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Successful Business Ideas for Retailers and Entrepreneurs

We’ve put together 25 awesome, often successful business ideas that every small town or neighborhood needs. How you come up with a business idea, then run it, and sell it is entirely up to you!

1. Tea and Coffee Shop/Bar

You might not think there is no competing with the likes of coffee-giant Starbucks as a coffee shop…we’re suggesting something totally different!

Now, that combining after school 12-year-olds and college 21-year-olds is a idea that is terrible hear us out before you go telling us. We’re not suggesting a full on bar, simply a coffee shop that after. The concept behind being a coffee shop that serves alcohol is that in the post-noon hours, coffee consumption begins to taper off significantly. If you’re looking to stay open later and need the cash, filling a need that is additional your small community is the business idea that is perfect. Now you not only have a place for business meetings and freelancers, but hours that are also happy dates that are first.

One thing that is keep that is additional mind is to make sure that your coffee shop design appeals to both a mid-day and a post-work crowd. Nothing says small town charm like a simple, relaxed business layout. Opting for a design concept that is modest and genuine will suit most customers and provide that small town ambiance patrons crave.

2. Pet Grooming and Boarding

Pet Businesses are a $60 billion industry in the United States, so it just plain makes sense that a town that is small at least one pet boarding or grooming facility or a combination of the two. The pet industry is also one that shows no signs of slowing down. In 1988, 56 percent of households in a pet was owned by the United States, in 2016 that percentage jumped to 65. This means that there are almost 80 million households in the U.S. with at least one pet.

Pet grooming and boarding are also businesses where convenience and distance matter, making them ideas that are perfect rural businesses. No one wants to drive two towns over to drop their pet off for a trim, nor drive back to pick them up. Since most towns that are small have a pet specialty chain such as a Petco, businesses can also capitalize on the lack of a pet that is major where owners would usually purchase food, toys, and clothing for their pets. You can become the one-stop shop for all things furry if you plan your business well. And that translates to profits that are big.

3. Clothing Boutique

One of the amenities that are primary small towns tend to lack is shopping that is decent. And we don’t just mean a shopping mall that is large. Often, those living in smaller towns and communities have to drive mileage that is significant for basic clothing necessities. That’s why starting a clothing boutique will not only put you on the map but will make you a destination that is popular most residents in the vicinity. You’ll pretty much be the substitute that is mall all plain things teen-related. Just make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. But they’ll let you know if you don’t!

4. Vape Shop

The reality is that the vaping industry (and community) is currently exploding in the U.S. To give you a sense of how big the vaping market is, Quartz reported that Yelp has 10,591 “vape shops” currently listed in their database though this might seem like a very niche market for a small town business. That’s a number that is huge especially considering that the rate of traditional smoking continues to decline steadily. Depending on where you are in the national country, however, due to state regulations, opening a vape shop will be easier in some states than in others. So make sure to check your state’s laws out before pursuing this continuing business idea. Resources such as vapeMentors can help guide you also when getting your business up and running.

5. Bakery

From your morning coffee to your kid’s birthday cake, neighborhood bakeries can fill a number that is vast of needs. Though owning and operating a bakery is work that is hard it’s a business idea that can be incredibly rewarding if it’s your life-long dream to produce pastries for the masses. Employing youth from your town is also a way that is great give back and stay connected to your community. If you’re a newbie to owning a business in a town that is small doing research on opening a successful bakery is extremely important. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with how to price goods that are baked.

6. Grocery Store/Specialty Food Shop

Maybe this is an choice that is obvious a small town business opportunity, but sometimes the obvious answers are the most overlooked. Though a grocery store might not sound like the business choice that is sexiest, it is one of our most practical recommendations and one that your whole town is guaranteed to need. Like many town that is small ideas, there are many directions you can take this business in. Perhaps your town already has a local grocery store, in that case, opening a specialty food shop might be the call that is right. If your town already has that as well, what about a wine or cheese shop? For you to serve residents in more ways than one though you might be thinking, “how much wine or cheese can one small town consume?” Remember, when serving a small community, options are limited, which can open an opportunity up. Consider opening a wine and cheese shop combination. Just make sure not to bite off more than you can chew. Being a things that are few a people that are few ok, but don’t try to be everything to everyone.

