Even in small towns, big business can happen Small Town Business ideas have both advantages and disadvantages.
They have a concentrated market, but they also have a small number of people.
A great product or service is the best way to come up with small town business ideas that will last.
The first thing you need to do if you want to start a business in a small town is to research the local market
and the geography of the place where you want to start.
There are more people in a small town, so it’s important to choose the right place for your store to get the most customers.
Even if your business plan is for a service, it’s still a good idea to know how big your market is.
Once you know what kind of people live in your town, you can start planning different small-town businesses.
You can choose the one that you think will work best.
There are many resources and businesses in your area, so you can talk to other business owners and figure out how much
it costs to start a business in a small town.
For ideas, we’ve put together this list of 40 small town business ideas that every town needs.
Start your research with this list, or maybe come up with a great business idea for your small town.
Best 40 Small Town Business ideas 2022
Starting a business in a small town requires a lot of research and understanding of the people in your area.
Once you know what businesses are already in your area and what people in your area want,
you can figure out which business is best for you and your neighborhood.
Try to find a business or service where profitable small businesses, the needs of the community,
and your own interests all come together.
Here are some small town business ideas you might think about:
Table of Contents
There are a lot of different types of restaurants in small towns. Whether it is a diner or something more fancy,
they all have to give people what they want but don’t already have.
When starting a restaurant, it might be tempting to copy a well-known restaurant in your town.
But think about catering to a need or desire that locals can’t find nearby, and a reason to travel over from the next town to see it.
For example, a farm-to-table restaurant is a great business idea for a small town.
But if you don’t live in an agriculturally rich area, or there is already a restaurant like that in your town, think about something else.
Think about what your family likes to do when they leave town.
Perhaps the experience of an elegant meal or the taste of New York-style pizza makes people want to go out to eat.
There is likely to be room for another restaurant. Find out what people want and will eat.
2. Hybrid bar/coffee shop
Make up for slower business traffic by always having the drinks people want. It can be hard to get people to go to coffee shops in your town,
but if you serve coffee all day at a place where people go (like a bar), you can start to make the activity seem more normal.
A small-town bar might be your dream job, but a coffee shop can start making money at dawn.
There’s no need to compromise, as long as you make the environment work for both day and night.
3. Liquor store
A liquor store can be one of the best small-town business ideas if the county and state laws allow it.
In places where grocery stores can’t sell alcohol, liquor stores control the alcohol market in small towns.
It can be hard to get the paperwork you need to start a liquor store, like a liquor license.
Make sure you read up on how to start a liquor store.
4. Handyman or contractor
There will always be a need for good handymen, even in small cities and towns.
If you get a lot of calls from friends, family, and neighbors asking you to come and check out a leaky pipe or wobbly board,
you might be on your way to starting a small-town business that works.
If you already do odd jobs and know who will hire you, it will be easy to start a contractor service.
To get your name out there, try to find a general contractor who can do a small job for free and then pass your name along to other clients.
Your best salespeople are the people you already know and who know your work.
In a word-of-mouth business, like service work, repairs, or construction, these people are your best.
5. Automotive repairs
If you live in a rural area or a small town, you’re almost certain to need a car.
But if you live far from a dealership, getting your car serviced can be a pain.
There is a clear need for auto repair services in small towns, and they make life easier for the people who live there.
You might think about whether there is a way to open a shop in your town.
Many tow trucks charge by the mile. Cars break down all over the place.
It might be possible for you to start towing cars even though you don’t have a proper repair shop.
If your town is a long way from the big cities, there might be an opportunity for you.
6. Home cleaning
People who don’t like to clean may live in your town. They need to be cleaned up, so why not start a cleaning business?
Another service that benefits from word-of-mouth referrals is this one.
It can even be combined with other services, like babysitting or yard work, to make it even better.
As a side job, cleaning expertly is a valuable skill, but it doesn’t require a lot of money or time to learn.
This is a good option if you’re looking for a cheap way to make money.
7. IT and computer services
All businesses and people need help with technology, no matter where they are.
Anywhere you live, there will always be people who use technology and have trouble connecting their WiFi,
no matter how big or small the town is.
It will take a little more advertising to get the word out about this service because it isn’t as visible as a business
with a storefront and isn’t as common as a service like housecleaning.
But if you don’t plan to do a lot of major repairs, you won’t need a lot of equipment, which will keep your overhead costs down.
8. Pet store, grooming and boarding
You can start a pet store in your town, if there isn’t already one in the area.
This is one of the best small-town business ideas.
If there are a lot of pets in your area, there might be a need for pet grooming and boarding services.
if you want to open a pet store or pet service business in a small town,
ask the people who own pets where they get their food and grooming done.
If you want to start a pet grooming, walking, or boarding business,
you might also want to talk to a pet shop owner in your town.
