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Entrepreneur's Guide
Where to Start?
Forming the Business
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Entrepreneur's Guide

Why Chesterton?

Starting a new business can be a dream come true but doing so also posses several challenges.  Among the intricacies of starting a new business is the decision regarding where to locate.  Determining where to root a company is a step that takes tremendous consideration and an assessment of a company's short and long-term goals.  There are several benefits to locating a business in Chesterton which includes the town's:  

Where to start?

In addition to the following steps it is highly recommended that legal counsel be obtained when starting and maintaining a business.  Follow this link for law offices in Chesterton.   

1. Determine structure and forming your business  

 Informal Enterprises (do not require documentation to be filed with the Indiana Secretary of State)


  • Sole Proprietorship - An individual who conducts business for profit and takes on full responsibility for liabilities and debts of a business. 
  • General Partnership - Multiple individuals who share ownership as well as liabilities and responsibilities of a business.


Formal Enterprises (require filing of organizational documents with the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State)  


  • Corporation - A legal body created by filing Articles of Incorporation.  The corporation takes on the burden of its liabilities and debts while the corporation's shareholders are not held accountable for the corporation's liabilities and debts.


  • S-Corporation - Corporations may seek to become an S Corporation for federal tax purposes.  The income of an S Corporation is taxed once at the employee and shareholder level.  To qualify to become an S Corporation, a corporation may only have a maximum of 75 shareholders and must also meet the criteria set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 


  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) - A LLC is a formal association which reaps the benefits of a corporation's limited liability with the flexibility and single taxation of a general partnership.  Instead of shareholders, a LLC has members and its members are not held liable for the company's debts.


  • Non-Profit Corporation - Non-profit organizations must obtain tax exempt status from the IRS and Indiana Department of Revenue in order to escape certain tax burdens. 


  • Limited Partnership (LP) - A LP consists of at least one General Partner and one Limited Partner.  In this situation, the General Partner assumes all the debts and liabilities of the business while the Limited Partner only takes on the responsibility of debt and liabilities equivalent to his or her investment into the company.     



Forming the Business  




  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) - In order to form a LLP, it is mandatory that a "Registration" form be filed according to IC 23-4-1-45

Additional downloadable forms and document to be filed with the office of the Secretary of State. 


2. Selecting a Name for Your Business

In accordance with Indiana Law, the name of a Corporation, LLC, LP, and LLP, must be distinct from the names of other businesses of the identical category on the records of the Secretary of State's Office.  To check the availability of a specific name, call the NAME AVAILABILITY LINE (317) 232-6576 or check onlineIt is important to note that these methods of determining name availability are a preliminary evaluation and should not be relied upon.  If the preliminary check leads to the discovery of an available name, one of two steps can be taken.  There is the option to file an application to reserve the name for 120 days or file documents to organize the business under that name.

3. Register with the Secretary of State's Office

4. Register with the Indiana Department of Revenue by submitting a Business Tax Application (BT-1) and additional forms if you:

5. File appropriate tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service based on the structure of your business:

6. Register with Chesterton's Clerk Treasure's Office

  • All businesses located in Chesterton must register with the Clerk Treasure's Office at Town Hall.
  • It is also mandatory that businesses renew their registration each year (generally done in February).
  • Registration forms are available and should be submitted at Town Hall to Jackie Lind.  Registration is free, yet it is required in order to provide vital information to Chesterton police and fire departments in case of an emergency.
  • For more information or to register your business call the Clerk Treasure's Office at (219) 926-1641.
  • Failure to register will result in a $100 fine.   

 Helpful Resources 


Success Stories

The dream of starting a new business and being your own boss has lured many individuals to become entrepreneurs.  The services they provide and the items they produce may widely vary, yet what all entrepreneurs share is their desire to succeed.  Chesterton is a locality that offers the chance to do just that.  The town's central location and financial incentives entice many entrepreneurs. 

"Location is the biggest benefit to locating [a business] in Chesterton," Chesterton resident and business owner, Eric Kroeger, said. 

In 2010, Kroeger along with Ron Casteel created the innovative, technology based company, Virtual Innovation, Inc. (VI).  The company was created in order to provide financial institutions with a reliable method to meet their availability, recovery, and security needs by utilizing virtual technology.  

