Business Licensing

The City Clerk's Office is responsible for the licensing of certain types of businesses that are permitted by the pdf City Charter (268 KB) . A description of those licenses is provided below along with the applicable forms, fees, and any other requirements. Certain businesses may also require licensing from other governmental agencies such as Kalamazoo County (commonly for food service businesses) or the State of Michigan


Dance Hall License

A Dance Hall license is required for any facility that hosts more than two public dances per year. The permit authorizes an unlimited number of events for one year from the date of issuance. Dance Hall Licenses are not transferrable between individuals or locations. The initial fee for the license is $300 and is renewable for $100 each year. The applicable section of the Code of Ordinances is included with the pdf Application for Dance Hall License and Public Dance Permit (49 KB) .


Dance Permit

Public Dance Permits authorize specific events at facilities that host up to two dances per year. This permit is not transferrable between individuals or locations. The initial Dance Permit issued carries a fee of $100, a second permit issued within one year for a public dance at the same location carries a fee of $50. Locations hosting more than two public dances per year are required to obtain a Dance Hall License. The applicable section of the Code of Ordinances is included with the pdf Application for Dance Hall License and Public Dance Permit (49 KB) .


Fireworks Permit (Public Displays)

Approval from both the City of Kalamazoo and the Michigan State Police is required to hold a public fireworks display. The pdf City of Kalamazoo Fireworks Display Application (14 KB) and the Michigan State Police Fireworks Display Permit Application must both be submitted for approval and a certificate of comprehensive general or personal liability insurance for a least $1,000,000, protecting the applicant against property or personal injury damages during the display and naming the City of Kalamazoo, its agents, officials, and employees as additionally insured parties must also accompany the application. Additional information about fireworks from the State of Michigan is available here.


Food Trucks

Mobile Food Vehicles (Food Trucks) are motorized vehicles engaged in the business of cooking, preparing and distributing food or beverage in public and private restricted spaces. Upon issuance of a license from the City Clerk's Office, Food Trucks may temporarily park upon a public street and engage in the service, sale or distribution of ready to eat food for individual portion service to the general public directly from the vehicle. This license is not for vehicles that move from place to place to dispense food and are stationary in the same location for no more than 15 minutes at a time, such as ice cream trucks. Mobile food vehicles shall not be parked within 150 feet of an existing, brick and mortar restaurant during the hours when such restaurant is open to the public for business. 

To be considered for a Mobile Food Vendor License, the owner/operator must submit a complete application to the City Clerk's Office, which includes:

    • a completed Application for Mobile Food Vehicle License form
    • copies of all necessary licenses and permits issued by the Kalamazoo County Health Department
    • proof of General Comprehensive Liability insurance with limits of no less than $2 million Combined Single Limit coverage issued by an insurer licensed to do business in this state and which names the City and its agents, officials, and employees as an additional injured
    • proof of Public Liability and Property Damage motor vehicle policy with limits of no less than $1 million issued by an insurer licensed to do business in this State
    • payment of the $500 annual fee

For more information and an application form please view and/or print the pdf Mobile Food Vendor Packet (340 KB) . You can also review the Mobile Food Vendor Ordinance, pdf Downtown Restaurant Map (525 KB) , and pdf Commercial/Manufacturing Zoning Map (110 KB) online. 


Going Out of Business License

Michigan Act 39 of 1961 states that "No person shall advertise, represent or hold out that any sale of goods is an insurance, bankruptcy, mortgage, insolvent, assignee's, executor's, administrator's, receiver's, trustee's, removal or sale, going out of business or sale of goods damaged by fire, smoke, water or otherwise, unless he first obtains a license to conduct the sale from the clerk of the city, village or township in which he proposes to conduct a sale." The pdf Going Out of Business License Application (100 KB)  requires a listing of inventory that is to be liquidated and a $50 fee per month, renewable up to three times. 


Liquor License

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission processes requests for retail (bar, restaurant, store), manufacturer & wholesaler (brewery, distillery, winery, broker), and special (charitable, nonprofit) liquor licenses. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Detective Bret Pittelkow (available by phone at (269) 337-8142) coordinates  pdf liquor license applications (4.67 MB)  for the City. All forms and fees should be submitted to the City Clerk's Office.


 

Newspaper Vendor License

A Newspaper Vendor License is required to operate any type of newspaper vending machine on public sidewalks. To obtain a license, submit an Application Authorizing the Placement of Newspaper Vending Machines on Public Sidewalks to the City Clerk's Office. An annual application fee of $5 must be submitted with each application. Additional details and insurance requirements are included in the application.


