Opening a Retail Store? Watch for These Important Legal Concerns

naperville business law attorneyConsignment stores, clothing boutiques, health food stores and other small, locally-owned retail stores seem to be popping up everywhere recently – and for good reason. Now that COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, many customers are eager to explore brick-and-mortar stores in their neighborhoods. Tired of the generic items they find at big box stores and ready for a more personal touch, customers are increasingly interested in shopping locally.

If you plan to open a retail store, there are plenty of opportunities. However, starting or purchasing a retail business can also be a risky endeavor. Many small businesses fail within the first few years, and business owners must be aware of significant legal matters they must address.

In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common legal concerns for retail store owners and how you can start your business off on the right foot by being proactive regarding these issues.

Zoning Ordinances Limit Where You Can Operate a Store

Do you plan to rent a commercial space, purchase a parcel of land, or run the business out of your own home? Whatever your plans, understanding the zoning laws in your area is essential. Zoning laws control where you can open a store, floor-to-area ratios, accessibility issues, parking requirements, signage, and much more.

Choose the Right Legal Entity for Your Business

Do you know the difference between a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, and corporation? Different business structures offer different advantages and limitations. A sole proprietorship is the most common business structure and may be appropriate for businesses owned and operated by one person. However, sole proprietors are personally liable for company debts and losses. LLC’s offer limited protection from business liabilities, but may not be the right choice depending on your future plans.

You Will Need to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Trademark your brand, patent your innovation, and buy the domain name for your website as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for somebody else to steal your unique ideas and use your innovations to compete against you. 

Additionally, it is crucial to make sure you are not infringing on another party’s intellectual property. Something as simple as using an image you found online in your company’s logo can lead to major legal headaches and avoidable expenses.

Follow All Employment Laws and Set Employee Expectations Early

Do you plan to hire one or more employees to work at the store? If so, you will need to understand the employment laws applicable to your situation. Set up an employee handbook that clearly describes employee expectations, company policies and procedures, and other vital information. Ensure your business is compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act, wage laws, anti-discrimination laws, and tax laws.

Keep Your Confidential Information Safe from Cyberattacks

Cybersecurity is more important now than ever. Phishing attacks are one of the most common breaches that small businesses face, and statistics show that these attacks are becoming more frequent. Ensure your business has a thorough cybersecurity strategy and a comprehensive plan for keeping customer data safe.

Work With a Naperville Business Law Attorney For Help

The list above represents just a fraction of the business law concerns you will encounter as a small business owner. To protect yourself and your company, consider working with a business lawyer. 

The Gierach Law Firm Offers outsourced general counsel to businesses that are too small to justify a full-time lawyer but still recognize the substantial benefits of taking a proactive approach to their company’s legal affairs. Call our Naperville business law attorneys today at 630-756-1160 to learn more about our outsourced general counsel program and other services.



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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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