Continually ranked among the Top 10 Micropolitan cities in the nation, Wooster is the best place for business! From start-ups to multi-national expansions, our community provides the low-cost, high-service, ecosystem needed for enterprise success. Whether in search of data, seeking help with an infrastructure issue, or needing assistance to grow or retain operations, we are here to help.
Created with the imagination of citizens and businesses over two centuries, here are just a few reasons why Wooster continues to be a leader in business:
Here are just a few highlights attracting new businesses, workers, and entrepreneurs to our City:
- Top Micropolitan In Ohio, #7 Nationwide
- Wooster City Schools Ranking - Top 10%
- Exceptional Research
- Ohio State University CFAES 110 Acre Outdoor laboratory
- College of Wooster
- Walkable City with 12-miles of dedicated biking trails
- Low-Cost, High-Value Quality of Life
- Award-Winning Medical Care
- Skilled Workforce: 1.2 MM People within 50 minute drive
- Excellent Infrastructure Network
- 37 Minutes Downtown Akron
- 32 Minutes Downtown Canton
- 31 Minutes Downtown Mansfield
- 45 Minutes to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
- 45 Minutes to Akron Canton Regional Airport
- 50 Minutes Downtown Cleveland
- 82 Minutes Downtown Columbus
- Entrepreneurial Spirit - Learn More
- Local business incubators, maker-spaces, and start-up resources.
- Wooster Community Profile
- Wooster Proper Statistics
- Wooster Area Demographics Report
- 50-Minute Drive-Time Population, Age Characteristics, Educational Attainment
- Wooster Region Labor Force Details
- Workers, Establishments, Sectors
- Wooster Area Business Details
- Inventory of Wooster Businesses (BLS / NAICS), Reported Sales, Reported Employees
- Greater Region Talent Generation
- Trade Schools and Degree Program Proximity
- Wooster Wages by Occupation
- Trade Schools and Degree Program Proximity
Sometimes referred to as Public-Private Partnership or Business Incentives, the City of Wooster has instituted several specialized programs to help businesses finance their start-ups and expansions in Wooster. Generally, projects must create basic-sector jobs (producing goods for a national or global market), or reinvest within the City's historic and downtown neighborhoods. Most projects also receive supporting assistance from JobsOhio, the State of Ohio's economic development agency. Our local programs include the following (click each title to learn more):
City of Wooster Development Services: The City of Wooster offers phased permitting for Building and Engineering projects with 24/7 online access. Paperless, expedient, and transparent, this level of service and accessible technology, unique to most Ohio communities, allows for substantially faster approvals for speedier construction and substantial project cost-savings.
On-the-Job Training: Offers up to $8,000 per qualified new low-income hire to reimburse the employer for training expenses, including wages. Offered through our Wayne County OhioMeansJobs Center (part of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services), this program has been immensely helpful to many of Wooster’s large employers. The firm registers its business with Wayne County OhioMeansJobs, recruits new employees, and enrolls approved employees prior to training. To qualify, new employees must be from households at or below 200% poverty. Generally, this includes individuals previously earning $26,000 or less, or $52,739 for a household of four, or approximately 40% of all Wooster households.
Incumbent Worker Training: Available to employers training existing employees (regardless of income) on new skills, equipment, technology, or processes, the IWT program funds a portion of the direct cost of training. (Examples include funding the cost of hiring a career center to credential hires on a new equipment line.) The program aids companies investing in training to adopt new skills to enhance their Ohio-based operations’ industrial competitiveness. Workers benefit through obtaining new skills, credentials, or promotions. Contact Wayne County OhioMeansJobs to learn more.
With a local income tax rate of 1.5%, among the lowest of similarly-sized Ohio communities, the City of Wooster provides a highly competitive tax environment allowing businesses the opportunity to maximize returns on investment through the long term. To help firms undertaking an investment in employment expansion, the City of Wooster offers a matching Local-Income Creation Tax Credit to companies that also receive a State of Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit. This frees up financial resources to be invested in new payroll. The Local Job Creation Tax Credit is an annual grant equal to a certain percent of the total amount of new income taxes from newly hired employees:
- Local Terms match State of Ohio Terms up to a maximum 50%.
