The Basics for Business Owners

Trash Pick Up

Depending on your location and what you’ve set up with WMU (Winchester Municipal Utilities) for the location of pickup, some buildings will have pickup on Main Street in the afternoon, others have pickup in Wall or Church Alleys, and some have dumpsters that will need to have a call placed to arrange a pickup. 

Sidewalk Maintenance

Maintenance of sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner. If you own your business and your building, you must ensure that the sidewalks are passable in inclement weather. This includes shoveling and deicing – make sure to use non-invasive methods to prevent ice, such as pet-safe ice melts. If you rent, you should check your lease to see if who is in charge of the maintenance. If unsure, contact your landlord. Aside from that, the sidewalk is yours to decorate as you will! Get creative, add planters, showcase your products, or put out a few seats for shoppers to take a break. Just leave at least 5 feet of sidewalk clear so people can move about freely. Lastly, if you see trash on your sidewalk, grab a bag and pick it up. If we all take pride in our store appearances, the community will take pride in us! 


You have a new business; make sure that you are letting everyone know about it! Signage is key for being visible to vehicle traffic, as well as foot traffic. Consider the size needed for drivers looking for your location to see from a distance and shoppers walking on the sidewalk. You want the signage to be simple, clearly readable, and convey what your business is. This is one of the items regulated by the Historic Preservation Commission, so make sure you read their guidelines and arrange a meeting with the commission for approval. Seek graphic design help if you need further assistance.

Business License

It’s a simple step, but it’s easy to miss. You MUST have a business license from the City of Winchester to operate your shop legally. You’ll need to stop by the finance department in City Hall to start the paperwork. They’ll give you the contact sheet for the building inspector, electrical inspector, and fire marshall. In some cases, a plumbing and/or gas inspection will be needed. A short list of some things they may be on the lookout for will be fire extinguishers with signage, lighted EXIT signs, and proper egress (entrances/exits). These inspections could take several days to schedule, so plan accordingly. Other items to consider are a Federal Tax ID number and arranging your sales taxes. 

Historic District

If your building/business is in the historic overlay district (HDO), congratulations! You are a part of one of the few neighborhoods in Clark County that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Not all of downtown falls within the district. Find the district map here

In order to promote the preservation of downtown’s historic architecture, the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) created guidelines and best practices for the HDO. If you are thinking about making alterations to your building’s exterior, check out their online guideline resource. HPC approval is required for any changes to the exterior of your building, including but not limited to painting, windows, and signage. If you do not receive a certificate of appropriateness from the HPC prior to beginning work, you will receive a Stop Work Notice and may be subject to fines.

Change of Use

If you are located in a historic building and plan to change the use of the building, you may be required to bring the building up to the Kentucky State Building Code. For example, if your location is currently used for retail, but you plan to have a restaurant in the space – that is a change of use. Contact the local building inspector at City Hall to learn more.