The City Clerk's Office is responsible for the licensing of certain types of businesses that are permitted by the pdf City Charter (268 KB) . A description of those licenses is provided below along with the applicable forms, fees, and any other requirements. Certain businesses may also require licensing from other governmental agencies such as Kalamazoo County (commonly for food service businesses) or the State of Michigan.
Fireworks Permit (Public Displays)
Approval from both the City of Kalamazoo and the Michigan State Police is required to hold a public fireworks display. The pdf City of Kalamazoo Fireworks Display Application (14 KB) and the Michigan State Police Fireworks Display Permit Application must both be submitted for approval and a certificate of comprehensive general or personal liability insurance for a least $1,000,000, protecting the applicant against property or personal injury damages during the display and naming the City of Kalamazoo, its agents, officials, and employees as additionally insured parties must also accompany the application. Additional information about fireworks from the State of Michigan is available here.
Mobile Food Vehicles (Food Trucks) are motorized vehicles engaged in the business of cooking, preparing and distributing food or beverage in public and private restricted spaces. Upon issuance of a license from the City Clerk's Office, Food Trucks may temporarily park upon a public street and engage in the service, sale or distribution of ready to eat food for individual portion service to the general public directly from the vehicle. This license is not for vehicles that move from place to place to dispense food and are stationary in the same location for no more than 15 minutes at a time, such as ice cream trucks. Mobile food vehicles shall not be parked within 150 feet of an existing, brick and mortar restaurant during the hours when such restaurant is open to the public for business.
To be considered for a Mobile Food Vendor License, the owner/operator must submit a complete application to the City Clerk's Office, which includes:
- a completed Application for Mobile Food Vehicle License form
- copies of all necessary licenses and permits issued by the Kalamazoo County Health Department
- proof of General Comprehensive Liability insurance with limits of no less than $2 million Combined Single Limit coverage issued by an insurer licensed to do business in this state and which names the City and its agents, officials, and employees as an additional injured
- proof of Public Liability and Property Damage motor vehicle policy with limits of no less than $1 million issued by an insurer licensed to do business in this State
- payment of the $500 annual fee
For more information and an application form please view and/or print the pdf Mobile Food Vendor Packet (340 KB) . You can also review the Mobile Food Vendor Ordinance, pdf Downtown Restaurant Map (525 KB) , and pdf Commercial/Manufacturing Zoning Map (110 KB) online.
Going Out of Business License
Michigan Act 39 of 1961 states that "No person shall advertise, represent or hold out that any sale of goods is an insurance, bankruptcy, mortgage, insolvent, assignee's, executor's, administrator's, receiver's, trustee's, removal or sale, going out of business or sale of goods damaged by fire, smoke, water or otherwise, unless he first obtains a license to conduct the sale from the clerk of the city, village or township in which he proposes to conduct a sale." The pdf Going Out of Business License Application (100 KB) requires a listing of inventory that is to be liquidated and a $50 fee per month, renewable up to three times.
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission processes requests for retail (bar, restaurant, store), manufacturer & wholesaler (brewery, distillery, winery, broker), and special (charitable, nonprofit) liquor licenses. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Detective Bret Pittelkow (available by phone at (269) 337-8142) coordinates pdf liquor license applications (4.67 MB) for the City. All forms and fees should be submitted to the City Clerk's Office.
In April 2018, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved changes to the City Code of Ordinances that permit Medical Marihuana Businesses. In May 2020 Adult Use/Recreational Marihuana Businesses were approved. More information on licensing for marihuana businesses is available here.
Chapter 24 of Kalamazoo's Code of Ordinances requires licensing of pawnbrokers and secondhand, recycling, and junk dealers. A license fee of $200 per year applies if a record of transactions is submitted to Public Safety electronically. If the required information is not submitted electronically, the license fee is $350 per year. This license year begins on May1; applicants who seek a license after November 1 will pay a prorated fee. pdf Application for Pawnbroker's License (52 KB)
Businesses that involve door-to-door sales must obtain a Peddler's License. This license permits individuals not representing a religious or charitable organization licensed in the state of Michigan to engage in door-to-door sales between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Applicants must submit an pdf Application for Peddler's License (80 KB) , pass a criminal background check, and pay the appropriate fee; $50 for one week, $150 for one month, $300 for six months, and $500 for one year.
Transient Merchant License
Businesses that are engaged in sales at one location on private property that is not owned by the vendor must obtain a Transient Merchant License. The pdf Application for Transient Merchant License (88 KB) requires a criminal background check, the approval of a temporary use permit for licenses one month or less or a variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals for licenses over one month, and a license fee of $50 for one week, $150 for one month, $300 for six months, and $500 for one year.
Precious Metals & Gems Dealer License
Recycling Dealer License
The requirements for obtaining a Recycling Dealer License are established in Section 24-16 of the Code of Ordinances. In addition to submitting the pdf Application for Recycling Dealer License (25 KB) and the license fee of $100, applicants must also submit a fully dimensioned site plane of their entire property.
Secondhand Dealer License
Chapter 24 of Kalamazoo's Code of Ordinances outlines the licensing requirements of pawnbrokers and secondhand, recycling, and junk dealers. A license fee of $200 per year applies if a record of transactions is submitted to Public Safety electronically. If the required information is not submitted electronically, the license fee is $350 per year. The license year begins on May1; applicants who seek a license after November 1 will pay a prorated fee. pdf Application for Secondhand Dealer's License (407 KB)
Tag Day License
Chapter 25, Article V of the Kalamazoo Code of Ordinances states "no person shall solicit contributions or sell or offer for sale any tags, poppies, buttons, forget-me-nots, flags, ribbons or other like tokens for any charitable, patriotic or other purpose on the streets or in any public place in the City, without obtaining a permit for conducting the solicitation or sale involved. pdf Application for Tag Day Permit (39 KB)
Links & other licenses
State of Michigan License Search
Charitable Gaming License, State of Michigan Charitable Gaming Division (requires City Commission approval)
Doing Business As, Kalamazoo County Clerk
Commercial Bus & Limousine License, Michigan Department of Transportation
Marriage License, Kalamazoo County Clerk
Kalamazoo Mall Vendor License, contact Joe Stark, City of Kalamazoo Right-of-Way Coordinator at (269) 337-8436