Medical Marihuana Businesses

In April 2018, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved changes to the City Code of Ordinances that permit Medical Marihuana Businesses. Additional information is available here.


Pawnbroker License

Chapter 24 of Kalamazoo's Code of Ordinances requires licensing of pawnbrokers and secondhand, recycling, and junk dealers.  A license fee of $200 per year applies if a record of transactions is submitted to Public Safety electronically. If the required information is not submitted electronically, the license fee is $350 per year. This license year begins on May1; applicants who seek a license after November 1 will pay a prorated fee.  pdf Application for Pawnbroker's License (52 KB)


Peddler License

Businesses that involve door-to-door sales must obtain a Peddler's License. This license permits individuals not representing a religious or charitable organization licensed in the state of Michigan to engage in door-to-door sales between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Applicants must submit an  pdf Application for Peddler's License (80 KB) , pass a criminal background check, and pay the appropriate fee; $50 for one week, $150 for one month, $300 for six months, and $500 for one year.


Transient Merchant License

Businesses that are engaged in sales at one location on private property that is not owned by the vendor must obtain a Transient Merchant License. The pdf Application for Transient Merchant License (88 KB)  requires a criminal background check, the approval of a variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals, and a license fee of $50 for one week, $150 for one month, $300 for six months, and $500 for one year.


Pool Table License

Businesses that charge for the use of a pool table must obtain a pool table license. The fee is $25 per table for the first two tables, and $10 per table thereafter. The pdf Application for Pool Table License  (64 KB) requires a character reference, and city staff will verify that the establishment is located in a zone that permits this use. 


Precious Metals & Gems License

Any business that purchases precious metals and/or gems from customers must obtain a Precious Metals & Gems License. Approval of a pdf Precious Metals and Gems Dealer Application (194 KB)  requires a criminal background check and payment of a one time application fee of $25.


Recycling Dealer License

The requirements for obtaining a Recycling Dealer License are established in Section 24-16 of the Code of Ordinances. In addition to submitting the pdf Application for Recycling Dealer License (25 KB)  and the license fee of $100, applicants must also submit a fully dimensioned site plane of their entire property. 


Second Hand Dealer License

Chapter 24 of Kalamazoo's Code of Ordinances outlines the licensing requirements of pawnbrokers and secondhand, recycling, and junk dealers.  A license fee of $200 per year applies if a record of transactions is submitted to Public Safety electronically. If the required information is not submitted electronically, the license fee is $350 per year. The license year begins on May1; applicants who seek a license after November 1 will pay a prorated fee.  pdf Application for Secondhand Dealer's License (407 KB)


Tag Day License

Chapter 25, Article V of the Kalamazoo Code of Ordinances states "no person shall solicit contributions or sell or offer for sale any tags, poppies, buttons, forget-me-nots, flags, ribbons or other like tokens for any charitable, patriotic or other purpose on the streets or in any public place in the City, without obtaining a permit for conducting the solicitation or sale involved.  pdf Application for Tag Day Permit (39 KB)


Vehicle or Driver for Hire Business

Per Chapter 37 of the Kalamazoo Code of Ordinances, businesses that provide transportation as a service for a per-mile charge cannot operate without first obtaining a Vehicle for Hire Business License. The pdf Application for Vehicle for Hire Business Packet (83 KB)  includes information on license fees, minimum insurance requirements, and rates & fares. Additional information and forms related to vehicle for hire businesses can be found below:

pdf Resolution Establishing Insurance Requirements for Vehicle for Hire Businesses (62 KB)

pdf Resolution Establishing Rates of Fare for Vehicle for Hire Businesses (269 KB)

pdf Resolution Establishing Fees for Vehicle for Hire Businesses (265 KB)

pdf Application for Transfer of Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (17 KB)

pdf Taxi Cab Vehicle Inspection Form (19 KB)


Links & other licenses

State of Michigan License Search

Charitable Gaming License, State of Michigan Charitable Gaming Division (requires City Commission approval)

Doing Business As, Kalamazoo County Clerk

Commercial Bus & Limousine License, Michigan Department of Transportation

Marriage License, Kalamazoo County Clerk

Kalamazoo Mall Vendor License, contact Joe Stark, City of Kalamazoo Right-of-Way Coordinator at (269) 337-8436

City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.

Contact

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 (269) 337-8047
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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