Start a Business in State College


Prepare to be inspired! With a diversified mix of businesses, Downtown is ever growing and evolving. Historic businesses mingle with contemporary shops and new construction, a sign of opportunities just around the corner.

Contact the Downtown Improvement District to get the tools you need to navigate the Downtown State College business development process, including the land development code, permitting requirements, and zoning information.

Why Downtown State College?

A Solid Market for Your Business Location

Downtown State College offers an outstanding combination of strong demographics and excellent market factors all located in a desirable shopping and entertainment district. Add high frequency of usage, and Downtown State College is one of the best locations to place your business for maximum sales opportunity and has over 1 million square feet (54% Retail, 36% Office, 10% Other) of business space. Almost 60,000 students and faculty at Penn State University, border Downtown, and State College becomes the third largest city in Pennsylvania during a Penn State home football game.

You’ll be doing business in good company.

Downtown State College offers Centre County’s finest combination of retail, restaurant, and business establishments. Customers from throughout Centre County drive Downtown to experience our independently owned retail shops and eclectic variety of eateries, each with its unique business mix and personality.

Our mix of formula stores reflects some of the best brands in the marketplace. This strong retail economy generates favorable competitive sales per square foot.

A diversified and educated employment base awaits you.

Downtown State College is the hub of Centre County’s new economy and entrepreneurial companies. With over 15,000 employees downtown, the Downtown enjoys the advantages of a built-in market.  Employees are Downtown regardless of the time of year or the weather conditions, making them an active consumer group during traditionally slow times or during inclement weather.

Downtown State College is also adjacent to several residential neighborhoods. Many workers enjoy the convenience of living and working in the downtown area.

Contact the Downtown Improvement District


Resources to Help You Get Started

Click on the logos below to find more details.

HappyValleyLaunchBox Logo“Don’t Quit Your Daydream” – This Penn State program is a small business resource for the whole community. The LaunchBox provides entrepreneurs support, resources and facilities at no cost.

One resource is the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic. With the help of students, entrepreneurs can access advice regarding formation of legal entities, arrangements among owners, initial funding and other organizational matters.


New Leaf LogoNew Leaf catalyzes connections & opportunities in the Centre Region to increase engagement and decrease brain drain. New Leaf creates events, awareness, and space for changemakers seeking to make the community more vibrant. Cowork alongside peers, access quality programming to meet new people and find new opportunities.


Schlow Logo

Schlow Library can help you conduct research, start a new business, improve your current business, or learn new skills with a variety of onsite references and web based resources.