Stillwater News

So, you want to open a fried chicken restaurant in Stillwater? Here's what you need to know.

Released:Nov 29, 2017


(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Nov. 29, 2017) – Starting a business is an exciting opportunity that requires a lot of planning, which is why the City of Stillwater wants to make sure new business owners are aware of the requirements and resources available to them as they start the process.
“We are often asked whether a business needs to register or apply for a business permit to come to Stillwater,” CFO Melissa Reames said. “The fact is, you don’t need to register or get a permit with the City, though you will need to register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the State Secretary of State’s entity filing.”
Although it does not issue business permits, the City does require some types of businesses to obtain licenses, which are issued through the City Clerk’s Office. A list of these businesses are outlined below.
Another misconception is that the City picks and chooses which stores are allowed to open within city limits. For example, many people think the City is responsible for the recent flurry of chicken restaurants. Reames said that is not true. The City does not determine what kind or number of franchises that can open a business in Stillwater—this applies, for example, to restaurants, nail salons or auto parts stores.
“It’s up to each retailer and restaurant to determine if their product and Stillwater’s consumer base meet their business model,” Reames said. “We welcome all types of businesses because they bring services and employment opportunities to our community and generate sales tax, the later of which is instrumental in funding our core city services like public safety, streets, parks and waste management services, to name a few.”
New or prospective business owners can find answers to a series of frequently asked questions about this process and more at or under the business helpful shortcuts section on the main page.
The FAQs and shortcut link also provide links to other important details, such as how to obtain a building permit for any remodel project you might conduct on a new or existing building and annual business inspections with the Stillwater Fire Marshal’s Office.
“We know you have a lot of questions about how to open a business, so we encourage you to reach out to us should you have more questions,” Reames said.
Stillwater welcomed 22 dining, 20 retail, 10 housing and 22 miscellaneous commercial projects in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. To follow the major development projects happening in Stillwater, visit the development projects page at

  • For questions about issuance of business licenses and registration as required by ordinance, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 405.742.8243 or visit the City Manager’s Office at the Stillwater Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis St.

  • For questions about commercial or residential building permits, inspections or zoning, contact Development Services at 405.742.8220 or visit the help desk on the second floor of the Stillwater Municipal Building.

The following business types require a business license issued from the City Clerk’s Office: Alcohol Beverage License; Bus Business License; Itinerant Merchant/Peddler License; Itinerant Merchant/Peddler License for Mobile Food Services; Low-Point Beer License; Pawnbroker License; Solicitor/Canvasser License; and Taxi/Limousine Business License.

For media inquiries, contact the Office of Marketing and Public Relations at 405.742.8219 or email

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