"At VI, we provide technology based services to clients throughout the Midwest, and Chesterton is centrally located with easy access to Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.  Further, most of our employees live in Northwest Indiana, and Chesterton offers great quality of life for our employees and their families," Kroeger added. 

Eric Kroeger has used his business knowledge to give back to the community. In 2007, Kroeger along with Gerard Pannekoek, President of IPXI Holdings, LLC, created the Future of Chesterton program.  Throughout the years the program has allowed a unique relationship to develop among the business community, town officials, and the student participants.  Each year students compete in teams to create a proposal concerning economic development in hopes of earning a scholarship or paid internship.   

According to the Northwest Indiana times, as of May 2011 VI was on track to gross over $1 million dollars in its first year of operation.  Just as VI has been able to thrive in Chesterton, so have many other entrepreneurial ventures.  A success story that truly illustrates Chesterton's diverse economy can be told from Laura Zaranski, the owner of East Wind Acupuncture and East Wind Studios.  In 1998, Zaranski opened the doors to East Wind Acupuncture in order to share her passion for Chinese medicine with the Duneland Community.  After successfully opening and operating her company for 13 years, Zaranski saw the potential for expansion and in 2011 opened up East Wind Studios.  East Wind Studios focuses on the lifestyle enhancement side of Chinese medicine.  The studio offers a variety of classes such as tai chi, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, mediation, and qi gong.    

"I have lived in Porter/Chesterton since I moved here from California over 18 years ago so when I decided to open a business, I wanted work to be close to home.  I like the ease of access to I-94, Chicago and beyond. I love the dunes and Lake Michigan.  I like the small town," Zaranski said. 

In addition to Chesterton's attractive location, certain businesses have been lured to the community by its reputation of demonstrating support to its small businesses.  Healthcare Management Services Midwest, LLC relocated to Chesterton from southwest Michigan for this reason among others.  HMS Midwest is a medical practice management consulting firm dedicated to practice operations, new practice start ups, in addition to reimbursement management.         

"We feel that the relationships that we have built in Chesterton have been instrumental in helping us to grow.  The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce is there to help every step of the way," Tracy Freeze, HMS Midwest Principal said. 

Freeze's company has grown to serve over 30 medical professionals from several states.  HMS Midwest enables its clients to remain competitive by providing them with the opportunity to outsource and thus operate in the most efficient manner. 

In addition to the technology, consulting, and medical based companies located in Chesterton, fine dining has become more prevalent in the community.  A significant step in this culinary direction was taken in 1998 when Michael and Nada Karas opened Lucrezia Café at the corner of Calumet and Porter Avenue.  Mr. and Mrs. Karas opened their restaurant in Chesterton after moving to the community in 1996 and are proud to supply the Duneland community with exceptional cuisine.   

"There are more Chicagoans finding out about this town. It's a great place to dine if you're on your way to your Michigan cottage.  We are still on Chicago time, so one can still dine late on a Friday night! It's a great halfway point between South Bend and Chicago too," Nada Karas said.  "We get lots of Notre Dame traffic."

Ultimately starting and successfully operating any business takes dedication, expertise, and sometimes a little bit of luck.  The Town of Chesterton offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to be successful.  The town's convenient location, transportation infrastructure, financial incentives, proximity to Chicago, proactive Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce and Duneland Business Initiative Group, among other aspects will equip entrepreneur's with the tools necessary to launch a business.  If locating a business in Chesterton is on the horizon and you would like to learn more contact the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce at (219) 926-5513.  

Q & A with Chesterton Entrepreneurs

Q: What advice would you give to individuals looking to start a business in Chesterton?

"Chesterton is a great place to live and raise a family.  The proximity to Chicago, the transportation infrastructure, and the quality of life make it a great place to locate a business."

-Eric Kroeger, President of Virtual Innovation, Inc.


"Know your market, know your product, define your purpose, work hard, and join the chamber.  It is a great town to live and work."

-Laura Zaranski, owner of East Wind Acupuncture and East Wind Studios


"Get involved with many different organizations and make it a part of your core philosophy to give back to the community that supports you.  The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce is there to help you every step of the way."

-Tracy Freeze, Principal of HMS Midwest, LLC.


"Don't let the current "roof top" count of homes deter you from opening a business.  'Build it and they will come'."

-Nada Karas, owner of Lucrezia Café