7. Lawn and Gardening Service

One thing that most towns that are small in common is grass, lots, and lots of grass. Since small towns tend to be in rural areas, more residents are likely to have lawns and larger gardens. That means people will be on the hunt for lawn and gardening services. A few of the benefits to starting a continuing business such as this in a town that is small its predictability, reliability, and scalability. Once you begin finding customers, as long you’re likely to keep the same customers for years as you have quality services that are reasonably priced. You’ll also be able to predict the repeat services that customers will need. Not only does grass need to be cut repeatedly, but lawns need to be fertilized and treated for weeds and bugs on a basis that is regular. Lawn care is also an town that is ideal is small idea that will scale well. You can start off by offering a few services such as lawn and shrubbery care, but can later expand to landscaping that is offering as well.

8. Food Truck

Opening up a taco or food truck might not have been first on your list of ideas for a successful town that is small, but depending on the location of your town, the seasonality of its residents, and the weather, starting a food truck business can be a investment that is great. Many towns that are small vibrant communities, and often these include outdoor activities such as sporting events, festivals, and markets. Having the ability the drive your business to where the crowds are means cash that is major your pocket. Food trucks also have the added benefit that they can be rented for special events. So for a small town that might lack a proper catering service, being able to hire a food truck for your son’s bar mitzvah or daughter’s quinceanera is a perfect option that is local.

9. Thrift Shop

Yes, there might be fewer people in a town that is small or fewer stores and shops, but that doesn’t mean that babies don’t grow out of their onesies, people don’t buy new furniture and kids don’t move off to college. In our society that is capitalist people doesn’t always mean less stuff. So opening a store that is second-hand thrift shop is a great way to help the people of your town recycle unwanted items while giving those that might not have as much a less shopping option that is expensive. One reason why opening a thrift store in a town that is small a great idea, is that much of the merchandise you sell you will receive via donations. This does present logistics to think about regarding how to regulate and keep track of inventory, but it also means that even though you sell items for less than a store that is you’ll that is traditional owe money to a middleman or manufacturer. Cha-ching!

10. Tutoring Service

Where there are homes, there will be children and where there are children there will be tears over math and grammar. Though the internet abounds with online tutoring services, nothing can replace the benefits ever of having an teacher that is in-person. In addition to being a business that is great for small towns, tutoring can also be a business that is profitable both yourself and those working for you. We recommend starting with a few tutors that specialize in math, reading, writing, and science if you are looking to hire employees. Don’t attempt to hire tutors that brand themselves as a jack of all subjects, those individuals are few and far between and most likely would be too expensive for you to employ from the start. Instead, look for tutors that specialize in one subject and have previous teaching or tutoring experience.

11. Car Wash

Whether a town that is small in North Dakota, Upstate New York, or South Florida, one thing is for sure: people prefer shiny modes of transportation to muddy, rusty wrecks. It’s just how nature that is human. You pay your car payment every, so your vehicle might as well shine month! If there isn’t a car wash in your town already or at least one in the next town over, opening a cash wash might be your perfect town business opportunity that is small. One thing to think about before getting started: location, location, location. Nail this stage of the you’ll and planning make the rest of your ride significantly easier.

12. Gym/Exercise Studio

If you think that starting a gym in a town that is tiny a idea that is bad think again. Just as the body that is physical in many shapes that are different sizes, so do gyms and exercise studios. Though fitness businesses are great town that is small opportunities, they are especially lucrative for locations where the weather is colder more months out of the year than not. It’s also worth mentioning that the boutique fitness trend is red-hot at the moment that is brief shows no signs of dying down. The appeal of massive gyms with rows and rows of weights and cardio equipment is popularity that is losing. Meaning, there is no better time than now to capitalize on the boutique fitness trend.

