This section is information generally for established businesses already located near or within Richland, and are looking to open another location, expand their existing location, or expand their businesses customer base or revenues.
A. New Locations
When planning to open a new location for your business, you will generally need to refer to both the Plan and Start sections of the Business Portal. These sections will give you an idea of the same permitting and licensing requirements that will exist for your new location, and stand as a reminder of grants and assistance programs that are available.
New versus existing location notes
While there are certain local, state, and national requirements that will remain unchanged, there are a few processes that will need to be completed again or changed for your new location, including:
- Update your business license or acquire a new business license as necessary, click here to visit the Washington Business Licensing Service
- Confer with the Planning Department at the City of College Place to inquire whether your business is an allowable use within the zoning district of your new location, obtain building permits, and a fire inspection as applicable
- Set up solid waste and recycling collection, electric services (Pacific Power or Columbia REA), and other utility services for your new location
Trade name and structure
If your opening a new location, it may be advisable to register your new business as an independent corporate entity. Utilizing an existing business entity for your new location means that both businesses have common revenue, debt, and liability streams. If either location has an impact on its assets or debts, both locations may be liable for the legal ramification of that impact. Consult with a commercial accountant or insurance agent to assess your liabilities for your business, and determine whether you would be best served by filing each of your locations as a legally independent entity.
Information on entity structures may be found by clicking here.
B. Marketing & Customer Retention
There are many local resources for producing your own marketing and promotional materials, and opportunities to collaborate with other businesses in producing a marketing and growth plan for your business. The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce provides a maintained directory of it's members engaged in Advertising and Media as well as Business and Professional Services as well as a Walla Walla Valley Business Summit held annually.
Businesses are also encouraged to maintain a comprehensive web presence, which allows customers and support businesses to ascertain the products and services you maintain. A minimum level of web presence would be to list your business on location based search services, which may include Google Maps, Bing Maps, Yelp, etc. This allows customers using smart phones or the web to search for your business, and find information like your address, phone number, hours of operation, and website.
In addition to a basic website a business may find it useful to establish a social media presence, which allows the business to publish regular updates about products and services. Social media may include services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and many more.
Customer Contracting Resources
Establishing Governmental Customers
Local and state government entities are required to adhere to strict guidelines in purchasing and public bidding when acquiring products and services for their operation. Washington's Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) may assist in guiding local businesses to work with and sell their products and services to government entities.
City of College Place Bid Opportunities
The City of College Place lists current bid opportunities for working with the City on public projects or purchases. If you're unsure whether you are set up to submit a bid to the City, we recommend your business utilize the resources provided above (Establishing Governmental Customers) to plan for governmental bidding. You may view current City bid opportunities and registration information by clicking here.
Washington State Electronic Business Solution (WEBS)
Register for WEBS to receive notification of state government contracting and bid opportunities. If you're unsure whether you are set up to submit a bid to the State, we recommend your business utilize the resources provided above (Establishing Governmental Customers) to plan for governmental bidding.
Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprise (OMWBE)
Get certified as a small business owned and controlled by minority, women, and social and economic disadvantaged persons, and receive the benefit of visibility in the organization's database for purchasing and procurement. Additional resources are available for competitive selection from Washington State as a registered Diversity Supplier.
In general, assuming that the existing location of your business has not reached maximum lot coverage, on-site expansion is the easiest way to add additional customer and inventory capacity.
Each retail and commercial space has a defined occupational capacity, which limits the number of persons that can be in a room or total combined space at the same time. This capacity is set by both building and fire code, and determines the safe occupational capacity for your businesses operations. These conditions are set during design and enabled at the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for your business location.
Parking, interior space, and life safety considerations
Interior volume and accessibility (life safety) variables determine how many total persons can safely occupy your business at one time, and based upon the total number of persons able to be served, your business location is assigned the minimum number of standard and accessible parking facilities required. In some circumstances depending on the zoning district you are in, or the number of available off-street parking facilities adjacent to your location you may not be required to provide additional on-site parking.
Similarly, spaces designated for public customer occupation and on-site inventory and material storage are defined differently from one another by building and fire code. Business owners will need to consult with building safety and fire personnel to determine whether ideas for reconfiguration of interior space will be practical under current codes.
Constructing on-site attached or detached structures
Additional on-site attached or detached structures may impact the number of additional parking spaces required, and would be limited by the number of parking spaces (if applicable) able to be added or reconfigured by the structure displacing existing parking spaces. Some zoning districts have limitations on on-site detached accessory structures, or the permissible use of those structures in addition to the primary structure's use.
See the Business Portal section on Location & Zoning to determine other requirements on your on-site expansion.
- Department of Commerce: Business Services - Directory of business services offered by the State of Washington.
- Department of Commerce: Economic Gardening Program - Program which encourages local business expansion.
- Department of Commerce: Growing the Rural Economy - State run portal for assisting in economic growth in rural areas.
- Department of Commerce: Growing the Economy - Portal on growing businesses in the state economy.
- Port of Walla Walla - Local regional economic development agency.
- Walla Walla Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce - Regional agency promoting business growth.