11 of the Most Successful Small Town Business Ideas

April 1st, 2021

There’s something special about living in a small town. You’re greeted with a smile wherever you go. Someone’s always there to hold the door for you. Maybe in part because of this, more people are moving away from the city and raising their families in small towns.

That’s fantastic news for these communities, which have been littered with empty commercial spaces for far too long. If you’re looking to become a small town business owner in a suburban or rural area, you may want to consider one of the 11 most successful small town business ideas.

1. Family Restaurant

Serving families a home-cooked meal at a quality sit-down establishment is always a good business idea. While a lot of small town families may cook at home more often, it’s still nice to be able to go to a family restaurant every once in a while. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to eat inside restaurants at the moment, but it’s still a great time to start writing up that business plan for when things open up fully.

2. Cafe

How else are we going to get the town’s gossip? A coffee shop is a perfect place to gather with friends and have a chat. You’ll never see an empty cafe in a small town. It’s especially nice to see older men chatting away at a coffee shop in a rural area.

3. Salon

We need to get our hair done and we don’t want to go into the city for it. An aspiring entrepreneur will never have trouble running a hair salon, which caters to both men and women, in a small community. In fact, a hair salon can easily sustain competition due to the high demand.

4. Grocery Store or Market

A local grocery shop can often be found in a small town. The need for the essentials, as well as last-minute emergency items and non-essentials, often make this venture a profitable small business idea.

5. Bar

Everyone loves a smalltown bar. These venues are usually within walking distance and in range of affordable ride share options, which isn’t the case for a night out in the city. Chances are your smalltown bar won’t go bankrupt. Just like with the restaurant, depending on where you live, your area might not be ready to open up a new bar just yet, but now is a great time to start with a business plan as things will be opening up again.

6. Pet Grooming and Boarding Facilities

People are willing to spend a lot of money on their pets. Small town residents tend to have more pets as they have more space for them to run around. Chances are you’ll see plenty of dogs in a farming town or any other rural area. While small town pets may be treated differently than those in the big city, they still need baths and their nails trimmed. Plus, it’s nice to have a boarding facility nearby for families who decide to go on a vacation. One of the best parts of this kind of business is that you can operate it out of your own home.

7. Lawn and Gardening Service

Yards in small towns tend to be larger and include more landscaping. You’ll never run out of work landscaping, and chances are you’ll book up almost a year in advance.

8. Bakery

Who doesn’t love freshly baked goods? There are so many different things you can pick up at a bakery shop: cakes, breads, buns, danishes, etc. They’re great for a variety of special occasions, or if you just want to have something in hand. Depending on how big you want to grow your business, you might be able to run your bakery from your home kitchen or attach a storefront to a side portion or basement of your house. Bonus points if you, as a small business owner, include a gluten-free section.

9. Clothing Boutique

Having a trendy clothing store where everyone would want to shop would definitely keep you in business. You’ll need to keep the teens and twenty-somethings happy,but don’t forget the businesswomen. Most smalltown store locations are small, but fewer people would go to the big city for their clothing needs if you can offer a venue that fits enough product for everyone.

10. Home Improvement Store

If you’re doing small jobs around the house or farm, the last thing you want to do is to drive an hour because you don’t have the right drill bit you need to complete your project. A home improvement store owner will get to know their customers by name, including the regulars and those who only frequent during weekends. You might not be able to stock everything the major stores do, but many people will wait a week for you to order things in.

11. Social Media Management

There’s a good chance that you won’t have a lot of competition in the area, and somebody needs to represent the first ten businesses on this list. Just because they are local businesses in a small town doesn’t mean that they don’t keep up with the times. Having a social media presence is vital nowadays and local businesses can actually gain more from having representation. When regular customers see that there is a sale going on, they are more likely to pop by. Social media is a great way to get messages from your business across to your customers. Word might travel fast in a small town, but if you are having a community event, different businesses may want to promote it on their site. This type of business is perfect as you can run it from anywhere, your home, on vacation, the cottage, or the local coffee shop.