13. Restaurant

Every town, big or small, needs (and deserves) a few restaurants that are good. Your pizza that is local castle suffice for all occasions and events. But much like owning a bakery, opening a restaurant is not something to go into halfheartedly. You need to have the passion, the drive, and the obsession of both a great entrepreneur and a chef (or at least a hard-core foodie).

If you have that drive and experience, however, being a restaurateur can be a successful endeavor and a great business for a town that is small. Just be aware that as glamorous as it might seem from the outside, one-quarter of all restaurants will fail within the year that is first. We don’t say this to discourage you; it’s just good to know what you’re up against. Doing your market research prior to opening, and investing in technology such as a restaurant POS system, can help you ensure your business stays open and on top.

14. Sports Bar

Though we already suggested a wine bar/coffee shop combo above, the clientele attract that is you’ll that small town business idea versus this one is significantly different. Think dates that are first book clubs versus Super Bowl Sunday and Monday Night Football. Speaking of which, special events for sports games can drum up business that is major. Opening a successful sports bar in a sports-centric town can be a investment that is great. But it can also be disastrous if you miscalculate the interests of your town. So make sure the personality is known by you of the grouped community going into this venture.

15. Specialty Health Food/Organic Food

There is one trend that has been sweeping the national country for the better part of two decades: health food. The general concept of eating healthier to live longer and look your best is not going anywhere though what is considered food that is healthy shifted and changed frequently over this period of time. One facet of this trend that has scientifically proven benefits is eating food that is organic. People eat organic for a variety of reason, but living in rural areas and small towns can often make it difficult to find fresh produce that is organic food. Global sales of health food are expected to reach $1 trillion by 2017. Whether or not you consider yourself a health nut, that’s a number that is ignore that is hard. Research also shows that consumers are willing to spend more for healthy food. So if access to allergen-free and organic food is limited in your area, consider going the route that is organic. Small town business idea, large town business idea, a health food store is a good idea wherever you reside.

16. Hair Salon/Barber Shop

Even Rapunzel needed a trim now and them. A year it’s one service, that regardless of your age, most people need a few (if not a few dozen) times. By three, thinking that is the amount of business you will drum up yearly, you’re thinking too narrowly if you’re currently calculating the average number of women in your town and multiplying it. Opening your hair that is own salon a variety of additional services that go far beyond haircuts. Think coloring, nails, and makeup, just to name a few. And remember, men tend to get their hair cut at least once a month. And, if you’re covering up that gray, every six weeks sounds about right. Quality cuts, depending on your geographic area and the experience of the stylist can go for around $100. Just make sure you have a business that is solid before opening up your small town shop.

17. Ice Cream Shop

Someone wise once said that to qualify as a town that is small is a prerequisite that it must have an ice cream shop. Ok, maybe we made that up. But regardless, it should be if it’s not true. Opening an ice cream shop in a town that is small a continuing business idea guaranteed to draw a crowd. Knowing your product, being familiar with the most ice that is popular flavors, and having a willingness to work nights and weekends are all important factors to take into account. Just remember, this continuing business comes with the challenges of seasonality. So, we are recommending ice cream shops for areas that are warmer as we recommended boutique fitness businesses as great for cold weather climates. Find the town that is perfect the perfect weather and this small town business idea is a no-brainer.

18. Home Improvement

Are you the one all your friends call when their sink is clogged or their roof is leaking? Are you looking to start your business that is own but thrilled about having a brick-and-mortar location? A home improvement business might be just the town that is small idea you’re looking for. When small towns lack a handyman that is basic residents must book appointments days, if not weeks in advance to have a larger service visit their home. That’s not so convenient if your toilet has been clogged for three days. As long as you are qualified, have the experience, and know your way around a tool shed, starting a handyman business is fairly straightforward and requires overhead that is little.