9. Salon or barbershop
There’s a good chance that your town has at least one barbershop or salon, but that could actually
be a good thing if you want to open a good hair salon.
If there is only one barbershop on Main Street that caters mostly to men, figure out who else’s hair needs aren’t being met.
There are already full-service hair salons and barbers in your town.
You could open a blowout bar or a salon that also does make-up, eyelashes, and tanning, as well as hair services.
10. Gas station
If most people in your town drive cars or trucks, filling stations are important.
They may not be the most attractive businesses, but they are very important in places where most people drive cars or trucks.
Small towns that are near or on major highways can get a lot of traffic, and unlike most businesses,
a gas station might be better off if it’s far from cities.
Lottery and tobacco sales can also bring in a lot of money, especially if you’re the only one in the area.
11. Grocery store
When a town that could support a grocery store doesn’t have one, there’s probably a good reason.
People might drive to work every day and go to other stores, or there might not be enough people to support a big-box chain.
If you want to run your own business, try to find a way to specialize your store so that you don’t spend too much money on a lot of things.
Use local products, trends, and tastes to help make this choice.
The farmers market-style stores that sell local produce and seasonal goods are usually very popular with both locals and tourists.
You should open an organic, gluten-free, or vegan shop in a town that already has a big chain grocery store,
but doesn’t have many options for organic, local, gluten-free, or vegan food.
A drugstore or pharmacy takes more work, but if your town doesn’t have a local pharmacy,
it could be a great way to start a long-term business in your community.
You’ll need to hire a pharmacist, buy insurance, and set up security measures.
This is one of the small-town business ideas that might be good for people who are trained pharmacists or work in the local medical field.
If you decide to open your own pharmacy, be careful not to compete with big chain drug stores.
A pharmacy is a must in every community.
13. Antique or thrift store
Even in tourist areas, small gift shops can make money with items from flea markets, junkyards, and estate sales.
Even though sales at an antique store may be slow, your inventory won’t go bad or need a lot of work.
If there are already a lot of shops like this in your town, you might want to focus on retail
consignment and second-hand clothes, or on art made by local artists.
14. Fitness studio or gym
Most of the time, people are getting in shape and taking care of their bodies. Odds are, there are a few fitness fanatics in your town,
so you might run into them. Start a fitness studio or gym in your small town if you think that’s what people want to do in their free time.
It’s up to you whether you want to go with a boutique fitness theme or just have a place where people can work out.
Of all the small-town business ideas, though, this one is the most expensive to start up because it needs a lot of gym equipment.
It’s possible that you’ll make that money back quickly, but only if you get a lot of new members early on.
If you have a good business in a small town, that should be easy.
15. Tutoring business
Children need to go to school in every town. If there are students who need extra help outside of school hours,
a tutoring business can be good for both the kids and their parents.
It’s a good idea to think about starting a tutoring business as one of the small town business ideas that gives back and helps your town grow.
You can start your own tutoring business at any level, from elementary school to high school or college prep.
You can work with kids at any level. Just think about a subject that you know a lot about and are interested in,
and you’ll be able to connect with kids who need your help.
This small town business idea is also a good choice for parents who have a lot of friends and family in their town.
16. Ice cream shop
In a small town, food-related businesses can be some of the most popular.
If you don’t want to run a full-fledged restaurant but still want to make money, you might want to open an ice cream shop.
When it’s hot outside, ice cream shops can be popular places for both locals and people from other nearby towns to go for treats.
If your town doesn’t already have a business that sells desserts, an ice cream shop is a good idea.
Plus, if you do well with ice cream, you can also think about making candy, cakes, and even kids’ birthday parties.
17. Dry cleaner
When you buy a new sweater, you don’t want to find out that it’s “dry-clean only.
Dry cleaning is sometimes necessary, especially when it comes to things like suits and dresses.
If your town doesn’t have a dry cleaner, this could be the small town business idea for you.
When there are a lot of people in your town who go to work in the city, having a dry cleaner can be very useful.
As long as there is a dry cleaner nearby, people will be able to take care of their clothes without having to go far.
With the rise of big online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, you might think that opening a bookstore is a waste of time.
While you might be able to get your hands on a specific group of readers in small towns, this might not be the case everywhere.
If you want to start a business in your town, a bookstore could be a good idea.
In addition to selling books, your bookstore could be a place where people can learn about the history of their town,
host events like readings with local authors, and even offer TV and film.
If your town doesn’t have a place where people can think, talk, and read, opening a bookstore might be the best way to start a business.
19. Bed and breakfast
Regardless of how big your town is, you’ll always have visitors.
Whether they’re from out of town for the holidays or just passing through, you’ll always have people stop by.
A bed and breakfast, for example, can be a good small-town business idea for people to stay at.
