Business Resources

Parking Information

The city of Cedar Falls has permit parking available downtown. Click here for a detailed list of parking lots and permits available from the city.

Parking Study Report

The City of Cedar Falls, working with parking experts at WGI,  conducted a downtown parking study to develop an in-depth understanding of current parking conditions and identify potential improvements and/or strategies. The information and direction gained throughout the parking study process provides a sound basis for local decision-making strategies aimed at enhancing the economic and social qualities of the Cedar Falls downtown business district. WGI presented their final recommendations to the Cedar Falls City Council in February of 2019. For a link to their presentation click here . For a link to the final report click here.

Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant - up to $100,000

As Iowa's downtowns continue to revitalize, the Iowa Economic Development Authority has announced the Main Street Challenge Grant for building improvement projects.  Community Main Street is seeking eligible building projects in downtown Cedar Falls, including rehabilitation and/or major façade improvements.

Interested parties planning downtown rehabilitation projects during the next 12 months should contact the Community Main Street office for details.  Please fill out the form at this link to indicate your interest in the Challenge Grant due to Community Main Street on or before  June 30.

Please note:  The maximum grant award is $100,000 with a minimum award of $15,000 per project.  A 1:1 cash match is required.  Other federal or state grant program awards cannot be used to satisfy the cash match.  Each of the state's 52 Main Street organizations may apply on behalf of one selected project from their community.

Open 4 Business Competition

Main Street Iowa is excited to offer this program to help encourage business development efforts in Iowa’s Main Street districts around the state!  Sustainable businesses that will grow and thrive is the desired outcome! The OPEN 4 BUSINESS competition is a chance for businesses within the Downtown Cedar Falls district to compete for up to $20,000 to support their business development.  If you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please contact Kim Bear at the Community Main Street office: or 319-277-0213.

Façade Grant Program - up to $2,500

An updated local façade grant program has been established in partnership with the City of Cedar Falls. Grants will be offered for amounts up to $2,500 and require 1:1 matching funds from the grantee. A total of $18,000 has been allocated by the City of Cedar Falls and administered by Community Main Street to support the program. Applications will be accepted by CMS on an on-going basis until funds are allocated.  

Our goal is to provide financial assistance to property owners or tenants who demonstrate a strong dedication to district improvement. Projects that will receive grant funding should focus on the improvement of existing assets, which are permanent in nature and enhance the visual presentation of the district and, therefore, its image.  For program details, click here and to download the application, click here.

Design Assistance

All businesses located in the downtown district are welcome to take advantage of expert design assistance available through Main Street Iowa. Click this link to see more information on the Design Guidelines.  Please contact Kim Bear at 277-0213 or to schedule an appointment.

Sidewalk Sandwich Sign Information

The City of Cedar Falls requires an annual permit for the display of all signage located on the public sidewalk. Prior to the display of a sidewalk sign, the City Council must approve the application. A $25.00 annual fee should accompany the application along with a site plan, a written consent from the property owner, proof of insurance, indemnification form and a license or permit required by the business. If you have any questions or intend to display a sidewalk sign, please contact City Hall at 273-8600 for the permitting information.  
For more information and application example click here.

Sidewalk Cafe Information

A sidewalk cafe means an outdoor area that is temporarily situated on a public sidewalk where food and/or alcohol will be served.  For the City checklist as well as the application click here. If you already have a sidewalk cafe, you will need to renew your permit. For the permit renewal click here.

If you are just interested in adding table, chairs or bench seating outside your business for public/patron use, you will need to fill out a Table & Chairs permit (available here) and submit it to the City of Cedar Falls along with the required insurance certificate, photo/diagram of proposed seating area and furniture, and the $25 permit fee. You will also need to sign and submit the indemnification agreement. More information on this ordinance is also available here.  

University of Northern Iowa Regional Business Center

The UNI Regional Business Center (RBC) serves entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout the state of Iowa. The center hosts three critical programs: UNI Business Incubation Services, UNI Small Business Development Center and MyEntre.Net. The Regional Business Center is a program of Business and Community Services, a division of the College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa.

Advance Iowa

Advance Iowa has a unique program that pairs owners with trusted business advisors, most of whom have had direct ownership experience of midsized firms themselves, for guidance analyzing growth opportunities, and operations review. Advance Iowa also assists CEOs through peer mentoring via their exclusive roundtable access, and has concentrated expertise with confidential business succession support.

Iowa Business Concierge

The Iowa Business Concierge program seeks to connect entrepreneurs with the right public sector organization(s) that can help them grow. With an innovative service delivery model that strives to magnify personal contact with customized assistance, the Business Concierge is much more than just another referral organization. The Business Concierge team take the time necessary to fully understand the challenges your firm faces, then provides business research capacities to offer no charge, actionable, market research intelligence on top of the connections they help facilitate.  

Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC)

The IWRC is a leader in providing expert environmental services to businesses.  The primary focus of the IWRC is in providing free, non-regulatory, environmental technical assistance for small businesses.  Information and expertise covers topics regarding air emissions, community right-to-know, hazardous waste, painting and coating, pollution prevention, solid waste, storm water and wastewater. IWRC staff of environmental experts can help businesses meet regulatory obligations, implement waste reduction and pollution prevention initiatives, increase efficiency through training and education, and much more.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The UNI SBDC can unlock the potential of any business through our customized one-on-one business consulting services. Appointments are provided at no cost, and workshops are both affordable and practical. If you have the drive to succeed, they can help accelerate your progress. UNI SBDC advisors and trainers focus on real-world small business needs including: startup assistance, business planning, accounting, human resources, marketing, sales, information on local and statewide resources, and much more.

Strategic Marketing Services (SMS)

Since 1990, Strategic Marketing Services has been helping businesses better understand growth opportunities through primary market research services including: world-class survey instruments, in-depth client interviews, professional focus groups, ideation sessions, and industry roundtables.  One of the key offerings is SMS MarketSolve, a program that is geared for Iowa companies to work with SMS to craft a unique research project, the cost of which can be grant-subsidized.

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