19. Gift Card Shop

Year americans purchase on average 6.5 billion cards that are greeting. While sales are estimated between $7 and $8 billion annually, according to the Greeting Card Association, many of these cards are now purchased in big box stores, such as Target and Walmart. Those living in small towns often don’t have access to these types of stores, at least not in their immediate vicinity. Providing the people of a place to your town to not only purchase cards but gifts as well is a prime retail opportunity. The variety and diversity of products you can carry are endless, which allows you the freedom to play around with your inventory until you find that special mix of products for your town that is small business.

20. Flower Shop

It might surprise you, but opening a flower shop is a continuing business that is fairly inexpensive and great for small towns. That is, less expensive than say a restaurant or a motor car wash. According to, starting a flower shop has relatively few costs compared to other businesses that are retail. One of the costs that are only will be faced with is the purchase of a cooler to keep your product (aka pretty flowers) fresh and cool.

Though your community that is local will thrilled to have flowers that are fresh their town, you will still have the struggle of competing against online delivery services. Remember, they are probably used to ordering online if you are the florist that is first town has ever seen (or at least for a while. Habits can be hard to break. The way that is best to compete with the online sea of flora is with reasonable prices, attention to detail and customers service, and a sprig of creativity.

21. Cleaning Service

Similar to a handyman service, a cleaning service is also a continuing business that is solid for small towns. That is if you are looking to forgo a storefront. Though it’s becoming increasingly popular these full days for customers looking for cleaning services to use larger companies or startups, often services such as these either haven’t expanded into rural areas or don’t have contract workers willing to travel to more towns that are remote. This might be frustrating for those seeking a kitchen that is sparkling but it’s a massive business opportunity for you! It’s also one of the easiest businesses to start with very little, if any, overhead.

22. Bookstore

The bookstore is dead, hardly! Bookshops might now be different and resemble little of what most of us remember from our childhoods, but that isn’t necessarily a plain thing that is bad. If anything, the need for bookstore owners to create new and ways that are innovative succeed has opened up a plethora of additional business opportunities. And isn’t that what small towns are all about, creating opportunity and coming up with creative ways to provide the most options for their communities?

Of course, if you decide to open a bookstore as your town that is small business want to make sure that the focus that is main books. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate other aspects of your community or products that are additional your store. It’s nowadays that are rare go into a bookstore just for books. They’re now a destination that is gifts that are prime crafts, e-readers, coffee, and events. Selling a variety of merchandise and events that are holding diversify your revenue stream and bring additional customers into your store, those that traditionally might not be the paper book type.

It also might surprise you that though there are far fewer bookstores around these days that are full sales at bookstores that have weathered the storm are up five percent. It is also that the opportunity to reinvent bookstores for the century that is 21st proved lucrative though it is partially due to less competition.

23. Electronics Dealer

A little off the beaten path, now’s the right time if you’re looking to do something. How about trying your hand as an electronics dealer specializing in drones and drone accessories? If this sounds a little too off the narrow and straight, trust us, it’s worth a go. The drone that is commercial is predicted to grow to over $1 billion by 2022. That’s a market that is massive the opportunity is had by you to get in early and be a disruptor. Looking for an out-of-the-box town business idea that is small? This is it!

24. Bowling Alley

Though not the cheapest of business ideas on this list, it’s one that can be extremely lucrative as well as appeal to the range that is widest of patrons in a town that is small. A bowling that is successful can become the center of a town’s social life. Besides the bowling that is obvious stream, food and drink (especially alcoholic beverages), can also help you pull in the big bucks. Small town bowling alleys can also be rented out for additional income. Like all businesses that are continuing large and small, having a quality business plan for your bowling alley is incredibly important.

25. Winery/Microbrewery

Starting a microbrewery is not for the faint of heart. It’s also not for those that don’t dream, live, and drink beer like it’s the water of the gods. But then go for it if this sounds like you! Even it’s just not enough for the demand the industry is seeing if it might seem like a saturated industry, the reality is that even though microbreweries are opening at a rate of two breweries per day. So us just put this out there that this is the time to tap into a business industry that is perfect for a small town if you’ve been hesitant to follow your passion, let.