A bed and breakfast can serve a wide range of people, run all year long, and doesn’t need a lot of space or staff.
Small towns near major highways and cities can make them more appealing to visitors and even residents
who want to get away for a few days. A quaint, cheap bed and breakfast can make this even more appealing.
20. Flower shop
Flowers can be a great gift for any occasion, from Valentine’s Day to graduations to a “get well” gift.
They can be used for everything. It might be a good business idea for you if your town doesn’t already have a flower shop.
Flowers can be used for a lot of different things, not just as gifts.
They can also be used for things like proms and weddings, as well as brightening up a kitchen table.
Even though you might need to learn how to source and arrange flowers, this business doesn’t need
expensive machinery, long hours, or a lot of employees. It doesn’t even need a lot of money.
A floral shop is a good idea for a small business that doesn’t have as many problems as some other businesses.
21. Gardening and landscaping
It’s the same with gardening and landscaping. People hate doing these things, and are willing to pay for someone else to do them or be good at them.
Starting a landscaping business isn’t the same as opening a flower shop, but it can still be very popular in small towns.
Gardening and landscaping can be done by anyone living in a town, especially when the weather is warm.
This is even more true if your town has home communities that have lawn rules.
It’s easy to spread good gardening and landscaping advice by word of mouth in a small town,
especially if you’re taking advantage of an empty market.
22. Nail salon and spa
If your small town already has a hair salon and barbershop, you might want to look into a nail salon and spa as well.
Even though this business may be for the same group of people, it fills a slightly different need and draws a lot
of business in the summer, when there are a lot of graduations, proms, and weddings in the area.
Compared to some of the other small-town business ideas on this list, a nail salon and spa would
require more staff and maybe even more supplies, but in general, it can be a good idea, especially
if there isn’t already a nail or spa business in your town.
There will always be a need for creative people, like photographers. When people have events, like weddings, engagements, and graduations,
they will always want someone else to take the pictures.
Photographers can also help people get specific portraits or family shots in a studio that they want.
If your town doesn’t already have a photography business, you might start one of your own.
If you have a creative background, this small-town business idea might be a good fit for you.
Even though photography equipment can be pricey, you can keep costs down by only buying the things you
need and by taking advantage of your local market as much as possible.
School photos, especially for high school seniors, can be a surefire way to keep your business going every year.
24. Clothing boutique
As even more and more people shop online, sometimes it’s just better to try on clothing in person, even if you don’t have to go far to do so.
If your town doesn’t have a big clothing store, you might want to open a small boutique.
With clothes, you can start a T-shirt business or make clothes that are unique and made by people in your area.
As a clothing boutique is based on the location of your town, it may be able to serve people from nearby cities as well.
If you have any experience teaching or caring for children, starting a daycare might be a good small-town business idea for you if you want to start a business.
Parents, especially working parents, are always going to need childcare services, especially before their kids start school and even after school.
This is true even if they don’t have to work. Even if the daycare is far away, parents can drop their kids off there before work
and pick them up when they get home. If your town doesn’t already have a daycare center, this could be an easy business to run.
26. Brewery or winery
Though it may take more time and money to start a brewery or winery than some of the other small-town businesses on this list,
either of these businesses can be very profitable.
For events and simple get-togethers, breweries and wineries can be places where people from the town come together.
If you have a lot of space outside, this can be even better. It looks like small-town breweries and wineries have
become more common and popular in recent years.
Even though these businesses might start out with more work, they’ll have a lot of room for growth and development.
27. Hardware store
It doesn’t matter that your town has a grocery store. Residents will probably need to go somewhere else for home repairs and projects,
without having to wait for online delivery. A hardware store can meet a lot of different needs in your town, from painting
to gardening and even taking care of your pool. A hardware store is a great business idea for anyone who likes to fix or build things,
and there will always be a need for maintenance and repair.
28. Catering company
In this case, you might want more flexibility than a restaurant business can give you. You could start a catering business.
Word of mouth and working town events can help you get your name out there and grow this kind of business.
Definitely, a catering company can be very useful for people who are throwing parties and also for people who live in other cities as well.
29. Real estate agency
In your town, who do people go to if they want to buy, sell, or rent a house? In that case, they might want to work with you.
Every day, people and businesses will need to buy and sell property, and a local real estate agent who knows the area and
the market can be a huge help. As you grow your real estate business, you can easily move to other towns and take
advantage of nearby markets, which will help you better serve your clients and your business.
30. Event venue and planner
The people in your town are always going to want to celebrate certain things, which means everything from small get-togethers to parties and events.
This is one of the small-town business ideas that we talked about before.
To fill the celebratory void in your town, you could start an event venue and planning business.
You and your town can use an event venue for a lot of different things.
People from your town and other towns can also use the space.
