. The EACC will award refundable EDIP tax credits (up to $10,000) that match the level of municipal support (up to $10,000) businesses or individuals receive for moving into a vacant storefront. To learn more, click here.
Information and links on business development financial incentives are available from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and MassDevelopment. These include tax incentives, training funds, brownfields financing, job creation, job training grants and/or assistance, business development financing, and more.
|Massachusetts Office of Business Development
|Paul St. Pierre, Western Mass Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Richard Griffin, Community Investment, email@example.com
Frank Canning, VP Investment Banking, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuel Innocent, VP Commercial Lending, email@example.com
Claire O'Neill, Sr. VP Real Estate Planning, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Carswell, Business Development, email@example.com
Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP)
Obtaining state-level incentives through the EDIP process can, in some cases, require securing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement from the City. The state's EDIP and Northampton's TIF program work in tandem to deliver the incentives to help a business grow.
A TIF Agreement is a local real estate property tax exemption negotiated and executed between a host municipality and an expanding or relocating company. The business must be making a significant private investment that increases the base assessed value of the property as the tax abatement is given only on the incremental increase in the property value.
Brownfields Cleanup & Redevelopment Assistance
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is committed to the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties as a way to stimulate the economy and promote environmental protection goals. In 1998, Massachusetts passed a law creating financial incentives and liability relief for parties that take on brownfields clean-up projects. This law is known as the Brownfields Act. The Act provides funding to administer programs targeted towards the clean up and reuse of contaminated property.
For direct assistance, please contact:
Brownfields and Enforcement
MassDEP/Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup
436 Dwight Street, Springfield MA 01103
Phone: (413) 755-2247
Economic Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zone Program
There are three incentives for investors, which accumulate over the life of the investment. All three are federal incentives and are non-competitive, so all qualified investors may claim them.
- Temporary Deferral: Investors may defer capital gains on income reinvested into Opportunity Funds. The deferred gain must be recognized when the investor exits the fund, or on Dec. 31, 2026, whichever comes earlier.
- Step-Up in Basis: If the investor remains within an Opportunity Fund for at least 5 years, their tax liabilities related to the original capital gains are reduced by 10 percent. If the investment is held in the Opportunity Fund for 7 years, this increases by an additional 5 percent, meaning that investors can reduce capital gains liability by 15 percent total.
- Permanent Exclusion of Fund Gains: If an investor keeps their investment in an Opportunity Fund for 10 years, any gains from the Opportunity Fund are exempt from taxation.
(2010 Census Tracts)
|Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce
|The Northampton Chamber of Commerce can help you market your business, connect you to business resources and networks, and advocate for your business needs. The Chamber publishes a monthly newsletter and an annual business directory of its members.
|Downtown Northampton Association (DNA)
|The DNA strives to improve the business and cultural strength of Downtown Northampton through investments in programming, beautification, and advocacy. The DNA is affiliated with the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.
|Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC)
Valley CDC's Small Business Development Program provides a range of free services to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income individuals engaged in start-ups and existing small businesses. Their program is designed to help you start, stabilize, and grow your business and is customized to meet your needs. They offer one-on-one business assistance, from access to capital to sales and marketing, from record keeping to staffing, everything you need for your business to thrive. They also offer educational workshops to polish your skills and keep you ahead of the business curve.
|Florence Civic & Business Association
|The Florence Civic & Business Association works to enrich Florence by bringing businesses and people together.
|MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center
|The MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center offers both job seeker and employer services to workers and businesses in Hampshire and Franklin Counties of Western Massachusetts.
|Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC)
|The EDC's purpose is to increase the region's standard of living by attracting and retaining quality jobs, increasing investment, assisting firms in locating commercial real estate, and attracting visitors.
|CLICK Workspace offers a comfortable environment in which creative professionals can work, create, collaborate, and share resources in an atmosphere that values diversity and growth. CLICK engages with the broader Northampton community providing meeting and event spaces, and professional development, and is also home to programs serving the Pioneer Valley.
|Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC)
|PVPC is the regional planning agency for Hampshire and Hampden Counties fulfilling many services and offering resources in terms of future planning, public advocacy to advance regional issues, and providing a large database of demographic information.
|Massachusetts Office of Economic Development
|The Executive Office of Economic Development offers an array of business resources including business development and location assistance, financing, and financial incentives. The Office of Business Development can help find the right state program for your needs.
|The Construction Institute
|The Construction Institute is a leading network and a neutral forum for exchanging new ideas, knowledge, and opportunities while creating stronger collaborative relationships among architects, engineers, constructors, owners, and other industry stakeholders.
|Procurement Technical Assistance Center
|The Procurement Technical Assistance Center is part of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center. PTAC helps businesses identify and capture federal and state contractual opportunities.
|Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield
|The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield is a concentrated effort on business and career development and networking; social and cultural involvement; and community activism through nonprofit organizations and volunteerism.