How To Open A Retail Store (brick & mortar)

A basic retail store is quite easy to set up. As long as you need a place to resell goods that do not require any permits (guns, tobacco, gas, building alterations, etc), all you need are a few items.

You will need:

  1. Fictitious Business Name
  2. Business License
  3. Establish your Business Structure
  4. Open your Business Bank Account(s)
  5. Seller’s Permit

You can sell merchandise out of your home as long as you meet the guidelines set forth by your city. Check out San Jose’s Home-Based Business Laws to find out what may be required by your city to operate out of your home. If you expect more than two customers at your home at any given time (given they found your place previously and wanted to complete the complying with the home occupation law) or need greater flexibility, you can find a suitable location for your business and populate it with your merchandise that you would like to sell.

Be sure to make sure your commercial space is compliant with any and all building codes before you sign or agree with any leases. You do not want to end up in a commercial space that leaves you with a hefty bill to be in accordance with the building code. If you need to do construction on the location where you want to sell merchandise, you will need to comply with building codes and have improvements inspected before you can operate legally in San Jose. Examples include creating 6 foot+ dividers, installing a new outlet, installing a new sink (if for ever reason you have to for a regular retail store), etc will all require an architect, inspection and lots of money to be compliant with San Jose’s building code.

If you plan to sell online as well as in a brick and mortar store (a traditional store) you will be required to collect the appropriate taxes from the cities that customers are purchasing from. This is a very hectic and burdensome process for California-based businesses as there are many different tax rates from city to city (unlike other states that have one consistent tax rate).

Basically, if you are seeking to open up shop to sell an unregulated item, you can either sell it from your home or from a commercial space that is compliant with building codes and does not require any alterations.