Plus, if you can add event planning to your space, you’ll be able to grow your customer base
and expand even more by offering this service outside of the venue itself.
31. Tattoo and piercing shop
This may be one of the most interesting small-town business ideas we’ve seen.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it.
Even though it will take a lot of work to open a tattoo and piercing shop, it can be a good business,
especially if you’re the only one in a small town.
Because this type of small-town shop can meet both of your business and creative needs.
Remember, of course, that this business will also need a storefront, equipment, and marketing,
so you’ll want to make sure you have enough money to start.
32. Veterinary office
It’s possible to open your own veterinarian office in your small town. If you’re a veterinarian, or if you know one who is,
you might think about doing it. It’s another small-town business idea that will need licenses, permits, and people who
know how to do their job well, so keep that in mind.
But if you have the money, time, and dedication to make it happen, it can quickly become the place where families take
their pets in your small town. It’s also important to think about where you live if you have a pet.
You’ll need to take them to the vet for annual checkups and emergencies, so being close to them is important.
So, if you open a good, local office, you can take advantage of this need for pet care.
33. Food truck
Why be limited to where you can go in your small town? When you start your own food truck, you can travel with your business.
Food trucks aren’t just mobile, which means you can serve different towns in your area.
They’re also great for parties, graduations, and town events.
People who want to buy good, cheap food from your food truck won’t have to deal with the time, resources,
and money that come with running a full-scale restaurant.
34. Health clinic
If your small town doesn’t have a health clinic, this could be a profitable business, especially during cold and flu season.
Again, this is one of our small town business ideas that will require the most money and resources.
After all, everyone gets sick and needs to be able to get the right diagnosis and medicine.
As a person or a member of your family gets sick, you won’t want to go to a health care business that’s far away to get help.
You’ll want the place that’s near your home.
If you live in a small town, there’s nothing better than having a bakery where you can get a good piece of cake, a cookie, or something else.
The best small-town business idea for you if you’re good at baking or can work with someone who is could be a bakery.
A bakery can help you meet the needs of people in your small town who love sweets.
You can also help people who need a quick pastry and cup of coffee in the morning before they go to work.
You can also make cakes, cupcakes, or any other type of dessert for events and parties.
You can also make them yourself. Even better if your small town doesn’t already have a bakery.
It’s also easier than running a full-service restaurant, which can be a lot of work.
How to find the right small town business idea of your own
Now that we’ve looked at our wide range of small-town business ideas,
let’s talk about how you can find the right one for your community.
As a general rule, you’ll want to get involved in your local community and connect with other small businesses as soon as you can.
The more you know about what people in your town need and want, the sooner you can figure out what kind of business to start in your town.
36. Bed and Breakfast
37. Sweets and Treats
38. Childcare Services
39. Education and Consulting Services
40. Beer, Wine, and Spirits
Here are some tips to help you start this process:
Meet a local demand
It’s good if you’re the only business of this kind in town. As long as there’s a need for the good or service you provide, that’s great!
As important as it is to make your business stand out, it’s also important to fill a need in the local area.
So, you’ll need to think about not only what your small-town market needs, but also what kind of businesses your town wants and can support.
In addition, you might think about whether your neighborhood is the best place for a new business.
You could also look into nearby towns to see if they have a lot of businesses or a lot of people who can support a lot of different businesses.
It all comes down to this: In a small town, especially one that doesn’t have a lot of people moving around or a lot of visitors,
making and keeping people interested in your business is very important.
The ideal small-town business, then, is both important to the community and provides something that people can’t get in the area.
Scout out for locations
As part of deciding which business is best for your town, you should look at the places that you can rent.
You’ll want to look around the town where you want to start your business, looking for places where
businesses have been running for a long time and places that haven’t been able to support businesses for a long time.
You’ll also want to look at traffic patterns around any possible properties, as well as factors
like visibility and businesses that are already bringing customers to a certain area.
Choose a business that you’re good at or have experience with. If yours is the only one of its kind in town, that makes sense.
However, choosing the right place for your business can also be important, especially if you live in a small town.
Calculate the costs of starting a business
Before you make any decisions about your new business, you’ll want to think about how much money
you have and how much money you’ll need to start it.
This includes the cost of the property, utilities, inventory, equipment, employees, and so on.
Though it might be cheaper to run a business in a small town, things like taxes and real estate prices could make it more expensive.
You’ll still need to think about how much it will cost you to start and how quickly you’ll make back the money you spend.
Plus, even though you may want to start a certain type of business, you may find that some
businesses require more money to start up than others.
The bottom line for Small Town Business ideas
If you want to start a business in a small town, there are a few things you should think about first.
First, do a lot of research about the town and think about what kind of businesses you like,
how much money you have and how you can start your business.
Then, think about how you can start your business and how you can get it off the ground.