- Companies must commit to creating 25 new jobs within a three-year period, and retaining their employment in the city two years for each year of incentive.
- This support is provided by invitation on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with JobsOhio.
- Applications require a State of Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit and a recommendation from The Wooster Growth Corporation.
- Please contact us to learn more.
Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) supports new and expanding firms in establishing and upgrading public infrastructure. It is usually a company's responsibility to establish the new water and sewer lines or new roadway or intersection improvements it requires for its business site. TIF allows communities to partner with private companies in financing costs through redirecting future tax dollars to repay the infrastructure expenses. TIF essentially enables the creation of new public infrastructure to support business expansion. A unique inter-governmental resource, TIF requires the approval and partnership of the Wooster City Council, the Wooster City School District, the Wayne County Commissioners, and sometimes other local governments.
TIF is provided on a discretionary basis for exceptional and large projects resulting in sizeable employment expansion. TIF is not a retroactive tool per Ohio law and requires that firms coordinate projects with the City of Wooster well in advance. TIF has helped to provide significant cost-savings and greatly improve the ease of operations for Wooster companies. Please contact us to learn more.
The City of Wooster has a Community Reinvestment Area and Enterprise Zone which offer real estate tax exemption on the improved value of property resulting from a new construction of rehabilitation project. This program is available to support projects that could not otherwise occur but for public assistance, and is made possible in partnership with its top-rated Wooster City School District and Wayne County Schools Career Center, and the State of Ohio:
- General Requirements:
- Reserved for firms creating a substantial number of new basic-sector jobs (serving a national or global market) and/or for firms creatively reinvesting in older buildings or sites within Wooster's Downtown and Historic Areas, which require public assistance in order to move forward.
- A job commitment is required per state requirements. Many projects commit 25 or more new jobs. (Jobs new to the State of Ohio). However, each project is unique.
- Projects must commit to 2 years of job performance for every 1 year of exemption.
- No relocation of jobs is permitted from anywhere within the State of Ohio as a result of the project at any time while the property is under exemption.
- Exemption Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis and provided to support the individual needs of the project. Project terms have ranged from 2-years and 35% to 10 years and 75% for major industrial and commercial expansion projects.
- Tax exemption is discretionary and requires approval from Wooster City Council, the Wooster City School District*, the Wooster Growth Corporation*, and other independent local governments, along with the Ohio Department of Taxation and the Ohio Department of Development. This treatment is truly a community collaboration to invest and celebrate our entrepreneurs venturing to grow our economy.
- Companies are expected to maintain a membership with the Wayne Economic Development Council.
- Note: Tax exemption is an important and necessary tool which allows communities to partner with private business on job-creating and reinvestment projects that could not otherwise happen. Tax exemption for one property may also influence tax bills for all other businesses and residents within a community and county. This is why exemption is reserved for exceptional projects that would not otherwise occur in Wooster.
- Learn More:
- Please contact us! We would the opportunity to help explore options to make your expansion in Wooster possible!
Through our Downtown Partner, Main Street Wooster, the City of Wooster has supported a Downtown Façade program for business and property owners seeking to invest in their buildings. Grants cycles open up annually and applications are available through Main Street Wooster. Visit https://www.mainstreetwooster.org/facade-grant to learn more!
Wooster Innovation Park: The City of Wooster's community-owned industrial park has expanded with the extension of Daisy Way in late 2021. The City has invested heavily in bringing utilities to this location to support expanding industry. Reserved for basic-sector employers, the Wooster Innovation Park features level development sites ranging in size from 20 to 61 contiguous acres. Additional site and availability information is available on our Site Information Flyer.
Additional Available Sites & Properties: Find other commercial and industrial properties listed for sale and lease in the City of Wooster through our Local Sites Inventory Service, which is maintained with local support from nonprofits Wayne Economic Development Council and TeamNeo. Dedicated to supporting economic development in the State of Ohio, this service is a not-for-profit civic multiple listing service provided through nonprofit JobsOhio. For questions on public infrastructure capacity, utility locations, or development proposals, please contact us (Jmillea@woosteroh.com | 330.263.5250) and we will be happy to provide additional information.
Jonathan Millea AICP, CEcD
Community and Economic Development Coordinator