New Business Owners

The City of Rockford offers a unique blend of residential, retail and commercial development. Located just 15 minutes north of Grand Rapids, Michigan in Kent County. Rockford is a full service community with small town charm and the amenities of a large City.

The residential growth of the area is tremendous. Kent County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state with northern Kent County representing the fastest growing area within the County with no decrease in sight. The City of Rockford offers residential homes in the older and charming downtown area as well as in new residential developments.

The City has both strong commercial and industrial developments. Rockford’s largest employer is Wolverine Worldwide (best known for Hush Puppies, Merrel, Saucony and CAT shoes). Rockford is home to their corporate headquarters. The Byrne Industrial Park is home to Byrne Electrical Specialists, Grand Rapids Controls, Inc, The Materials Group, Riverview Products, Advanced Fabricating Technology,  Integrated Packaging Machinery, General Motivation, Alloy Exchange, Universal Products and others.

The downtown is the heart of the retail district and includes unique shops and boutiques as well as a wide variety of restaurants. The four corners of 10 Mile and Wolverine Blvd are also the home to many retail and commercial enterprises such as a grocery store, dry cleaners, health club and professional offices.

As you will discover, the City of Rockford is a vibrant, dynamic and growing community offering big city amenities while respecting the tradition and charm that have preserved the quaintness of our small town. 

City of Rockford New Business Packet

City of Rockford Business Registration Application

Rockford Department of Public Safety Local Business Emergency Call Form


Business Watch

The Business Watch program helps Rockford merchants work together to prevent crime. The Business Watch provides a forum for businesses to communicate suspicious or criminal activity to other local businesses. Business owners can be notified about important information through email. This helps to reduce the risk of additional businesses becoming victimized. If you are a business owner and would like to join the Business Watch program and start receiving email alerts, please contact PSO Ian Graham at or (616) 866-9557.

Knox Box

The Knox-Box Rapid Entry System is a secure emergency access program developed for property owners and first responders. The Public Safety Department uses the Knox-Box Rapid Entry System to prevent costly entry damage while protecting property and lives. When a fire breaks out or there is a medical emergency, the Knox Box allows immediate entry into buildings and property without forced entry damage or delay. Property owners store entrance keys, access cards and floor plans in high-security Knox-Box key boxes mounted near building entrances. If you would like to install a Knox Box at your business contact Police Chief Dave Robinson at (616) 866-9557 or at

Fire Inspections

The Rockford Department of Public Safety conducts annual fire and life safety inspections at businesses throughout the City. If you would like to schedule an inspection for your business or have questions regarding the fire and life safety inspections, please contact the RDPS at (616) 866-9557. 


Rockford Department of Public Safety Local Business Emergency Call Form


Downtown Employee Parking Ordinance

Effective November 1, 2005, the Public Safety Department began enforcing a parking order that prohibits any employer and their employees from parking on the street in the central business district, defined as zone C-2, in the City. The order also restricts parking in the parking lot adjacent to the Rockford Dam, the parking lot on Squires Street adjacent to the Rockford Visitors Center, the Promenade parking lot, the Grill 111 parking lot, and the parking lots on either side of Main Street between Bridge Street and Maple Street. This order does not apply to private parking or handicapped parking spaces. The order is not enforced when city parking lots are closed for special events. The goal of this order is to keep a healthy business environment for you and make a visitor’s experience to Rockford pleasant. It is a benefit to all businesses to have adequate parking that turns over frequently for the customers. A map detailing the public parking areas can be found here Rockford Downtown Parking Map.

Sign Ordinance

A sign permit is required prior to any new sign being placed or when modifying an existing sign within the City limits. Each zoning district has specific requirements with regard to signs. A copy of the sign permit and ordinance can be obtained at City Hall or on our website. There is a $30.00 fee for permanent sign permits. Temporary sign permits are allowed under special circumstances and there is a fee of $10.00.

Sign Permit Application

Snow Removal

The City’s Department of Public Services is responsible for snow removal on City streets. Their first priority is to clear heavily traveled roads and then secondary roadways. Property owners are responsible to keep sidewalks clear of snow including those within business districts. The city assists with the initial clearing of the sidewalks in the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) district, which encompasses downtown using a small sidewalk plow. However, snow removal still remains the property owners ultimate responsibility.

Full list of City Ordinances