Starting a New Business

Dear New Business Owner,

When I first purchased my business back in 1997 I had no idea what I was getting into! With a background in the non-profit performing arts arena, I was ill-prepared for the world of for profit retail. When I moved my business to Ardmore in 2000, I did not know what licenses I needed, how to contract for trash pick-up or where to park. When I became the Executive Director of the Ardmore Initiative in 2007, I remembered that feeling of being overwhelmed & decided that one of the AI’s tasks would be to create a New Business Welcome Kit & to walk a new business owner through all of the steps required to get a business up & running. I hope that you will find the information below useful to you. Remember, we are here to help and are always ready to meet with you to provide any additional assistance you may require.

Getting Started:

  • You will need to determine what legal entity you will be: a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a S-corporation, etc. The IRS can help you determine the best structure for you.
  • You will need a federal tax ID#, also available from the IRS
  • You will also need a Pa sales tax #, available at pa100
  • And a Business License from Lower Merion Township. Read the welcome letter from the Township Finance Department.

Once you have created your legal entity & have all of your licenses, follow the below steps to continue your business set up.

You will need to do the following:

  • Contact Ardmore Initiative to learn about available spaces in Ardmore
  • Contact Township Retail Coordinator Heidi Tirjan at to learn about available spaces throughout Lower Merion Township
  • Make sure that your proposed use is permitted under the Township’s Zoning Code. Submit a Zoning Use Request Form to Zoning Officer Mike Wylie at
  • Prior to signing a lease, contact Commercial Building Inspector Mike Yuritch at to determine if there are any building code issues that need to be addressed before opening
  • Depending on the degree of renovation you will need a Commercial Building Permit application
  • For signage or other facade improvements, please refer to the Ardmore Storefront Design Guidelines Wall Sign checklist, and awning checklist, if applicable
  • If you are located in the Ardmore Historic District (see map), you will need to present any proposed facade improvements to the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB). HARB meets on the first Tuesday of every month and you should submit your application to Mike Wylie two weeks prior to the meeting. If you are not sure what you’d like to do on your façade, you are welcome to ask for HARB feedback informally, prior to submitting an application.
  • Ardmore Initiative also has the Facade Improvement Grant Program to help you with some of the costs of improving your building façade. See the guidelines and application for more information.
  • Contact Economic Development Specialist Eric Persson at to learn about financing opportunities through Lower Merion Township

Get Informed, Stay Informed:

Customer & Employee Parking:

Customer parking can be found all throughout the downtown (see map). Most meters are 2 hours and a few (red meter heads) are 12 hours. Remember to push the free time button for 10 minutes of free parking BEFORE inserting coins. Encourage your customers to purchase a Smart Card at the Township building. The Smart Card can be used at all LMT meters in place of coins & the advantage of the card is that any time paid for but unused can be credited back onto the card. Learn more on the Parking Services Department page.

We ask business owners & employees NOT to park at metered spots or in residential neighborhoods. There are permit parking lots throughout the downtown & parking permits are less expensive than feeding meters all day. Download a parking permit application.

We understand that starting a new business can be a daunting task and hope that this guide helped you. If you have any questions at all do not hesitate to contact Ardmore Initiative.


Christine Vilardo
Past Executive Director
Ardmore Initiative